Friday, September 8, 2017

Thoughts on translation, Part 9.5: smooth out the awkwardness

Song of Solomon: timeless love poetry in contemporary calligraphy. 

Topic Five:  Some translations read like they 
needed just one more draft.  

You can seek out smoother renderings of wordy passages. For instance, “It was but a little that I passed from them,” sounded both vague and inharmonious; wording it as “Scarcely had I left them.” made it vivid and succinct. [III: 4, at right]
In another passage (not shown here), I just can't get past the verse, "I have drunk my wine with my milk." [V: 1]   It doesn't sound appetizing.  I prefer the translation "I have drunk the milk and the wine."

Sometimes when you reshape the words, you make the meaning clearer and the poetry more graceful.    

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