f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

August 28, 2004

get a good translator

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 5:57 pm














japan flag 


The quality of a translation from one language to another is often very important.  It can mean the difference between keeping an accused in jail and releasing him (see “US Judge Sets Bail for Terror Suspects After Translation Slip-Up” — where a Kurdish word was belatedly found to mean “brother” not “commander”, as the indictment asserted).   It can also turn classic Japanese haiku into awkward or antiquated poetry — or, make it as alive and effective as any modern haiku.

 

The anthology The Classic Tradition of Haiku. (Ed., Faubion Bowers, Dover Press, 1996) has been a

favorite of mine for years, because it’s priced at $2.00, and because it contains haiku from Japan’s greatest masters, translated by top-flight scholars in the field, with footnotes giving cultural and personal context to many offerings.   A special feature is the inclusion of more than one translation for many of the poems.  Grouping translations of the same poem together demonstrates how the attitude, era, and personality of the translator can greatly effect the final product and the reader’s experience. 

 

not equal blue   Below, you’ll find several translations of two haiku by Kobayashi Issa. (David G. Lanoue’s name will be familiar to our visitors, as his translations appear here regularly, especially in the SideBar’s “Tea Party with Issa”.  Lanoue’s translations are from his Issa website; the other translations in this posting are from The Classic Tradition of Haiku.)

 


tsuyu no yo wa tsuyu no yo nagara sari nagara

 

 

this world
is a dewdrop world
yes… but…

                              –  David G. Lanoue   

 

 

Life is but the morning dew, bards day;

‘Tis true, indeed, but well-a-day!

                                                       Asataro Miyamori

 

 

The world of dew is, yes, a world of dew, but even so.

                                                                              Hiroaki Sato

 

 

The world of dew

Is a world of dew, and yet

And yet . . .

                                           –  Donald Keene

 

 



ware to kite asobe ya oya no nai suzume not equal black 

 

come and play
with me…
orphan sparrow

                              –  David G. Lanoue

 

 


Oh, won’t some orphan sparrow come and play with me.

                                                                                   –  Max Bickerton

 

 


Come with me,

Let’s play together, swallow

Without a mother

                                          – Donald Keene

 

 

















soap stings my eyes —

an eight-year-old face

flashes in the mirror

           

                                        [Aug. 28, 2004] 

 

one-breath pundit  





    • Speaking of translations, I wonder what the original versions of the books of the Bible actually said.   [see God’s Secretaries]  Whether it originated in Texas or Canada, or is merely a myth, I’ve always loved the sublime ignorance in the quote “If English is good enough for Jesus, then it’s good enough for me!
    • Here’s my first sighting of the Massachsetts press calling the widespread refusals to take cases by “bar advocates” a “boycott” (rather than a strike or some strange coincidence) — Lawyer boycott sets wanted man free, Fitchburg Sentinel, by Matt O’Brien, Aug. 28, 2004.

      • National Law Journal has published a Letter to the Editor on the boycott, written by your Editor. [Aug. 30, 2004, subscrp. req’d, but here’s my draft]

    • My town Schenectady is back in the news:  Andre Gainey, who was arrested for displaying a porno video from his Mercedes, was sentenced to three weekends in jail.  Gainey, who was found to have a suspended license, also signed the wrong name on the fingerprint card.   A light sentence for the “Chocolate Foam” man

get a good translator

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 5:57 pm














japan flag 


The quality of a translation from one language to another is often very important.  It can mean the difference between keeping an accused in jail and releasing him (see “US Judge Sets Bail for Terror Suspects After Translation Slip-Up” — where a Kurdish word was belatedly found to mean “brother” not “commander”, as the indictment asserted).   It can also turn classic Japanese haiku into awkward or antiquated poetry — or, make it as alive and effective as any modern haiku.

 

The anthology The Classic Tradition of Haiku. (Ed., Faubion Bowers, Dover Press, 1996) has been a

favorite of mine for years, because it’s priced at $2.00, and because it contains haiku from Japan’s greatest masters, translated by top-flight scholars in the field, with footnotes giving cultural and personal context to many offerings.   A special feature is the inclusion of more than one translation for many of the poems.  Grouping translations of the same poem together demonstrates how the attitude, era, and personality of the translator can greatly effect the final product and the reader’s experience. 

 

not equal blue   Below, you’ll find several translations of two haiku by Kobayashi Issa. (David G. Lanoue’s name will be familiar to our visitors, as his translations appear here regularly, especially in the SideBar’s “Tea Party with Issa”.  Lanoue’s translations are from his Issa website; the other translations in this posting are from The Classic Tradition of Haiku.)

 


tsuyu no yo wa tsuyu no yo nagara sari nagara

 

 

this world
is a dewdrop world
yes… but…

                              –  David G. Lanoue   

 

 

Life is but the morning dew, bards day;

‘Tis true, indeed, but well-a-day!

                                                       Asataro Miyamori

 

 

The world of dew is, yes, a world of dew, but even so.

                                                                              Hiroaki Sato

 

 

The world of dew

Is a world of dew, and yet

And yet . . .

                                           –  Donald Keene

 

 



ware to kite asobe ya oya no nai suzume not equal black 

 

come and play
with me…
orphan sparrow

                              –  David G. Lanoue

 

 


Oh, won’t some orphan sparrow come and play with me.

                                                                                   –  Max Bickerton

 

 


Come with me,

Let’s play together, swallow

Without a mother

                                          – Donald Keene

 

 

















soap stings my eyes —

an eight-year-old face

flashes in the mirror

           

                                        [Aug. 28, 2004] 

 

one-breath pundit  





    • Speaking of translations, I wonder what the original versions of the books of the Bible actually said.   [see God’s Secretaries]  Whether it originated in Texas or Canada, or is merely a myth, I’ve always loved the sublime ignorance in the quote “If English is good enough for Jesus, then it’s good enough for me!
    • Here’s my first sighting of the Massachsetts press calling the widespread refusals to take cases by “bar advocates” a “boycott” (rather than a strike or some strange coincidence) — Lawyer boycott sets wanted man free, Fitchburg Sentinel, by Matt O’Brien, Aug. 28, 2004.

      • National Law Journal has published a Letter to the Editor on the boycott, written by your Editor. [Aug. 30, 2004, subscrp. req’d, but here’s my draft]

    • My town Schenectady is back in the news:  Andre Gainey, who was arrested for displaying a porno video from his Mercedes, was sentenced to three weekends in jail.  Gainey, who was found to have a suspended license, also signed the wrong name on the fingerprint card.   A light sentence for the “Chocolate Foam” man

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