29 mar. 2005

AVOIDING FAREWELL IN A CHIN-LING WINESHOP

Breezes filling the inn with willow-blossom scents,
elegant girls serve wine, enticing us to try it.

Chin-ling friends come to see me off, I try to leave
but cannot, so we linger out another cup together.

I can't tell anymore. Which is long and which short,
the river flowing east or thoughts farewell brings on?

(Hinton)

PARTING AT A WINE-SHOP IN NAN-KING

A wind, bringing willow-cotton, sweetens the shop,
And a girl from Wu, pouring wine, urges me to share it
With my comrades of the city who are here to see me off;
And as each of them drains his cup, I say to him in parting,
Oh, go and ask this river running to the east
If it can travel farther than a friend's love.

(Bynner)

Once again, Bynner is more fluid. Hinton's lineation and punctuation have the effect of disrupting the flow of the utterance. Where Hinton would put a period, Bynner would put the word "and." The main difference between the two translators is rhythmic, then. I'm assuming that both are fairly close to the original, since they don't diverge all that much semantically. Whether you like "linger out another cup" is a matter of taste. To me it's translatorese: the kind of phrase that occurs to translators but is not idiomatic in the "target language."