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Mount Orégano
Sue Burke
Translating Poetry: A thorny problem 
15th-Nov-2017 09:23 am
Let me see..
How do you translate words that exist in one language but not in another? Or ideas and animals specific to one culture or location? And what about puns?

In this article, I use some of my haiku to illustrate four strategies – compensation, paraphrase, adaptation, and wordplay – that sometimes work and sometimes fail more or less utterly. Read “Translating Poetry: A thorny problem” at Book Machine.

— Sue Burke
Comments 
15th-Nov-2017 06:56 pm (UTC)
Fascinating; thanks! LOL, I really liked lectores lectoras - the humor of the translation doesn't just leap out at one, but it's still there.

My Spanish is pathetic, but I've translated one of my songs, Naergon an Kharas, into Sindarin, and wow, that was so hard that I've never attempted it again. Tolkien didn't leave us enough words! It's one thing to write a lament for the fallen: Sindarin's the Language of the Losing Side - but just try to write a bawdy song in that stuff, sheesh! ^^
16th-Nov-2017 04:43 am (UTC)
You need a bawdy language. It's a closely held secret among linguists that not every language can do everything. French might be a good choice. You don't need to know much French to be able to sound bawdy.
17th-Nov-2017 03:44 am (UTC)
Alas, my French is worse than my Spanish, but German is a fine language for bawdy songs. Do you know oloriel? She turned me on to Ich Und Ein Fass Voller Wein, one of the most addictive pirate-songs ever. (My poor translation and her better one in the comments.)

*grins* I taught myself Sindarin writing dialog for my roleplaying characters, and had to make up a lot of Elvish kennings for 'sweet nothings', since Tolkien never provided any. There was a time when I seriously considered learning Welsh, just because unlike Sindarin, Welsh has actual living native speakers to explain how it works. LOL, I bet it's not hard to be bawdy in Welsh, once one's got the knack! ^^
18th-Nov-2017 01:38 am (UTC)
Now I want to learn German!
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