Monday, July 20, 2015

Translation of poetry and of texts from a different culture

Having worked as an interpreter for the European Parliament I have wondered how a Romanian colleague would deal with a Finnish speaker or how a Portuguese interpreter would get the intention of the Hungarian speaker.
It is not about the words flipping them into the target language so that the words would be understandable. Rather in immersing oneself in a language one can grasp the strangeness of the other's circumstances and maybe understand the different cultural contexts, religious concepts and also every thing pertaining to daily and ceremonial life, to the daily hardships and joys. I have translated quite a lot of poetry by Modern Native Americans: Sherman Alexie's translation will be presented October 2nd in Antwerp. Sherman Alexie is Spokane/Coeur D'Alene Indian. His work is modern and deep, funny and ruthlessly honest. He uses irony and old cultural elements. He is a trickster who will confuse you and make you wonder and fill your heart with joy. He writes about pain in his unique way. He is a poet who challenges the translator, using among other techniques Fibonacci series in his rhymes, in another poem he has always the same end rhyme... Impossible in the target language. His world view, his translation of himself in his unique way is quite a gift. I hope the reader will enjoy his work 'On the backs of salmon' the metaphor I use for this translation. I hope you will be deeply touched by Sherman Alixie's poems I have chosen from his four first poetry books, published by Robert Hershon soul and body of Hanging Loose Press. A click on the image will enlarge it, so you can see the beauty of the books.

Sherman Alexie's books in Chronological order:
The Business of Fancydancing, Hanging Loose Press, 1992
First Indian On the Moon, Hanging Loose Press, 1993
The Summer of Black Widows, Hanging Loose Press, 1996
One Stick Song, Hanging Loose Press, 2000

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