Sunday, October 16, 2011

Homophonic Translation Contest - Winners

I've received some excellent entries to my homophonic translation contest. Entrants translated, sound for sound rather than sense for sense, a Latin poem by Horace. It was interesting to see how translators worked in different ways with the same material. I was torn between two entries so am calling the contest a tie between Laura Vorgias and Katharina Müller. Both winners will receive a copy of Willis Barnstone's "The Poetics of Translation."

Horaces original 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.

Laura Vorgias' flapper/jazz translation. The narrative voice of a despondent libertine searching for identity is nicely maintained as is the telegraph style of language:

  Percy, couz oh dear, a pair of twos;
  This place ain’t nice and full of Corona;
  Might have sent for eras ago local or
  By motor.

  Simply I mirror tonight hell, and labors
  Are dully cured; next to my mystery
  The descent to minor next, myself, and to
  Vie to give in to them.

Katharina Müller's German homophonic translation captures the sounds of Horace in a more surreal way (see literal version below):

  Per se kost' des - puh äh - ein Apparat unn
  des bitzelt! Nix viel üwwerkoche, ne?
  Mit de Sekretärin unn rosa Kohl, locker rum
  sehr am Ohr nur.

  Sie blitze! Unn mer tobe nie hier, alla Boris?
  Seh du - koch ne Ente mindestens um
  de Dienstzeit. Mer tuns net, gell, mer suche aach do
  wie de Bieberturm.

  (Per se it costs - phew, er - a machine and
  it tickles! Don't let it boil over too much
  With the secretary and pink cabbage, loosely hanging
  but close to the ear.

  They're flashing! And we are never romping here, so Boris?
  Look - cook a duck at least for
  working hours. We don't do it, you know, we are looking for it there
  like the beaver tower).

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