Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Homophonic Translation Contest

I have been reading old issues of Circumference over the past week. Every issue contains a homophonic translation section in which multiple authors try to reproduce the sounds of a poem in another language, completely ignoring the meaning of the original. 

So Zukofskys’s translates Catullus's

   Nulli se dicit mulier mea nubere malle
   quam mihi, non si se Iuppiter ipse petat.
   dicit: sed mulier cupido quod dicit amanti
   in vento et rapida scribere oportet aqua.


   Newly say dickered my love air my own would marry me all
   whom but me, none see say Jupiter if she petted.
   Dickered: said my love air could be o could dickered a man too
   in wind o wet rapid a scribble reported in water.

Other examples abound online. There are some excellent homophonic translations of English nursery rhymes into French - see "Un petit d'un petit / S'étonne aux Halles."

So, I thought I would host a contest for homophonic translation. Translate the text below, sound for sound. It can be sense or non-sense or something in between. Send it to matthewdlandrum at gmail dot com by October 15. Winner gets a copy of "The Poetics of Translation" by Willis Barnstone.

The text: 

    Persicos odi, puer, apparatus;
    displicent nexae philyra coronae;
    mitte sectari rosa quo locorum
        sera moretur.
    Simplici myrto nihil adlabores
    sedulus curo; neque te ministrum
    dedecet myrtus neque me sub arta
        vite bibentem.

Fair translating,


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