torsdag, december 07, 2006

By the river I sat down and wept

What I have to offer now is a gross translation of a Chinese poem which was written in the Song dynasty. It is still unpolished and raw, and I'll probably refine it when I am in the mood and if I have the time. Interesting how so much beauty can be lost in translation - or, more specifically, the translation of Chinese works into English texts (I can't comment for other languages since I know only Chinese and English). Of course there are a few pleasantly surprising exceptions, but till now I have rarely come across English translated versions of Chinese literary writings which sufficiently convey the elegance and profundity of the Chinese language. Anyway, I do not profess to be an expert in translation, so I admit that my current translated version of the Chinese poem is still very crude, and constructive criticism is welcome. Feel free to drop a comment.

Firstly, here is the original poem:




Now, the translated version:

By the River I Reside

By the source of the river I reside,
By the other end of the river you abide.
I miss you daily but we do not meet -
But, as one, from this river we both sip.

When will the river stop flowing?
When will my grief and longing cease?
I ask only for your heart to echo mine,
So that not in vain for you I pine.

OK, I am really ashamed of myself now. The unspeakable sheerness of ardently missing a loved one is totally lost in translation. The current version seriously needs bouts of refining to mould it into shape. Can anyone please come up with something better? Comments are welcome.

2 kommentarer:

Axel sagde ...

Actually I get a peaceful feeling from your translation: That it brings joy to sip from the same river. I should have e-mailed you this, but here it is as a comment. I like that you translate chinese poetry, it is very good. Thank you.

Metamatician sagde ...

I think it is great as it is, especially given it's a translation (how did you make it rhyme in english btw?)

I am just beginning to explore your site, but you are obviously talented and very prolific. Looking forward to getting my nails into it further!