3 oct. 2007

"Quiero llorar porque me da la gana" / "Let me blubber, since now I am minded to"

Here's a real WTF translation, from Ben Belitt. I have a whole list of them at home. Belitt makes even Bly look like a good translator by comparison. He obscures what it perfectly clear in the original: I want to cry because I feel like it. Making it into "poetry" in English, for Belitt, means writing in phrases that nobody would ever utter. Nobody who does not fancy himself a "poet" could possibly translate so miserably. Even the damned comma is alll wrong here.

(I am not advocating for literal translation here. There are plenty of freer translations that work just fine; Belitt's is not one of them.)


"Los pañales exhalan un rumor de desierto" / "The swaddling clout falls in the breath of a wilderness murmur"

Here the Lorca is not too clear, but the Belitt is grotesquely verbose, unpronounceable. What is a "clout" in this context? Why change "exhale" to "falls in the breath"?

4 comentarios:

Unknown dijo...

Any chance that this fellow was trying and succeeding at being hilarious?

John dijo...

Belitt makes me minded to blubber too.

"Minded to blubber" would be a great book title. Or band name.

John dijo...

The clout falling in the breath sounds like the wilderness murmur hocked a loogie.

Jonathan dijo...

No chance of humorous intent. You could say he is 'successful" though.