Can I Get A "Translator" Over Here?

This topic can be found at:

26 April 2004, 04:25 AM
Can I Get A "Translator" Over Here?
Hey, Translator - Could you indulge me a moment of your time and expertise?

I recently read that Poe was more successful and more of an influence in France than he was in his native country and language. Ofcourse, you instantly came to mind. I'm wondering if you have ever had the oppurtunity to read Poe in french and if so, can you share your thoughts on that?

I'm also wondering if the French language adds to Bradbury's already beautiful prose or hinders it?

Thank You - grasstains

[This message has been edited by grasstains (edited 04-26-2004).]
26 April 2004, 04:29 PM
Originally posted by grasstains:

I'm also wondering if the French language adds to Bradbury's already beautiful prose or hinders it?

ive always wondered this also. not only about bradbury, but any poet or author. how do his words sound in another language?
27 April 2004, 05:43 PM
Hello Grasstains,
as usual, when poetry is in question, the original language is the best language. I've never had the oppurtunity to read Poe in French, and neither have I read Bradbury in that language - I read some Bradbury in Polish (the Veldt), but the rest of the two authors was purely in English. I did do an extensive reading of Balzac, Zola, Flaubert and Hugo in French, though. It sounded beautiful.
Cheers, Translator
27 April 2004, 09:36 PM
My only comment is that the recent translation of "Beowulf" by Seamus Heaney from Anglo-Saxon to Modern English rocks! However, I will be reading it in the original next semester, so I'll let you know the difference...
27 April 2004, 10:20 PM
Green Shadow
I love the poems Heaney has written about his father. Not Beowulf but stunning work.
27 April 2004, 10:50 PM
I'll have to look them up. Your word is good enough for a first recommendation. Beyond that, we'll just have to see...
27 April 2004, 11:28 PM
Ah, but the original Beowulf is fantastic - you can see the German everywhere.
Cheers, Translator
28 April 2004, 07:32 AM

Yes, but wouldn't it be "Germanic" rather than German? Since Modern English and Modern German are genetically related, they're both in there. I believe I'll find some influences of Old Norse as well, eh?
28 April 2004, 07:33 AM

Chaucer is much better in Middle English than in any translation I've ever seen...
28 April 2004, 09:16 AM
Green Shadow
Good site about Seamus Heaney with links (scroll down) to two reviews of Beowulf. www.poets.org/poets/poets.cfm%3FprmID%3D215+seamus+heaney+poems&hl=en&ie=UTF-8[/URL]

Also, here is one of Heaney's "father" poems below:


My father worked with a horse plough,
His shoulders globed like a full sail strung
Between the shafts and the furrow.
The horses strained at his clicking tongue.

An expert. He would set the wing
And fit the bright-pointed sock.
The sod rolled over without breaking.
At the headrig, with a single pluck

Of reins, the sweating team turned round
And back into the land. His eye
Narrowed and angled at the ground,
Mapping the furrow exactly.

I stumbled in his hobnailed wake,
Fell sometimes on the polished sod;
Sometimes he rode me on his back
Dipping and rising to his plod.

I wanted to grow up and plough,
To close one eye, stiffen my arm.
All I ever did was follow
In his broad shadow around the farm.

I was a nuisance, tripping, falling,
Yapping always. But today
It is my father who keeps stumbling
Behind me, and will not go away.

Seamus Heaney

[This message has been edited by Green Shadow (edited 04-28-2004).]
28 April 2004, 12:04 PM
Great stuff! OK. You can recommend more things to me now.
28 April 2004, 01:12 PM
I meant the German language. For you can; it is not even Germanic, it is pure "Alte Deutsch". I 100% agree that Cantenbury Tales are better in their original form. They seem stilted when translated.
Cheers, Translator
28 April 2004, 04:52 PM
Green Shadow
Here's one more by Seamus Heaney:


Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

Under my window, a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground.
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade.
Just like his old man.

My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner's bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away

Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I've no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I'll dig with it.
28 April 2004, 05:38 PM
Baudelaire was probably Allan Poe's #1 fan, and he literally translated many of his stories and poems into French, turned them into poems of his own.

As for how Bradbury sounds in another language, I can say he sounds fine in some recent Spanish translations, but there's nothing like the original. I read Dandelion Wine four years ago in Spanish and last year in English for the first time and it was an entirely different book for me, even though the translation was good.

28 April 2004, 09:20 PM
Has anyone read any Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Spanish? I read a translation of one of his stories, "Eva Is Inside Her Cat" into English last year and I would swear they had a word totally wrong.