T.S. Eliot for ever
Thread poster: Emérentienne

Emérentienne
France
Local time: 21:58
English to French
Jan 6, 2004

"What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish ? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water.(...)"

An excerpt from The Waste Land and the English poetry roots that clutch me. I wouldn't even look at a translation for fear of losing the powerful ring in the music of those words.

Is this betraying the cause of translators of poetry ?


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umsarah
Local time: 21:58
Member (2005)
English to Arabic
+ ...
No To Translation, yes to adaptation Jan 6, 2004

I agree that such peotry should not (and cannot) be translated. However, I think an adaptation is possible ,that is , a poet writing in a different language can use the same thread of thought and convey it in his language yet using different images and different word choice.

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Krys Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:58
Member (2003)
Polish to English
+ ...
You need poets to translate poetry Jan 7, 2004

I think it is possible to use more or or less the same images, provided that the differences in the cultures of the two languages are not vastly different. However, the main priority is to convey the emotional impact and as much of the music of the piece as is possible. In order to do this, it might be necessary to change the words used so that they stray a little from the original.

I also think that this can only be done by someone who is a poet in the target language. Of course, there is also the literal word-by-word translation with footnotes. I think this can also be useful, but only if it appears in a bilingual edition next to the original. That way, the reader can appreciate some of the music of the original, while reading some of the meaning in the translation.

My own experience is that I cannot neither write poetry in nor translate poetry into my mother tongue - English. This might be due to the fact that my communication has been directed very much along scientific lines, and I cannot succeed in breaking out of that when I try to write something else. On the other hand, I have written and published original poetry in Esperanto, and have also translated poems and songs into Esperanto. I find Esperanto a great language for doing so, because it is very elastic, but also highly suited to metrical schemes, although rhyme can be a greater problem due to the more limited possibilities.

I'm so please you quoted Eliot - he is a long term favourite of mine along with Borges.

Krys


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Emérentienne
France
Local time: 21:58
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
The hermetism of poetry Jan 7, 2004

[quote]Krys Bottrill wrote:

...I think this can also be useful, but only if it appears in a bilingual edition next to the original. That way, the reader can appreciate some of the music of the original, while reading some of the meaning in the translation. (unquote)

Right Krys, in my opinion, most poetry works require a bilingual edition to be fully appreciated. Which leaves the question : how does someone not bilingual really get into the poetry of another language other than in a relatively superficial manner ?

Poetry really points to the limits of translation, where translating becomes more a question of interpreting, an ability to sense a mood, to recreate a particular atmosphere, to relate to an author and fully immerse in the context in which he/she lived. Very ambitious... because I'm not even sure that's enough.
So yes, it takes at least a poet to translate poetry.


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:58
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Previous discussion of this topic Jan 7, 2004

See http://www.proz.com/topic/285

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T.S. Eliot for ever

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