Tag Archives: translation

Japanese Cows (NaPoWriMo #23)

image

You know cows
None tattooed
Yammer and bicker
Caught around cones
Moon ash trickles, gone.

This is the original Japanese poem by Monk Ryokan:

Yo no naka wa 
nani ni tatoen 
yamabiko no 
kotauru koe no 
munashiki ga goto

And its translation by Steven D Carter :

Our life in this world – 
to what shall I compare it? 
Its like an echo 
resounding through the mountains 
and off into the empty sky.

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Wow, the Japanese poem is so beautiful. Languages are so diverse and have different stresses of syllables- in Japanese there are so many k’s, g’s, and y’s compared to English, and that’s after translating pictograms into alphabetical notation. Though the “homophobic translation” prompt focuses on similarities of look and sound and not meaning, I can’t help but wonder how different it is read in Japanese with the original words intact. Sometimes I have the urge to just learn a bunch of foreign languages.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Nonsense Icelandic (NapoWriMo #16)


A Less Than Amateur Translation of SKAGAFJÖRÐUR by Gerður Kristný

Its reign a very
alluring vile birth
so that a hero in livid mittens
beggar paired at Kemer
million cokes often I grace
an affluent minuet
of fairy mail luging I’m
fingerless corner
but shelf around gum or gruel

Summit at each effort how
bake bar after
as hymncry hustles continue

alto skulls part alms and of Jazzybarns/Jesusborn

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Original text:
Ég reyni að vera
alúðleg við börnin
svo þau hirði um leiðið mitt
þegar þar að kemur
mylji köku ofan í grasið
á afmælinu mínu
og fari með ljóðið um
fingruðu kýrnar
þá sjálf orðin gömul og grá

Samt á ég eftir að
þekkja þau aftur
á himneskri húsalyktinni

alltaf skulu þau ilma eins og Jesúbarnið
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Actual English Translation:
I try to be
kind to the children
so they’ll tend my grave
when the time comes
crumble biscuits in the grass
on my birthday
and recite the poem about
the gambolling cows
themselves grown old and grey
All the same I will
know them again
by the heavenly smell of the stable
may they always be fragrant as the Jesus child
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This challenge is a lot harder than it looks! I chose a language very different from English and the ones that I understand to really play the guessing game and see how much contrast would be made. It is quite a beautiful poem and makes we wonder about what other works I have missed from the limited exposure we have to world culture. And to be honest, I have no idea what I just wrote.Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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