After I posted about poetry translation last week, Ben came by and left a comment. So off I went to look at his blog, the recently started Project Poesía, an Anglo-Catalán poetry project.
I started tinkering with one of the pieces he had there, making a translation based on La Barceloneta, an original by Alexandre Plana; Ben has now added my draft translation to his blog as a guest post. (You can also read the original and Ben’s translation)
I’ve always thought that you need to feel some empathy with a poem to make a good translation. But now I’m beginning to wonder what happens if you feel too much empathy. Continue reading “transcreation”
Years ago, after talking to the Catalán poet Joan Margarit, I wrote down in my notebook:
Form, metre, rhyme etc. are superficial elements of a poem. What gets translated is something more essential.
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about poetry translation, and I’m trying to work out what that “more essential” something is.
It’s clear – to me at least – that the complexity of poetry, its inherent weaving of different linguistic techniques, makes it impossible to translate everything: the only way to get an exactly equivalent poem would be to repeat the original. (At which point, it is probably relevant to mention the Borges short story Pierre Menard, autor del Quijote.) Continue reading “drafts and re-drafts”