One of the frustrations, the challenges, the problems; probably the joys, of translating is choosing the correct idiom to translate into. Taking the words, sentences, phrases, lines, from the language of one country and translating them into the corresponding or equivalent language of another country is the type of work that can be done by almost anyone.
However, choosing the absolutely perfect cultural, social, geographical, spatial, historical, temporal and linguistic framework to put the translated words onto is another matter entirely, and will very much depend on the translator’s intentions and the receptive vocabulary of the proposed readership.
And when it’s poetry that is being translated, the task becomes even more complicated; the problems suddenly multiply. Should the poetry be translated into a poetic equivalent? Prose? Should it be made to rhyme? Should it not? Should it be of its time? Of the translator’s? Of the future? Should the loyalty be with the original poet? With the reader? Both? Neither? Should it be accurate? Should it be faithful? Should it try and convey the meaning? The ‘spirit’? The tone? Read more…
Translating Baudelaire’s Poetry
Copyright © R J Dent (2007)
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