Off topic: Poem About Our Profession
Thread poster: Paul Dixon

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:17
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Sep 28, 2009

I came across this the other day. If anyone has any other poetry or other such works about the translator's life and work please share them here. (This was originally written in Portuguese, I have supplied an English translation)

QUEM SOMOS? (Who Are We?)

"Quem somos?
Tradutores, afinal, quem somos?
Somos construtores de pontes,
Pontes de palavras, de idéias, de conceitos,
Nossa função?
Reescrever, de modo imperceptível,
Transformar originais em originais,
Redigir o impossível,
Recriar o imponderável,
Nossa sina?
O anonimato, a invisibilidade, o silêncio,
Nosso grande erro?
Ansiar sermos reconhecidos, identificados, percebidos…
Se reconhecidos formos, é por termos deixado nossas pegadas no texto,
Não mais sendo invisíveis, fatalmente estaremos errando,
Quem somos, afinal?
Construtores de pontes,de palavras, de idéias, de conceitos,
Anônimos, invisíveis, silenciosos,
Assim somos, fomos, seremos,
Até o dia em que o brilho de nossa invisibilidade rompa
definitivamente o silêncio que nos mantém incógnitos,
Neste dia…bem, neste dia o sol e a lua, juntos, brilharão a mais
linda luz jamais vista.
E nós, ofuscados por tanta claridade, continuaremos construindo nossas pontes,
de palavras, de idéias, de conceitos,
de silêncio,
de contentamento."


Who are we?

"Who are we?
Translators, after all, who are we?
We are builders of bridges,
Bridges of words, ideas and concepts.
Our role?
To rewrite, in an unperceivable way,
Turn originals into originals,
Write the impossible,
Recreate the imponderable,
Our destiny?
Anonymity, invisibility and silence.
Our big mistake?
Longing to be recognised, identified, perceived...
If we are recognised, we've left our mark on the text,
And, no longer invisible, we are sure to be making mistakes,
Who are we, after all?
Builders of bridges, words, ideas and concepts,
Anonymous, invisible and silent,
Until the day when the brightness of our invisibility
Breaks through the silence that keeps us incognito,
On this day... well, on this day the sun and the moon
Shall, together, shine the brightest light ever seen.
And we, dazzled by so much light, shall carry on building our bridges,
Of words, ideas and concepts,
Of silence,
And content."

[This wonderful masterpiece was penned by translator Ana Júlia P. Garcia]


Christina Paiva  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:17
Portuguese to English
+ ...
... Sep 29, 2009


Thanks for sharingicon_smile.gif


Clare Treleaven
Local time: 11:17
Spanish to English
poem Sep 29, 2009

Wonderful piece...thanks for posting it...inspiring and very true.


George Hopkins
Local time: 11:17
Swedish to English
Well, perhaps not known to all. Sep 29, 2009

English Is Tough Stuff

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.

Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it's written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.

Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.

Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation's OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.

Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.

Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.

Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.

Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.

Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.

Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.

Pronunciation--think of Psyche!
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won't it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It's a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Finally, which rhymes with enough:
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup. My advice is to give up!!!

-- Author Unknown


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:17
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Let your words be like a window pane... Sep 29, 2009

Let your words be like a window pane

--- keeping the warmth in and the cold out, clean and transparent so that they do not cloud the view.

(I don't know where I found this - maybe one of those page fillers in the Reader's Digest many years ago?)

[Edited at 2009-09-30 06:47 GMT]


KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:17
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Poem about quality translation in Germany Sep 29, 2009

There was a translator in Trier
With language exceedingly queer.
His words straight from Babel,
Inspiring to rabble,
And costing his customers dear.


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