Translation of Poetry
|Translation of poetry||4|
I have chosen this topic not because I had to choose some subject for my term paper, but because I think that poetry is one of the most difficult forms to translate. It was like a challenge to me. I looked through many works and analysed them and then I thought about, how it would be if I tried to translate poetry by myself. I looked through the theory of poetry translation and tried to do as best as I could according to it. Then I found a book of very interesting poetry. I have to say that it was not easy to me (many examples were changed), but I hope the examples will be acceptable. I have to mention also that after I have written this term paper I have known much more about poetry translation problems.
THE TRANSLATION OF POETRY
The translation of poetry is generally held to be the most difficult, demanding, and possibly rewarding form of translation. It has been a subject of a great deal of discussion, particularly within the field of literary translation, where far more has been written about the translation of poetry than about either prose or drama. Much of discussion consists of theoretical questioning of the very possibility of poetry translation, even though its practice is universally accepted and has influenced and often become part of the canon of the TL poetic tradition. The views on the subject are many and varied, often anecdotal and perhaps unavoidably, subjective.
Although it is crucial that the original be recognisable in the translation, a further criterion for a successful translation is that the intrinsic poetic value of the translated text. Similarly, it is often suggested that, unlike other forms of literary translation, the translation of poetry must stand on its own as a poetic text, to a large extent unsupported by glosses or commentary, whether they take the form of footnotes or are embodied in the text.
The view that it is impossible to translate poetry recognises that it is impossible to account for all the factors involved and to convey all the features of the original in a language and form acceptable to the TL culture and tradition. However, from this sobering acceptance of the difficulty involved and of the enormity of the task comes a search for strategies whereby as much as possible of the original poetry may be saved in the translation.
The relationship between theory and practice in poetry translation has always been problematic. Few theories can account for the complexities involved in actual practice or indeed for the resourcefulness needed by the translator; and although it may be unrealistic to expect that a theoretical model of poetry translation should solve all the problems a translator encounters, such a model should arguably provide a description of the set of strategies available for approaching these problems and procedures for dealing with the various factors involved. Certainly the very uneven quality of much translated poetry suggests the pressing need for more definite and regular procedures.
Any translation of a poem will require attention to each of the various levels on which a poem functions. On the semantic level, a poem carries some message or statement about the real world or the author’s reaction to it, and this is often considered the core, which any translation must reproduce. However, the message of a poem is often implicit and connotative rather than explicit and denotative, giving rise to different readings and multiple interpretations. It has been pointed out repeatedly that translation is the first of all an act of reading a poem, there is no single way of reading a poem, and there is no one interpretation and translation of it. The translator, in fact, translates his or her own interpretation, though this should preferably be an informed one. Alternatively, some scholars suggest that the translator attempts to recreate the poetic text on the basis of the author’s intended meaning, i.e. how the translator believes the author would have expressed him/herself had he or she been writing in the TL. However, the author’s intention is rarely obvious or inferable with any great degree of certainty, and there is no reason to suppose that the translator has privileged access to it. One might suppose that semantic problems of interpretation could be dealt with by simply consulting the poet if he or she is still alive, but readers are often more informed than authors, and the meaning of a poem lies not with the author but within the text itself and the reader’s interpretation of it.
Original poetry itself has no redundancy, no phatic language, but the translator usually needs a little extra space, he relies on redundancy in overtranslating.
Approaches to the problems involved in translating poetry fall into two basic categories, the pragmatic and the theoretical. Most practising translators favour the pragmatic approach, while theoretical models of the process are mainly the work of linguists.
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