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Poetry in Translation Group

Updated: Sun, 11 Nov 2012 06:17 pm

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This is a new area on Write Out Loud to demonstrate the work we have done in getting poetry translated over the past few years. It is a temporary arrangement until we get our online community translation workshops underway. We are developing a wiki-based community translation feature, open to anyone to add their translations and to discuss alternatives, and the nature of poetry in translation. Here is a copy of a poem translated by a group of amateur poets around the table at the Cambridge Arms, Marché des Chartrons, Bordeaux. It is my own poem, written about my journey to Kraków in Poland, seeking some connection with my father who had been born there but never returned. He left our family when I was seven years old. Other tranlsated poems appear as blogs, with opportunities for adding your own comments about the translations. The picture shows a French amateur poet, June, who worked on the translation, here reading the French version.

What we do

Write Out Loud’s prime aim is to create opportunities for anyone who has a mind to to share their writing, particularly poetry, with other people. In Bordeaux, during November 2007, this aim was extended to trying to remove language barriers. Usually an individual takes on the work of translating a chosen poem into their native language, endeavouring to understand the poet’s intentions. Obviously this is the only approach with dead poets, short of a séance. In France we worked on translating English to French, and vice versa. Out of that grew our desire to open up the nights and the website, not just to poetry in translation, but to the discussions that can take place around that; the cultural understandings – and misunderstandings - that emerge, as well as the challenges that translation gives to the poet to try and explain the subtext of their own work. Sometimes these are subtexts of which the poet was previously unaware, as these round-the-table, or crowd, translations proved to all who participated. We are looking to create our online crowd translation wiki to open up translation for everyone, and are seeking funding for that. In the meantime, we have decided to post some examples, and welcome any suggestions or poems. Julian’s poem, Mr Grabowski was translated by a group of French teachers, working with Julian, around the a table at the Cambridge Arms in Bordeaux. Others joined the group as a small crowd formed, chipping in with their ideas. Thus was crowd translation born. We also have an example of two poets working together. Fatima Al Matar is a Kuwaiti-born poet who we met when she took the Tudor House Hotel crowd by storm, winning one of our poetry slams there. Fatima worked with Fred Holland on translating his work into Arabic, and has translated into English 'I wish I can live life' by Tunisian poet Abu Al Qassim Al Shabbi (1909 – 1934). As you can see, Fatima has also added notes giving insight into the translation process and cultural differences. We have also worked with the Gujarati Writers’ Guild UK and participated in two of their Mushairas (poetry festivals). Work by Bolton-based Gujarati poet, Siraj Patel is included in the blogs associated with this profile. Our work with francophone African poets has resulted in translations of their work, too. Oh Ma Ville Natale (Oh town of my birth), a poem by Wenceslas-Kapesa Chanda (translated by Julian Jordon & David Andrews) appears here also. Please feel free to add comments to the blogs but if you have any specific questions and/or ideas for developing this project further, join the group and message me please. Julian

All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.

Audio entries by Poetry in Translation Group

Poetry in translation migration situation (11/11/2012)

I wish I can live life by Abu Al Qassim Al Shabbi translated by Fatima Al Matar (06/04/2010)

Unsuited by Fred Holland translated by Fatima Al Matar (02/04/2010)

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Julian (Admin)

Fri 16th Nov 2012 18:28

Hi Larisa. I don't want to just open this up to all translations immediately, but to do it in a controlled way.

The wiki will be different software where you can upload the original and the draft translation side by side, for discussion by a group.

However if you would like to upload just ONE poem with the existing translation, we could perhaps use that as a means of trying out what it might be like once the wiki is in place.

You must be willing for people to comment on the poem and on its translation. If you are, firstly you need to join this group, then go ahead and blog a poem and translation in the same blog, then, in <Profile for entry> dropdown menu, select Poetry in Translation Group. Then message me to let me know. But PLEASE don't expect immediate response!

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Larisa Rzhepishevska

Thu 15th Nov 2012 21:25

Oh, sorry! I didn't notice Blog entries by Poetry in Translation Group. But..., anyway, what about translations from Russian into English?

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Larisa Rzhepishevska

Thu 15th Nov 2012 21:20

Hello, Julian! I would like to know if I can post my translations from Russian into English and where? Best wishes, Larisa

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Julian (Admin)

Sun 11th Nov 2012 18:20

As I have migrated stuff from the old cross cultural poetry group to here, I add Winston's link on ghazals as a comment here.

Winston wrote
There is a new discussion topic on ghazals which may interest you :-) Win

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Ann Foxglove

Sat 11th Jun 2011 06:41

I liked the poem very much - didn't know who had written it till I got to the end! Very engrossing! And moving too. No idea how good a translation it is cos I can't read french. But it read well to me. (And the whole thing is a great idea.) How about an audio of both versions? I think that would be a very interesting way to compare them.

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Tomás Ó Cárthaigh

Fri 10th Jun 2011 23:17

Its a great idea... look forward to throwing my stuff out there to see if anyone would care to give it a voice in another tongue...

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