To translate a poem, you have to lie - Pour traduire un poème, il faut mentir
Thread poster: DocteurPC

DocteurPC  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:56
English to French
+ ...
Jan 25, 2005

Pour traduire un poème

Pour traduire des poèmes
il faut
traduire le rythme
et la pensée
et non les mots

Pour traduire des poèmes
il faut
traduire les saveurs
et non les ingrédients
en garder toute la ferveur

Pour traduire des poèmes
il faut
penser comme un poète
laisser son coeur parler
suivre la mélodie
du flot
et des idées

Pour traduire des poèmes
il faut
faire mentir les mots
et non le poète
respecter son poème
et non ses mots


© Georgette Blanchard 2001, alias Docteur PC
----------------
and my 2004 translation:

To translate a poem you have to lie


To translate a poem
you have
to translate the rythm
and the thoughts
but not the words

To translate a poem
you have
to translate the flavors
and not the ingredients
and keep the fervor

To translate a poem
you must
think like a poet
let your heart talk
and follow the melody
and the flow
of the ideas

To translate a poem
you have
to lie with the words
but not cheat the poet,
respect her work
and not her words


© Georgette Blanchard 2004, alias Docteur PC
514-487-3062
info@georgetteblanchard.com


 

sviaggio  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
A wonderfully wise poem! Jan 25, 2005

My only suggestion to the translator (but I am not a natvie speaker of English, so maybe my suggestion is off the mark!) would be:

"must" which stands out as neatly as "il faut" in the original, whereas "you have" is isolated from its semantic 'tail'("it". The the reader, therefore, does not know how to interpret it before proceedign to the next line. This suspension of comprhension (or, worse, wrong anticipation) conspires against the effect of the English poem, I think.

sergio


 

sviaggio  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
On second thought Jan 25, 2005

I think that the original means to admonish to have the words lie, but not the poet (in other words, the translator must lie with his words in order to let the poet tell his truth). The translation speaks of “cheating the poet”, which, to my mind, is not what the original poet/translator meant. If, as it seems, both the French and the English versions are by the same poet, in this particular respect, she has written to different poems, in that she has the French poet say one thing and the English quite another one. Since this is no explained by the structural differences between these languages, I suppose that by the time she went about re-writing her poem in English, the translator had changed her mind – which happens quite often when authors self-translate: they do not need to remain faithful to their former selves, but to themselves. Period.

My Spanish translation (written as the fingers tap) would be:

Para traducir poesía, hay que mentir

Para traducir poesía
Es preciso
Traducir el ritmo
Y las ideas
No las palabras.

Para traducir poesía
Es preciso
Traducir los sabores
Y no los ingredientes
Conservando íntegro el fervor.

Para traducir poesía
Es preciso
Pensar como poeta
Dejar que hable al corazón
Seguir la melodía
Y el fluir
Del pensamiento

Para traducir poesía
Es preciso
Hacer mentir a las palabras
Y no al poeta

Observations:

I think that writing "hay que" in the title and "es preciso" in the poem itself does not do violence to its internal coherence. Rather, it strenghens it. "Es preciso" did not sound right in the title, whilst "hay que" didn't quite fit in the poem/ The title is therefore more colloquial, which, I submit, gives "es preciso" a greater effect.

I think it is better to say "y las ideas" (as terse as the original) rather than "el pensamiento" (which will force me to change "idées" when it comes later on in the French.

I also think it is more effective to say "poesía" (in the singular) and reserve "poema" for the last strophe, where it really fits.

I also liked better "íntegro" than "todo".

All these changes are due to the differnces between French and Spanish. But the following might also improve the original:

I have tried to have one copulative per strophe (and used to different ones when forced to in the last one).

sergio


 

bozhana  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:56
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
A beutiful poem! Jan 26, 2005

[quote]sviaggio wrote:

I think that the original means to admonish to have the words lie, but not the poet (in other words, the translator must lie with his words in order to let the poet tell his truth). The translation speaks of “cheating the poet”, which, to my mind, is not what the original poet/translator meant.


 

bozhana  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:56
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
A beautiful poem! Jan 26, 2005

I don't quite agree with Sergio that the message is not the same. May be "lie to the words
but not cheat the poet or not to the poet" would be better.As far as I get it you can change the words and but not the message, the feeling and so on. That's why translating poetry is extremely difficult. I think that there is something wrong with the rythme of the part with the "flavors". Anyway, I love it!
Bozhana


 


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To translate a poem, you have to lie - Pour traduire un poème, il faut mentir

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