Beyond the changed
words, the foreign language translation of a poem alters and
often destroys the original poem. With rare exception, the translation
of a beautiful poem can be simularly beautiful or literarly faithful,
but not both.
Poetry is uniquely tied to its natural language-- the unique
meaning, culture, diction, rhyme, sound, beat, feel and even
length of words. Due to the literal and figurative differences
between languages, a foreign language translation of a poem not
only changes the literal words but the poem. It is not possible
to change the language and perfectly preserve the original poem.
This concept is elementally illustrated by the translation
of simple rhyming poems. While 'dog' and 'fog' rhyme, the standard
Spanish translations of 'perro' and 'neblina' do not. To make
the translation rhyme, the translator has to take liberties with
the literal meaning.
In order to preserve the artistic sensability and meaning
of the original poem, many translators consciously dismiss literal
translation. The translation is often as much the artistic creation
of the translator as it is the of the original poet.
The reader of a translation is not reading the original poem.
The translation may be closely related and beautiful and profound,
but it's something different.
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