Thursday, 28 August 2014

Translating my own poem - Grammar


I have a small poem which I won't read out at any reading soon. I don't want to share it with anyone to translate yet. However I hit on the idea of doing it myself. Since I know French I have had a go at moving it into French.

What a surprise. Since I know what I was driving at in my English words, I am not just making a translation, but an expression of what-it-was-before-it-came-out-in-English in French. I am surprised at my knowledge of French, much subtler than I had been aware of. Phrases and single words come to mind. I have not gone to look for my dictionary yet, though I did use Google Translate. It wasn't very good, just clunky. The spellings were correct, but then I knew them anyway.

I know this little poem by heart so I can think about it as I walk around.

Is a poem written by one person, but in two languages, a different thing from a poem written by one person and translated by another? Twin poems, dual poems, parallel poems. It wasn't written with the intention to translate it. That might alter things entirely.


I worked out a piece of grammar for myself today, so feel satisfied with myself. It started with an un-obvious translation of 'home news'. I then reflected on the name of a pudding I had with my brother over the weekend and put 2 and 2 together to make 4. I worked it out while walking from my kitchen through the passageway to my mother in law's house. I even waved my arms around in pleasure at my discovery.

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