TRANSLATING POETRY. The previous century has become familiar with a new concept known as globalization.

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1 KIVILCIM SUBAŞI TRANSLATING POETRY The previous century has become familiar with a new concept known as globalization. Webster s New Collegiate Dictionary defines the verb to globalize as to make worldwide in scope and application. The meaning of globalization suggests the idea of cross-border relations between countries. It is the process of spreading various products and experiences to people at all corners of the earth and therefore being worldwide. There are certain discussions made about the meaning of the term to globalize. As opposed to some ideas that support that globalization is to create one stereotypical world, actually what is referred to with the term is to assemble different countries through social, economic and scientific relations. The aim of this paper is to relate the social aspect of globalization to literary translation since literary works reflect the history of a country as well as the creativity and the state of mind of its author. One way of forming a relation between countries and enabling them to learn about each other and their culture is reading their literary works. Translation provides people the opportunity to be introduced to other countries literatures. Through translation, a work is begun to be known and discussed worldwide. Translation can be defined as the transference of the meaning of a work in the source language into target language. The basic problem in translating a work is to decide whether one should translate word for word or should try to give the closest meaning to the source language. Direct translation is usually done in scientific works in which certain terminology is used. Since the terminology used in these texts refer to the same concept all over the world, the translator has one alternative to locate a word in the target language. In contrast, literary works require interpretation in order to be translated. This suggests that the translator should use words that do not cause the original work to be taken away from its meaning in the source language. In other

2 2 words, the translator should reflect the idea, meaning and the theme of the original work in the target language. Among literary works, it is very difficult to translate poetry, because as the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge states, poetry is the best words in the best order. (qtd. in Bozkurt 10) He suggests in his Biographia Literaria that it is sometimes hard to interpret the poems even in the source language. He supports his idea as follows: In poetry, in which every line, every phrase, may pass the ordeal of deliberation and deliberate choice, it is possible, and barely possible, to attain that ultimatum which I have ventured to propose as the infallible test of a blameless style; it is untranslatableness in words of the same language without injury to the meaning. (qtd. in Bozkurt 11) Ezra Pound, in his work How to Read describes three aspects of the language of poetry as music (melopoeia), imagistic quality (phanopoeia) and the dance of the intellect among words which is the essence of poetry (logopoeia). These aspects of poetry play an important role while translating a poem. In this paper, different poems written in Turkish and English are going to be analyzed together with their translations in the two languages. The difficulties that arise in translating poems will be discussed with respect to the relationship between form and content. There are two types of poetry: Fixed poetic form and free-verse. In the process of translating the poems with fixed poetic form, structural divergences might occur due to the different syntactic orders of the two languages. This would prevent the reader from being faithful to the original, since the structure is difficult to maintain in translation. The meaning of the poem might be lost if the structure is tried to be maintained. On the contrary, meaning is kept the same when literary translation is done, but this results with the change in the structure of the poem. In a fixed poetic form, words are combined with specific rhythms and meter(the pattern of beats and stresses) and rhyme (the repetition of sounds at the end of the word of each line). To

3 3 show the problem of translating a poem with fixed poetic form, I will analyze Shakespearean Sonnet and İlahi, which is a form of Turkish Folk Literature. A sonnet is a fourteen line lyric poem with rhyme and meter. The Shakespearean Sonnet is divided into four parts. The three four-line stanzas that are known as quatrains are followed by a couplet which is composed of two lines. In each quatrain, ideas and feelings of the speaker are given and the couplet is usually the commentary on the ideas mentioned in the previous twelve lines. The rhyme scheme of the Shakespearean Sonnet is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG and the meter is usually iambic pentameter. 30 When to the sessions of sweet silent thought I summon up remembrance of things past I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought, And with old woes new wail my dear time s waste: Then can I drown an eye (unused to flow) For precious friends hid in deaths dateless night, And weep a fresh love s long since cancelled woe, And moan th expense of many a vanished sight: Then can I grieve at grievances foregone, And heavily from woe to woe tell o er The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan, Which I new pay as if not paid before. But if the while I think on thee, dear friend, All loses are restored and sorrows end. W.Shakespeare A B A B C D C D E F E F G G The persona has the mood of contemplation and silence throughout the sonnet. This is reflected in the poem through the alliteration of s sounds which indicates that he wants to keep the silence while thinking of his old friends. The alliteration of w sounds gives the idea of grief. Other than this, the assonance of the o sound denotes the persona s longing for his friends.

4 4 30 Sessizce, tatlı düşüncelere daldığımda zaman zaman, Geçmiş günün anılarını bir bir çağırdığımda yanıma, Arayıp bulamadığım ne çok şey varmış görürüm de o an, Eski acılarla, yeniden yanarım zamanın aldıklarına. Ölümün sonsuz gecesinde gömülü candan dostlara, Döktüğü gözyaşında boğulur,sellerce alışmamış gözlerim; Aşkın çoktan geride kalmış acısına yanarken bir daha, Yok olup gitmiş nice insanın ardından yine ağlarım. Sindire sindire bir acıdan öteki acıya geçerken, Geçmişte kaldı,dediğim hüzünlerle hüzünlenirim; Sanki hiç yakılmamış gibi, kaçıncı ağıtı yakarken, Sanki hiç ödenmemiş nice buruk hesaplar öderim. Ama sevgili dost, o an seni düşünürsem eğer, Kayıplarım hep gelir, acılarım sona erer. (Translated by Bülent Bozkurt) A B A B C D C D E F E F G G As it is seen in the translation of the sonnet, the translator could not follow the iambic pentameter, but the was attentive to keep the rhyme scheme of the sonnet the same. The translator reflects the meaning of the poem in the source language while the mood of the sonnet could not be reflected as strong as the original work as there is no alliteration of the s which is a key sound of the mood of the entire sonnet. Instead, there is the assonance of the a sound that gives the idea of lament. To see how this change occurs in translations of Turkish poetry, we can examine a folk poem from Minstrel Literature. Following is an ilahi, a form of Dervish Poetry, that emerged in the 11 th and the 12 th centuries. It sets out mystical views and ideas and divine wisdom. In Dervish poetry, the bard opposes the idea of fanaticism in religion and expresses his love of God and God s greatness and power regardless of any particular religious sect. According to the minstrels, the only real being is God and all the others are his images. All beings have existed through a divine reflection, thus, each being holds the characteristics of God known as the absolute beauty or the

5 5 absolute perfection. Ilahi is a form that is usually written in quatrains or couplets. The following İlahi by Yunus Emre originally consists of five quatrains, however, I will analyze only two of them. İLAHİ Aşkın aldı benden beni Bana seni gerek seni Ben yanarım dün ü günü Bana seni gerek seni Ne varlığa sevinirim Ne yokluğa yerinirim Aşkın ile avunurum Bana seni gerek seni İLAHİ Your love made me insane I am neither happy for your existence Only you is who I need Nor I am sorry for your nonexistence I cry for yesterday I console myself with your love Only you is who I need Only you is who I need Yunus Emre When we compare the two versions of the poem, we see that the original poem is written in 8(4+4) syllabic meter and it uses half rhyme as well as repetition of words and refrain which are some of the characteristics of Turkish folk poetry. Conversely, the translation of the poem does not have a specific meter and its rhyme scheme does not have an order. The original work was composed in the 13 th century therefore the words in each line were put in order according to the grammatical structure of the time. The translator tried to transfer the words that are used in daily language that exist in the original poem so as to make the reader get the same meaning from its translation. Nevertheless, the usage of the Turkish language could not be represented in the translated version of the poem. Although Yunus Emre s poem has a fixed form with its rhyme and meter, it changed into free-verse in the target language and its poetic tone and rhythm formed with the usage of metaphors and images could not be reflected in English. The analysis of the sonnet and ilahi show that it is very difficult to represent the poetic structure and tone of a work in a different language.

6 6 Free verse is a form which does not follow a certain rhyme or meter, but it captures a certain rhythm. Although the translation of free-verse poetry does not necessitate to follow the rhyme and meter of the work, it requires a literary translation which can give more liberties to the translator in his interpretation of the words. Like the fixed poetic form, the selection of the words is important in the translation of freeverse poetry. The meaning has to be kept the same in order to enable the readers who speak different languages get the same idea from the translation of a poem. Following is a free-verse poem by William Butler Yeats: A COAT I made my song a coat Covered with embroideries Out of old mythologies From heel to throat; But the fools caught it, Wore it in the world s eyes As though they d wrought it. Song, let them take it, For there s more enterprise In walking naked. W.B.Yeats ŞAL Bir şal yaptım şarkımı Bezedim nakışlarla Tepeden tırnağa Eski efsanelerle; İlişti eteğine ahmaklar Giydiler gözü önünde dünyanın Örmüşçesine kendi elleriyle Koyver gitsin be, şarkım, Daha mı önemsiz bir girişim Yürümek böyle çıplak bedenle. (Translated by Talat Saygılı) There is a diversity of words in Turkish that can replace the word coat which is used in the source language. The translator has replaced the title of the poem with a word that means shawl in Turkish. It illustrates that the translator resorts to the way of interpretation while trying to find a correspondence to the word in the target language. The definition of the coat as covered with embroideries suggests that what is referred to with the word coat is not an ordinary object that people put on, but it is something that is used especially by women and has a charming and stunning vision. Hence, the interpretation of the translator preserves the meaning of the poem in the source language. An obvious difference transpires at the end of the poems. The original poem

7 7 ends as a statement. Song, let them take it, / For there s more enterprise / In walking naked. Whereas in its Turkish translation, the ending is in a question form: Daha mı önemsiz bir girişim / Yürümek böyle çıplak bedenle. This causes a change in the tone of the poems. As an example for the parallelism in the lines, William Carlos Wiliams poetry can be given. THE RED WHEELBARROW So much depends Upon KIRMIZI ELARABASI Pek çok şey a red wheel barrow apak tavukların etrafında dolaştığı glazed with rain water ve yağmurun ışıl ışıl parlattığı beside the white chickens W.Carlos Williams kırmızı bir elarabasına bağlı (Translated by Erhan Kuzhan) When the two versions of the same poem are compared, we see that the line order could not be maintained in Turkish because of the grammatical structures of the two languages. Turkish grammar requires the verb to be at the end of the sentence unlike English in which the sentence structure usually follows Subject, Verb and the Object order. In the poem The Red Wheelbarrow, the special feature of the poem is the syntax of the couplets. The first couplet begins as So much depends / upon that suggests the entire order of the poem. The word upon is used in the second line and every second line of each couplet actually depends on the preceding line all through the poem. Besides, the third and the fourth couplets are the modifiers of the red wheelbarrow on which the whole scene depends. In its translation, this stress on the wheelbarrow is lost. The verb to depend and the subject the red wheelbarrow are in the last couplet. Since

8 8 the modifiers are listed before the wheelbarrow, the emphasize is on the modifiers in the translated version of the poem. ÇOK GÜZEL ŞEY Yaşamak güzel şey doğrusu Üstelik hava da güzelse Hele gücün kuvvetin yerindeyse Elin ekmek tutmuşsa bir de Hele tertemizse gönlün Hele kar gibiyse alnın Yani kendinden korkmuyorsan Kimseden korkmuyorsan dünyada Dostuna güveniyorsan İyi günler bekliyorsan hele İyi günlere inanıyorsan Üstelik hava da güzelse Yaşamak güzel şey Çok güzel şey doğrusu. M.Cevdet Anday IT S A NICE THING It s a nice thing to live surely Besides if the weather is fine And if you feel all right And if you re winning your bread And if your soul is pure And if you re clean as snow I mean if you are not afraid of yourself If you are not afraid of anyone in the world If you trust your fellow If you look forward to good times If you believe in good times Besides if the weather is fine It s a nice thing to live A nice thing surely. (Translated by Nesibe Fakılı) The translation of this free-verse poem by Melih Cevdet Anday displays that the poetic features of the original work are lost in the target language. The idioms used in Turkish, such as the one in the third line could not be reflected in its translation. The translation of images and idioms require literary translation, which signifies that they need to be interpreted so as to mean the same in the target language. The poem, originally, has an encouraging tone while emphasizing the joy of life. However, it is more didactic in its English translation owing to the usage of the conditional if. As a result of analyzing the examples of fixed form and free-verse poetry, it can be affirmed that certain difficulties occur in the process of translation. Translating poetry entails a strong knowledge of the two languages in order to overcome the difficulties that arise due to the

9 9 dissimilar syntactic orders of the source and the target language. As Robert Frost says Poetry is what is lost in translation. (Translation Review 1998) No matter if it is a fixed form or a freeverse poetry, the original work is taken away from its poetic features when the translator prefers literary translation and reflects his or her interpretation in the target language. Poetry is a form of literature which is full of feelings, emotions and ideas of its writer. Despite its difficulties in the process of translating, introducing a work to the speakers of other languages is a way of forming a literary interrelation between the countries in the globalized world. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Bozkurt, Bülent R. Çeviri. Ankara: Hacettepe Üniversitesi Yayınları, 1982 Cary, Edmond. Çeviri Nasıl Yapılmalı? İnsan Yayınları, 1996 Edebiyat Çeviri Dergisi. Güz 1994: 30, 41 Edebiyat Çeviri Dergisi. Yaz 1994: 24 Lefevere, Andre. Translation: Rewriting and Manipulation of Literary Fame. New York: Chapman and Hall Inc, 1992 Shakespeare, William. Soneler. Remzi Kitabevi, (25 Apr. 2003)

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