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Lidia Vianu - Director of CTITC (CENTRE FOR THE TRANSLATION AND INTERPRETATION OF THE CONTEMPORARY TEXT), Bucharest University, Professor of Contemporary British Literature at the English Department of Bucharest University, Member of the Writers’ Union, Romania.

 

 
 
 
 
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CTITC

CENTRE FOR THE TRANSLATION AND INTERPRETATION OF THE CONTEMPORARY TEXT
CENTRUL PENTRU TRADUCEREA SI INTERPRETAREA TEXTULUI CONTEMPORAN

 

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 TRANSLATION CAFÉ 


 

CTITC
CENTER FOR THE TRANSLATION AND INTERPRETATION OF THE CONTEMPORARY TEXT

MTTLC
MA Programme for the TRANSLATION OF THE CONTEMPORARY LITERARY TEXT

 

TRANSLATION
CAFÉ



Review of Contemporary Texts in Translation and E-Learning



                                                       Nr. 3/March 1, 2007




Director: LIDIA VIANU

© CTITC
    MTTLC

 

 

Issue Editor: Daniela Oancea (MA student)

These translations of George Szirtes’s Clouds and The Child as Metaphor are an
online seminar of literary translation, part of Lidia Vianu’s course TEXT IN CONTEXT: Guide to Contemporary Literature and Its Translation, and the third session of E-Learning in the MA Programme for the Translation of the Contemporary Literary Text, directed by Lidia Vianu.


The texts have also been discussed in translation group at

 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/translationcafe/  


 



GUEST POET: GEORGE SZIRTES
http://www.georgeszirtes.co.uk/  

On Braille

Poetry is not a specialist field in the critical study of literature although it is that too, more importantly it is the primary human instinct to sing, dance and chant the sensation of being in the world, to shake it into meaning through the delicate, thin, almost evanescent medium of language. Meaning suggests shape and poets are shape and pattern makers, trying the surface and depth of language, knowing that pattern best when it is on the point of breaking. Poems move us not because they are true in the evidential sense of the word but because they ring true, are the noise of truth as breath and voice meets language.

To write poetry is to be drawn to that ringing, that dancing, To read or hear it is to imaginatively enter the dance, be part of the ringing.

Each language has its own history and its own notation of experience. It is the sum total of those who have spoken it and written it. No two words in the dictionary are exactly the same, even less the words in the dictionary that mediates between two languages. Fenêtre is not window, brot is not bread, or rather they are only so in the most rudimentary mechanistic ways. The proportions of a French window are rarely those of an English window, the taste of German bread is not quite the same as bread from an English baker. And beyond all that lie the vast impossible histories of the words, their associations, their deployment in spoken, sung and written communications, their consonant and vowel colours, their stresses and pitches.

And yet we speak to each other and live together as human beings, trusting to this most elusive and evanescent of means. We hear the poetries of our language and strive to hear those of others because poetry confirms our sense of the delicate shifts and great crevices of the world. Because, despite everything, poems do travel. From Greek and Latin into French and Italian, into English into German: the words of Homer, Catullus, Dante and Shakespeare drift about the world assuming slightly different yet compulsive shapes. Sometimes they enter another language almost as if they had always lived there. So a Latin poem becomes a few verses in an English poem, so Shakespeare's lines seem to hang as naturally as apples on a native tree just about anywhere.

Translation is not a hopeless task, but it is not precise science either. Under the words there is the only partially defined Braille of feeling that we experience as much with our fingers as with our minds. Under the poem is the Braille we can sense as we read the original, the fine holes that constitute the intimation of experience beginning to shift into shapes we recognise, that long to enter the textual world that is already familiar to us.
It is both the text and the underlying Braille that we are engaged with when we translate, knowing that the poet himself or herself had only a kind of mental Braille to go on, that it was that pattern of holes and raised edges pressing against the underside of language that was longing to enter it.

The enterprise of translation is itself a form of making, the dance as it passes through the ice, the echo song returning in its own slightly different timbre. No poet will ever be read with as much care as by his or her translators. Translation is a creative act. It thrives, as do all creative acts, on enthusiasm, energy and the sense of delight in the process.

You are fortunate to have each other and such excellent and energetic guides as Lidia Vianu. Your work can be admirable and bring pleasure. Think of all the poets whose ears and mouths you become, whose dances you enact, whose own braille you touch under the film of language just as it hesitates on the point of becoming language.

George Szirtes


 

 

GEORGE SZIRTES

Clouds

The clouds are drawing out of the station
at infinite leisure.
Two men on scaffolding make miniature
architecture.

The sunlight places its hands
on my face
like a small child. Its hands are all
tenderness, grace,

as if wanting to discover
the true form
of the figure it holds and explores
while it is still warm.

 


Translations by:


Oana Avornicesei - Nori


Elena-Carmen Bobocescu -
Norii


Ileana Botescu-Sireteanu -
Nori


Ruxandra Buluc -
Norii


Andreea Diaconu -
Nori


Monica Manolachi -
Norii


Dana Negulescu -
Norii

 

Cristina Nistor - Norii

 

Daniela Oancea - Norii

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

GEORGE SZIRTES

The Child as Metaphor


The child pushed out the boat of his small voice
To see how far it would go. It floated free
Of him, drifting between blocks of ice.

Endangered voice on an indifferent sea
Turning its vast grey back: how would he sound
At the pole where so many had died already?

Under the ice fish screamed at newly drowned
Babies. Whales clicked their tongues and boomed
Disapproval. Creatures with teeth unbound

Their powers and terrifying voices loomed
Like buildings. It seemed the world was against him,
That any child's voice as small as his was doomed

Because there at the arctic all chances are slim
And everything, even love, freezes and disappears
Or snaps in two as the long night draws in.

So she listened to the deep voiced-child. Her ears
Were muffed against the cold but there, and there!
She heard him and she leaned down with her spears

Poised over the water. Mothers, the air
Is dangerous at the north pole. The metaphor
That is your son is crying out. Beware.

 

 

Translations by:


Oana Avornicesei

Copilul ca metafora

 


Elena-Carmen Bobocescu

Copilul ca metafora

 


Ileana Botescu-Sireteanu

Copilul ca metafora

 


Monica Manolachi

Copilul ca metafora

 

 

Cristina Nistor

Copilul ca metafora

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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