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poetry & translation
Posted by: Veronika (---.213.143.81.63.dc.telemach.net)
Date: April 07, 2005 08:08AM

Tulach on USP wrote:
I think it was Robert Frost who said that poetry "is that quality which is lost in translation"...

But ...

There is an Irish poet, Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, whose poetry I like very much. I have read her work only in translation, but still it moves me.

The first time I came across the work of Czeslaw Milosz it was in beautiful translations done by Robert Hass.

I found Lorca enchanting even before I read his poems in the original.

And so on ...

What are your views on poetry in translation?


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: Desi (---.adsl.proxad.net)
Date: April 07, 2005 08:34AM

I believe that translated poetry can be beautiful, but it is never the same as the original. Things perforce get lost. However, the result may have additional assets. Only a poet can translate a poem. And only a good poet can make a good translation.


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: Tulach (193.120.148.---)
Date: April 07, 2005 09:24AM

the question arises of course, is it a new poem when translated....I think so. Doesn't mean it can't be translated, it's just a different poem.. perhaps with different emphasis etc...

Tulach


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: ilza (---.user.veloxzone.com.br)
Date: April 07, 2005 10:30AM

I hate translation - but then what to do ?
Dorothy Parker sounds stupid in Portuguese,
and Pessoa (one of my favorite poets) was smart enough to write some of his poems in English ...
Elizabeth Bishop and Mark Strand translated Brazilian poet Carlos Drummond - and well - but it is simply not the same feeling, unfortunately


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-02rh15-16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: April 07, 2005 11:58AM

Dorothy Parker sounds stupid in Portuguese

I wonder why that would be. Still, translated works have to be superior to no translation at all, since it would take many years to secure the knowledge necessary to understand a great poem in the original.

Fitzgerald's translation(s) of Khayyam's Rubaiyat are examples of great dedication in rendering the original quatrains correctly. Decades of devotion.

[www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk]


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: RJAllen (193.114.111.---)
Date: April 07, 2005 12:43PM

The trouble with your argument, hugh, is that Fitzgerald's Rubaiyat isn't very accurate. Roy Campbell's said that" translations are like wives: If they are beautiful they are not often faithful; if they are faithful they aren't often beautiful"


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: April 07, 2005 12:55PM

Perhaps poetry transalation could be compared to the "translation" of a book into film. It can be done badly or decently or brilliantly. It can in rare (and subjective) cases produce something more valuable than the original. But it can't ever claim to be the "same" as the original.

Again borrowing from book-to-screen, perhaps the word ADAPTATION is more accurate. You can adapt a poem into English, but that's all you can honestly claim to do.

Which suggests a question: If a bilingual poet translates his own poem from one language into another, is that an exception? Or is it just an adaptation with a pedigree?


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: ns (202.88.172.---)
Date: April 08, 2005 01:49AM

the question arises of course, is it a new poem when translated....I think so.
I think so, too. In trying to re-create the sense of the poem, one might use different words. Translation is a dangerous thing to attempt.

Only a poet can translate a poem. And only a good poet can make a good translation.
True. Fitzgerald is an example. I don't know if he wrote any poetry of his own, but his translations of the Rubaiyat show he IS a poet. I am a huge fan of Fitzgerald.

The problem arises when one knows both languages. If one knows only one, then the translation is taken for its own sake, rather than the better or worse copy of the original. I don't know Arabic - so I love Fitzgerald's poems because they are so beautiful.


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: April 08, 2005 08:35AM

Ciardi's explanation of his efforts to translate Dante's Divine Comedy was quite informative as to how to best approach translation, and the pitfalls encountered. He gives some examples of his thought process.

I can't locate a web page, but I'm sure the books are readily available


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: ilza (---.user.veloxzone.com.br)
Date: April 08, 2005 11:14AM

Marian : "Which suggests a question: If a bilingual poet translates his own poem
from one language into another, is that an exception? Or is it just an adaptation with a pedigree?"

does any one know whether Neruda ever translated his own poems ?

Fernando Pessoa - a great Portuguese poet - not only wrote in English and Portuguese
( although the portuguese poems are far more beautiful...),
but he also wrote under 73 different names !

Under 4 of them, his own name, Alberto Caeiro, Ricardo Reis, and Álvaro de Campos) were his most famous poems, but what is amazing is that
each one had a very specific "voice" or characteristic,
not to be mistaken with each other.

Yet, his poems in English (those he wrote in English) are not so good. In my opinion, of course.

( by the way, Pessoa means person - singular )


coffee break . . .
Posted by: ilza (---.user.veloxzone.com.br)
Date: April 08, 2005 11:22AM

one of my favorite poems is by Ciardi,
I always wondered whether he was quoting Da Vinci's definition :
'An arch is two weaknesses which together make a strength'

Most Like an Arch This Marriage
by John Ciardi

Most like an arch --- an entrance which upholds
And shores the stone-crush up the air like lace.
Mass made idea, and idea held in place.
A lock in time. Inside half-heaven unfolds.

Most like an arch --- two weaknesses that lean
Into a strength. Two fallings become firm.
Two joined abeyances become a term
Naming the fact that teaches the fact to mean.

Not quite that? Not much less. World as it is,
What's strong and separate falters. All I do
At piling stone on stone apart from you
Is roofless around nothing. Till we kiss

I am no more than upright and unset.
It is by falling in and in we make
The all-bearing point for one another's sake,
In faultless failing, raised by our own weight


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-02rh15-16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: April 08, 2005 01:07PM

... two weaknesses that lean
Into a strength.

So close that it just has to be referring to L da V.

Whether Fitzgerald is accurate or faithful to Omar, I don't read or speak Farsi, so I cannot judge. Still, for some interesting comparisons of four separate takes on the Ruby Yacht, see:

[www.therubaiyat.com] />
Another 'translation' frequently attempted is Beowulf, from English to English, that is. Everyone recognizes the need to keep the four-beat meter, split into two halves, with tons of alliteration, but interpretations branch wildly after that. The two most recent are by Seamus Heaney and Tim Murphy/Alan Sullivan. I'm guessing Tim and Allan became physically ill when they found out that Heaney had just published his translation before theirs!


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: Veronika (---.213.143.81.63.dc.telemach.net)
Date: April 11, 2005 06:48AM

I agree with Desi.

"I believe that translated poetry can be beautiful, but it is never the same as the original. Things perforce get lost. However, the result may have additional assets. "

And I agree that translation is original work. But I wouldn't go as far as saying it is an entirely new poem, independent of the original. The translator is limited by the original and often has to decide between "beautiful" and "faithful". Maybe it also depends on how much "new stuff" is added to translation.

What Robert Frost said about translation, I think, is mostly true for his own poetry, in fact for any poetry deeply embedded in language. In Slovenian we have an expression "prepesniti" - which would translate as "make a new poem out of it" - which is used for this kind of translation.

I find translation a wonderful tool that allows me to see "new worlds" I would otherwise miss. For me it is a necessity to try to see beyond the limitations of my language and my culture. To explore :-)

It seems to me much of the Western Canon consists of translations.

Veronika

It's no good, if you can't eat it.


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: RJAllen (---.creation-net.co.uk)
Date: April 11, 2005 10:17AM

Actually, I don't think Heaney's Beowulf is very good, either a atranslation or i as a poem. Pengion did a series of books Homer in English, Virgil in English etc for quite a few poets and there's a whole book, Ad Pyrrham by Ronald Storrs, dedicated to that one poem of horace.


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-01rh15-16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: April 11, 2005 12:18PM

Fairly strange, at least to me, but one poem that seems to survive rather well in translation is Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky. More than 50 different languages shown on these pages:

[www76.pair.com] />
One of them is Slovak - is that the same as Slovenian?


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: April 11, 2005 12:49PM

"Slovak - is that the same as Slovenian?"

Good question - I didn't know so I looked it up.

Slovakia and Slovenia are different countries - they don't even share a border. Slovakia was, from 1918 to 1993, part of Czechoslovakia. Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia (along with Albania, Croatia, and a few others).

Slovakian and Slovenian are both SLAVIC LANGUAGES, but those differ from each other as much as Romance languages to (e.g., French and Spanish). There are Slovakian-Slovenian dictionaries.

SLAVIC LANGUAGES are divided into three families: East, West, and South.

Slovakian and Czech are WEST Slavic languages, and are so much a like that some people refer to Slovakian as a dialect of Czech.

Slovenian (or Slovene) is one of the Serbo-Croation languages in the South Slavic group.


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: drpeternsz (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net)
Date: April 11, 2005 06:07PM

Someone else said thatpoetry is what is not lost in translation, but as usual,I can't recall the name of the commentator.


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: drpeternsz (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net)
Date: April 11, 2005 06:52PM

Hugh,

One of them is Slovak - is that the same as Slovenian?

From what I can gather Slavak or Slavik and Slavonic are names for the language group including W. Slavonic (Slovak and Czech, etc.) distinguished from E. Slavonic (Russian) and South Slovanic (including Slovenian). However since F. Boomer (417ff) says the Slavonic lanuages "show little internal differentiation" I suspect we are dealing with a primarily geographical distinction between Slovak and Slovenian, at least broadly. These are not languages I have had any contact with, since my neighborhood in Boston was mainly Lithuanian and Latvian who think they areIrish once a year-- a different story.


Peter


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: Veronika (---.213.143.81.63.dc.telemach.net)
Date: April 12, 2005 02:06AM

Must correct you on that last one - Serbo-Croatian is another slavic language altogether.

Slovenian is usually grouped together with the South Slavic languages. It is however distinguished from them, in that it has retained archaic proto-Slavic features and lexical characteristics, which indicate a greater age and a strong lexical relationship with the north Slavic type (according to Bezlaj). For instance, the linguistically rare dual number still in use today links Slovenian to the Lusatian Slavic, the supine to Czech, the genitive case in the negative form to Balto-Slavic group. Unlike Serbian and Croatian, Slovenian is characterized by a great number of dialects - about 50 dialects and subdialects ...


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-03rh15rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: April 12, 2005 10:27AM

The negative form requiring the genitive case I recognize from my little knowledge of Russian, but what is 'dual number'?


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: Veronika (---.213.143.81.63.dc.telemach.net)
Date: April 12, 2005 11:24AM

drevo - one tree - singular
drevesa - trees - plural
drevesi - two trees - dual

May seem unimportant when talking about trees, but it can make a lot of difference whether two or more people were sitting on a bench in a park :-)


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: drpeternsz (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net)
Date: April 12, 2005 11:30AM

I'm greatful for the additional information, but I did not say they were the same language. :-):-):-)

Peter


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: Veronika (---.213.143.81.63.dc.telemach.net)
Date: April 12, 2005 12:37PM

Sorry, I should have posted it at the end of the thread, as an answer to Hugh's question about dual.

:-)


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: drpeternsz (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net)
Date: April 12, 2005 05:48PM

Problemloss.

Peter


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-04rh16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: April 13, 2005 11:40AM

Oh, I geddit now. The plural is used only when a number (of whatever) is greater than two. Weird, but thanks.


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: April 13, 2005 06:25PM

Back to translation for a moment. I found this in an article about translations of Greek and Latin classics:

  "the renowned Swedish poet, Tomas Transtromer,
  writes that a poem is a manifestation of an invisible
  poem that is written beyond languages themselves"

This appeals to me because it jibes with my understanding of ART as the by-product of an artist's attempt to convey in physical form (visible, audible, edible, etc.) something that exists really outside of the physical realm. So any work of art is by definition an only partly successful experiment in translation from ideal to actual.

Transtromer is saying the same thing about poems. I think if you run with this train of thought you end up saying that a translated poem is ANOTHER attempt to describe in words something that does not exist in words. Better or worse, but OTHER.


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: drpeternsz (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net)
Date: April 13, 2005 08:22PM

pp. 96-98, THE LOOM OF LANGUAGE, F. Bodmer

NUMBER

Owing to accidental uniformities which have accompanied the leveling down of the personal flexion, grammar books sometimes refer to the number flexion of the verb. What is more properly called number flexion is characteristic of the class of words called nouns,. In most modern European languages, number flexion, illustrated by the distinction between ghost and ghosts, or man and men, simply tells us whether we are talking of one or more than one, creature, thing, quality, or group. The terms singular and plural stand for the two forms. The singular form is the dictionary word. Some of the older Indo-European languages, e.g. Sanskrit and early Greek, had dual forms, as if we were to write cafwo for two cats, in contradistinction to one cat or several cats.
In the English spoken at the time of Alfred the Great, the personal pronoun still had dual, as well as singular and plural forms. The dual form persists in Icelandic, which is a surviving fossil language, as the duckbill platypus of Tasmania is a surviving fossil animal. At one time all the Indo-European languages had dual forms of the pronouns. The ensuing table shows the Icelandic and Old English alternatives. At an early date the hard Germanic g of English softened to y, as in many Swedish words. The pronunciation of git and ge became yit and ye. The latter was still the plural pronoun of address in Mayflower English. [Sorry for the machine mis-transcription of Icelandic forms:]



ICELANDIC
ANGLO-AMERICAN
OLD ENGLISH

Dual Plural
vith vjer
we (two) we (all)
wit we

Dual
Plural
okkur oss
us (both) us (all)
uncit us

Dual
okkar
ours
uncer

Plural
vor
ours
ure

Dual
Plural
thith thjer
you (two) you (all)
git ge

Dual Plural
ykkur ythur
you (both) you (all)
incit eow

Dual Plural
ykkar ythar
yours yours
incer eower
[th=thorn in initial positions]]

Dual forms of the pronoun are widely distributed among earlier representatives of different language families and among living dialects of a few backward communities. So it is not surprising that distinctive dual personal flexions of the verb occur also, e.g. in Sanskrit, early Greek, Gothic. Though we meet them both in the old Aryan languages, dual forms of the noun and of the adjective which goes with it are less widely spread than those of the pronoun. Dual forms of one sort or the other now survive only in technically backward or isolated communities. They disappeared in Greek in the fourth century B.C., and no distinctive dual forms are found in the earliest Latin. They have persisted in Lithuanian dialects of the western Aryan group, in the Amharic of Abyssinia within the Semitic family, and in two remote dialects of the Finno-Ugrian clan.


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: Veronika (---.213.143.81.63.dc.telemach.net)
Date: April 14, 2005 05:48AM

Tsvetaeva in a leter to Rilke writes:

... What is poetry but translating, from a native (inner) tongue to a foreign one? - whether French or German doesn't make any difference. ... For that reason I don't understand why people speak of French, Russian, etc., poets. ... I'm not a Russian poet and am always puzzled when I'm seen as one. This is just why one becomes a poet (if it were possible to become one, if one were not born a poet) - in order not to be French, Russian, etc., in order to be all of them. In other words, one is a poet because one is not French. Nationality - the shutting out and shutting in. Orpheus bursts nationality, or extends its boundaries so far and wide that all (the bygone and the living) are included in it.


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: chuckl (---.hsd1.mn.comcast.net)
Date: April 14, 2005 09:04AM

And,in the Ojibwe language, plurality is dependent on whether the word is animate or inanimate,and there are two words for we.....me and my posse,but not you, and all of us,including you....
probably true of some other languages.


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: aradia (---.230.90.104.Dial1.Houston1.Level3.net)
Date: April 14, 2005 10:19PM

im looking for the english translation for veronica francos capitola 5 as well as some of her other works and i cant find it any help would be greatly appriciated


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: drpeternsz (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net)
Date: April 14, 2005 10:52PM

Capitolo 5
Veronica Franco

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Franco to an unnamed man.)

Sir, your virtue and your great valor
and your eloquence had such power
that they freed my heart from another's hand;
and that heart I soon hope to see
placed within your noble breast,
and ruling there and doing your will.
What I most loved I now despise,
and I no longer value weak and frail beauty
and repent of ever having delighted in it.
Unhappy me, who loved a mortal shadow
that I should have hated and loved you instead,
endowed with infinite, undying virtue!
The sea does not have as many grains of sand
as the number of times I weep over this:
loving frail beauty, I disdained endless virtue.
Sighing I confess my mistake,
and I promise and swear to you truly
that I'll banish beauty in favor of virtue.
Longing for your virtue, I languish and die,
my heart freed from that evil chain,
with which the little archer god bound me;
once I followed my senses, now reason is my guide......

[ll. 1-22; pp. 85]


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: drpeternsz (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net)
Date: April 14, 2005 10:53PM

google>veronica franco capitola<



Post Edited (04-15-05 12:53)


Re: poetry &amp;amp; translation
Posted by: drpeternsz (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net)
Date: April 16, 2005 11:29PM

Robert Lowell dubbed his translations: Imitations. Baudelaire gained Poe a reputation in France through the beauty of his translatation that outshown his Poe's American reputation.


Re: poetry &amp;amp; translation
Posted by: drpeternsz (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net)
Date: April 16, 2005 11:32PM

I s faithfulness ever really the highest value for a translator, is it something beyong that. Pound is the test case for many. He is viewed as a rank amateur for his inaccuraies, yet some consider him a greater translator than he was a poet.


Re: poetry &amp; translation
Posted by: drpeternsz (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net)
Date: April 16, 2005 11:36PM

At the heart of questions about translation lie lingering does about whether we ever actually communicate through words the spirit and soul of what it is to be a human being dwelling in the worlds of our particulars. If you say poetry cannot be translated from one human tongue to another, aren't you saying some humans cannot understand some other humans?


Re: poetry &amp;amp; translation
Posted by: drpeternsz (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net)
Date: April 16, 2005 11:41PM

Only a poet can translate a poem. And only a good poet can make a good translation.
True. Fitzgerald is an example. I don't know if he wrote any poetry of his own, but his translations of the Rubaiyat show he IS a poet.

This is unfortunately a fine example of circular reason. You presuppose what you seek to prove.


Re: poetry &amp;amp; translation
Posted by: drpeternsz (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net)
Date: April 16, 2005 11:46PM

John,

Don't you find Ciari's Dante a bit drier than some of the others? Like Lawrence Binyon, for instance. The plodingness of Ciardi's verse negates the feel I get from other translations of same.

Maybe this is only true for my readings of these texts. I would guess everybody has a favorite translation of Dante or Homer (I like Fitzgerald's Homer, for instance). Pound held that every generation needed its own translations of the classics.


Re: poetry &amp; translation
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: April 18, 2005 12:23PM

Peter,

It was his approach to translation that I was fascinated with, not necessarily the end product.


Re: poetry &amp; translation
Posted by: misho (213.139.45.---)
Date: May 22, 2005 05:57AM

where had hheard before Veronika wrote:

Tulach on USP wrote:
I think it was Robert Frost who said that poetry "is that
quality which is lost in translation"...

But ...

There is an Irish poet, Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, whose poetry I
like very much. I have read her work only in translation, but
still it moves me.

The first time I came across the work of Czeslaw Milosz it was
in beautiful translations done by Robert Hass.

I found Lorca enchanting even before I read his poems in the
original.

And so on ...

What are your views on poetry in translation?


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: misho (213.139.45.---)
Date: May 22, 2005 05:58AM

where had hheard before Veronika wrote:

Tulach on USP wrote:
I think it was Robert Frost who said that poetry "is that
quality which is lost in translation"...

But ...

There is an Irish poet, Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, whose poetry I
like very much. I have read her work only in translation, but
still it moves me.

The first time I came across the work of Czeslaw Milosz it was
in beautiful translations done by Robert Hass.

I found Lorca enchanting even before I read his poems in the
original.

And so on ...

What are your views on poetry in translation?


Re: poetry &amp; translation
Posted by: stem (203.212.242.---)
Date: May 22, 2005 09:18AM

Hi Veronica,

We cannot have any clear cut defination of this aspects. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder

stem


Re: poetry &amp; translation
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: May 24, 2005 12:14PM

drpeternsz wrote: "Pound held that every generation needed its own translations of the classics."


This reminds me of something I often think, but have never shared before.

Supposing Pound is right. That means that every generation of ITALIANS needs its own translations of Shakespeare. Well (I wonder to myself), if the Italians need one, don't the English need one too? If translations age and become obsolete, are the originals immune?


Re: poetry & translation
Posted by: Jelly (---.abhsia.telus.net)
Date: June 26, 2005 07:08PM

What is an alliteration, hyperbole


Re: poetry &amp; translation
Posted by: gas (---.abhsia.telus.net)
Date: June 26, 2005 07:09PM

Your weird




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