Translating poetry

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Extemporized breaks the rhythm of the song; On the other hand: ...Everything is just a haze, I am lost in this wretched maze...just a suggestion...

Where The Mind Is Without Fear

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
-Rabindranath Tagore, translated by himself.
(Bengali)
 

drizzle

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I had to read about the poet, thanks for sharing Enigman. Fine translation too.
 
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Song Of The Spirits Over The Water

The spirit of Man
Resembles water:
Coming from heaven,
Rising to heaven,
And hither and thither,
To Earth must then
Ever descend.

It leaps from the heights
Of the sheer cliff,
In a pure stream,
Then rises sweetly
In clouds of spray
Against smooth stone,
And lightly received
Flows like a veil
Streaming softly
To depths beneath.


When the sheer rocks
Hinder its fall,
It foams angrily
Flowing stepwise
Into the void.
Along its flat bed
It wanders the vale,
And on the calm lake
All the bright stars
Gaze at their faces.

Wind is the water’s
Sweet lover:
Wind stirs up foaming
Waves from the deep.

Spirit of Man
How like water you are!
Man’s fate, oh,
How like the wind!
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe; Translated by A. S. Kline

It is a pity that Goethe doesn't translate very well; you only have a shadow of the poignancy of the original, you can see something should be there but you just can't grasp it.
 

drizzle

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Love of books:

Love%20of%20books.jpg



Tutti i libri del mondo
non ti danno la felicità,
però in segretoti
rinviano a te stesso.

Lì c’è tutto ciò di cui hai bisogno,
sole stelle luna.
Perché la luce che cercavi
vive dentro di te.

La saggezza che hai cercato
a lungo in biblioteca
ora brilla in ogni foglio,
perché adesso è tua.*
- Hermann Hesse


* I'd be thankful if anyone can translate it--online translations aren't good enough.
 
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* I'd be thankful if anyone can translate it--online translations aren't good enough.
Why is it in Italian?
 

drizzle

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I was surprised, I think he is fluent in Italian too. :bugeye:
 

tiny-tim

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Love of books:
isn't hesse saying the opposite, that you shouldn't love books, because the light of wisdom does not come from books to illuminate you, it comes from you, and illuminates the books? :confused:

EDIT: btw, there's a misprint at the join of lines 3 and 4, they should read:
però in segreto
ti rinviano a te stesso.​
(but in secret
they refer/return you to yourself)​
 
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Technically, the light coming from a source illuminates the surface of the book, which makes it readable in the first place *wiseguy alert*
 
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isn't hesse saying the opposite, that you shouldn't love books, because the light of wisdom does not come from books to illuminate you, it comes from you, and illuminates the books? :confused:

EDIT: btw, there's a misprint at the join of lines 3 and 4, they should read:
però in segreto
ti rinviano a te stesso.​
(but in secret
they refer/return you to yourself)​
Can you translate the whole poem, t-t?
 
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if i copy-and-paste the whole poem into http://translate.google.co.uk/

yes of course! o:)

(sì, naturalmente! :wink:)
I did that and checked out some alternate shades of meaning for several words, but I thinks it's hopeless without some real experience in Italian. (I bet I could hammer out a good translation if it were in German because I actually studied that language in college.)
 

drizzle

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It makes sense now, you are right tiny-tim. I was confused by Anna Sponer's portrait title and thought it's the poem's title--it was hard to relate to the poem. A friend told me the original poem is in German, and shared the translation:

All the books of this world
don't bring you luck,
but they show (lead) in secrecy
you back into yourself.

There is everything you need
Sun, Star and Moon,
for the light of what you asked for,
dwells within youself.

Wisdom which you sought so long
in the libraries,
now glows from every leaf (page) -
because now it is yours.


Thanks Andre. :smile:

I love this poem :)
 

tiny-tim

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I did that and checked out some alternate shades of meaning for several words, but I thinks it's hopeless without some real experience in Italian. (I bet I could hammer out a good translation if it were in German because I actually studied that language in college.)
well, it's poetry, so we can guess at the intention, and choose english words to match …

(i did this from the italian, not from the german that i've only just seen)

all the books of the world
do not give out happiness,
but they subtlely
refer you to yourself,

where everything is that you need,
sun moon stars
because the light you are looking for
lives within you

the wisdom you've long
been looking for in libraries
now shines on every page,
because at last it is yours​

i must admit i don't see what hesse (not even in the german) is getting at when he relates happiness (felicitá) to wisdom (saggezza) … i don't like the poem :confused:
 

drizzle

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Wisdom leads to happiness, IMHO.
 

drizzle

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Hey there! Glad to see you around. :D

Btw, don't forget to post a photo in the recent photo contest. :biggrin:
 
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hesse said:
Alle Bücher dieser Welt
bringen dir kein Glück,
doch sie weisen dich geheim
in dich selbst zurück.

Dort ist alles, was du brauchst,
Sonne, Stern und Mond,
denn das Licht, wonach du frugst,
in dir selber wohnt.

Wesiheit, die du lang gesucht
in den Büchereien,
leuchtet jetzt aus jedem Blatt -
denn nun ist sie dein.
The German original is a very rhymie poem, and that adds much to the effect. Here's an attempt at preserving the rhyme in English:

All the books in all the world
no happiness will bring,
but what's within, in secret furled:
your self, is what they sing.

There lies all the things you need,
the stars, the moon, and sun,
because the light you asked about,
that light and you are one.

Wisdom that you've long sought for
in literary clues,
from every page now seems to pour,
since it reflects from you.
 
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drizzle

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Wow zshoe, this is more poetic. Thanks!
 
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Wow zshoe, this is more poetic.
Probably too much so. The German is more homely, plainer. Someone should take my version and distress it back somewhat.
 
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OK, here's my plainer (more accurately so) update:

All the books in all the world
won't bring bliss to you.
They, though, guide you secretly
to yourself, anew.

Everything you need is there,
moon, and stars, and sun,
for that light you've asked about,
it and you are one.

Wisdom that you've long sought for,
in libraries read through,
shines forth now from every page,
since it reflects from you.

I stuck closer to the original meter here, and cut back on the rhymes, since Hesse only rhymed at the end of the second and forth lines. I also struck the gratuitous fancifications that weren't Hesse, just props to shore up rhymes.

I think a poem that has meter and rhyme has it's own non-semantic musical mojo, which is lost if you translate it as free verse, however accurate the translation. In my world, it's better to compromise some shades of meaning to preserve the rhythmic mojo than it is to strip out the rhythmic mojo to preserve the meaning. In the end, though, perfect translation is impossible.
 

tiny-tim

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OK,I think a poem that has meter and rhyme has it's own non-semantic musical mojo, which is lost if you translate it as free verse, however accurate the translation. In my world, it's better to compromise some shades of meaning to preserve the rhythmic mojo than it is to strip out the rhythmic mojo to preserve the meaning. In the end, though, perfect translation is impossible.
:smile:
 
I don't understand French, but I was in Algeria and found a poem in a pocketbook that was lying in the lounge. For reason I can't explain... perhaps because I'm having a deja vu as if I understood the poem intimately, I like the original version more than the English translation. http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/get_text.html?TextId=16292 [Broken]

"Le ciel est, par-dessus le toit,
Si bleu, si calme!
Un arbre, par-dessus le toit,
Berce sa palme.

La cloche, dans le ciel qu'on voit,
Doucement tinte.
Un oiseau sur l'arbre qu'on voit
Chante sa plainte.

Mon Dieu, mon Dieu, la vie est là
Simple et tranquille.
Cette paisible rumeur-là
Vient de la ville.

Qu'as-tu fait, ô toi que voilà
Pleurant sans cesse,
Dis, qu'as-tu fait, toi que voilà,
De ta jeunesse?"
 
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drizzle

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Thanks for sharing, Romulo Binuya. I translate it and it sounds beautiful. But I wonder if someone here would care to translate the poem. o:)
 
Thanks for sharing, Romulo Binuya. I translate it and it sounds beautiful. But I wonder if someone here would care to translate the poem. o:)
Nice if someone here would care to translate that un-titled French poem.

Btw, maybe someone here might like this Spanish poem which the wikipedia said..
**"Mi último adiós"could be the most translated patriotic swan song in the world, and interpretations into 46 Filipino languages including Filipino Sign Language[1], and as of 2005 at least 35 English translations known and published (in print). The most popular English iteration is the 1911 translation of Charles Derbyshire and is inscribed on bronze. Also on bronze at the Rizal Park in Manila, but less known, is the 1944 one of novelist Nick Joaquin. The latest translation is in Czech by former Czech ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines, H.E. Jaroslav Ludva,[7] and addressed at the session of the Senát.

Aside from those mentioned above, the poem has been translated into at least 30 other languages:** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mi_último_adiós
 
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"Le ciel est, par-dessus le toit,
Si bleu, si calme!
Un arbre, par-dessus le toit,
Berce sa palme.

La cloche, dans le ciel qu'on voit,
Doucement tinte.
Un oiseau sur l'arbre qu'on voit
Chante sa plainte.

Mon Dieu, mon Dieu, la vie est là
Simple et tranquille.
Cette paisible rumeur-là
Vient de la ville.

Qu'as-tu fait, ô toi que voilà
Pleurant sans cesse,
Dis, qu'as-tu fait, toi que voilà,
De ta jeunesse?"
Pardon my french:
The sky, o'er the roof,
So blue and calm.
The tree o'er the roof,
waves its palm.

The bell in the sky we see,
Gently rings.
The Bird on the tree we see,
Plaintively sings.

Lord mine, this life,
So serene and quiet.
This peaceful rumor then
From the city spreads.

What have you done, you sitting there,
Ceaselessly crying,
Say, what have you done, you there,
Of your joyous youth?​
^I liked it a minute ago, now I hate it :-\
 
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