Poetry Translation: Critical Analysis of “God’s Patience” Based on Vahid’s Model Persian translation jobs
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Poetry Translation: Critical Analysis of “God’s Patience” Based on Vahid’s Model


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Abstract

Given the importance of the text's formal aspects, in addition to its content, poetry presents special challenges to translators. Poetry has its own distinctive features that cannot be rendered into another language easily. The translation of poetry into poetry entails preserving the rhyme, figurative language and the general tone of the original. In this paper, a Persian poetry by contemporary Iranian poet, Moieni kermanshahi, and its English translation by Vahid, D.H(2006) will be analyzed in terms of a product-oriented model for translation analysis by Vahid, D. H. (2008) ((Journal of language & Translation9-1, March 2008, 7-40)) to assess the English translation at textual and extra-textual levels.

1. Introduction

Almost all translation theorists have defined translation as rendering the exact message from source language (L1) into an acceptable form in the second or target language (L2) (Larson, 1984). In general, there are a lot of methods in translating a text, but not all of them are appropriate to use in translating a poem. Andre Lafevere (in Bassnett-McGuire, 1980: 81-82) noted seven methods adopted by English translators in translating Catullus's poems: phonemic translation, literal translation, metrical translation, verse-to-prose translation, rhymed translation, free verse translation, and interpretation.

Phonemic translation attempts to recreate the sounds of the source language (SL) in the target language (TL). And at the same time the translator tries to transfer the meaning. According to Lafevere, in general the result sounds awkward and sometimes leaves some parts of the original meaning behind.

Literal translation means word-for-word translation. This method will not be able to transfer the original meaning; while the phrase and sentence structures tend to fall by the wayside in the TL.

The metrical translation emphasizes the reproduction of the original meter into the TL. And because each language has its own specific stressing and pronunciation system, this method will result in the inappropriate translation in terms of meaning and structure.

Verse-to-prose translation has also some weaknesses. The outstanding weakness is the loss of the beauty of the original poem.

The next method is rhymed translation which emphasizes the transferring of the rhyme of the original poem into the translation in TL. The result will be appropriate physically but tend to be semantically inappropriate.

The sixth method is free verse translation. With this method the translator may be able to get the accurate equivalents in the TL with a sound literary value of the result. On the other hand, the rhyme and meter tend to be ignored. So, physically the result is different from the original, but semantically it seems the same.

The last method noted by Lafevere is interpretation. According to him there are two types: version and imitation. A version of a poem in the TL will semantically be exactly the same with the original, but physically totally different. Further, an imitation is exactly a different poem, but the title, topic, and starting point are the same with the original poem.

The present study will benefit from the practical model of Vahid, D.H. (2008) for translation analysis and assessment of poetic discourse as its theoretical framework.

2. Methodology

Materials:

‘God`s Patience’ by Moeini Kermanshahi

Its English Translation by Vahid,D.H(2006 )

Procedure:

The original poem with its corresponding translation has been read carefully.

The two versions have been compared and contrasted at both textual and extra-textual levels. Here, the textual analysis involves mainly the analysis of music (alliteration (consonance, assonance) and rhyme) and tropes; and the extra-textual analysis includes mostly the consideration of cultural implications.

The obtained data have been formulated in the practical model of poetry translation by Vahid (2008).

3. Data Analysis

 3.1. Textual Level

 3.1.1. Music

Repetition of a sound, syllable, word, phrase, line, stanza, or metrical pattern is a basic unifying device in all poetry. It may reinforce, supplement, or even substitute for meter, the other chief controlling factor in the arrangement of words into poetry.

Alliteration is the repetition of the same consonant sounds in a sequence of words, usually at the beginning of a word or stressed syllable .It is based on the sounds of letters, rather than the spelling of words; for example, "kill" and "computer" alliterate, but "computer" and "cease" do not. Alliteration not only intensifies ideas by emphasizing key words, but also has an important role in making the sound pattern of the poetry. So it should be taken into consideration while translating poetry.

Different cases of alliteration, namely, assonance and consonance in the original poem and its corresponding English translation are as follows:

 1st Stanza: The vowel /aa/ is a case of assonance in words با (/baa/), جهان (/jahaan/), را (/raa/) and جای (/jaay/), خدا (/khoda/), دارد (/daarad/). The vowel /u/ is too a case of assonance in words او (/u/), بودم (/budam/).There are some cases of alliteration as consonance in Persian poem; /z/ in زشتی (/zeshti/), زیبایی (/zibaii/) and /m/ in مخلوق (/maakhluq/), می دیدم (/mididam/).

In English translation /cr/ in cruelty and creatures is the case of consonance. There is no instance of assonance in the translated texts.

2nd Stanza: The consonance /n/ in نعره (/na`re/), نخستین (/nokhostin/) is the case of consonance in the second stanza. The repetition of the vowel /aa/ in the wordsرا (/raa/), مستانه (/mastaane/( and صدها (/sadhaa/), همسایه (/hamsaaye/( andجای   (/jaay/),دارد   (/daarad/) and خدا (/khodaa/( and also the vowel of /u:/ in بودم (/budam/) and او (/u/) as assonance can be seen in this stanza.

In corresponding English translation there are some cases of consonance; /h/ in hungry, hundreds, /d/ in deep, darkening and /s/ in silence and selfless.

3rd Stanza: The alliteration of /m/ is obvious in می کردم (/mikardam/),مستانه (/mastane/).The vowel of /aa/ is a case of assonance in words واژگون (/vaajgoon/),را (/raa/),آسمان (/aasmaan/) and لرزان (/larzaan/), عریان (/oryaan/) and جای (/jaay/),دارد (/daarad/), خدا (/khodaa/). The vowel /u/ is another case of assonance in words بودم (/budam/) and او (/u/).

In the third stanza of corresponding English translation there is no instance of alliteration.

4th Stanza: /K/ in كو به كو (/ku be ku/) is a case of consonance in the 4th stanza .The vowel of /aa/ is repeated in the words تنها (/tanhaa/), خاطر (/khaater/), برای (/baraaye/) and خدا (/khodaa/),جای   (/jaaye/), دارد (/daarad/), and /u/ in بودم (/budam/) and او (/u/) as assonance in this stanza.

In the corresponding English translation there are some cases of consonance and some cases of assonance as follows: /w/ in words one, wondering, would and /m/ in make and mince.

5th Stanza: In the fifth stanza of the source text,there are some cases of consonance,including : /kh/ in خود (/khod/),خود (/khod/) and /t/ in تمام (/tamam/), تماشاي (/tamashaye/),تاب (/tab/) and some cases of assonance, including ; the vowel /aa/ in دارد   (/daarad/), خدا (/khodaa/),چرا (/cheraa/),and را (/raa/)  دارد  (/daarad ).

There is a case of assonance in the corresponding English translation, as follows: the vowel /ai/ in my, I and why.

6th Stanza: in the last stanza of the original poem, there are some cases of assonance: the vowel /u/ in بودم (/budam/) and او (/u/), the vowel /aa/ in جاهل (/jaahel/), با (/baa/).

There is no case of consonance and assonance in the corresponding English translation. Table 1 shows the identified cases of alliteration in source and target texts:

Table 1. Textual Analysis: Alliteration in Source and Target Text.

Stanza

Type of alliteration

English

Persian

No. of

cases in English

No. of cases

in Persian

 

 

1

 

 

 

Assonance

 

 

--

 

جهان/ را/با

دارد/خدا/جای

بودم/او

 

0

 

8

 

Consonance

 

cruelty / creatures

 

 

زشتی/زیبایی

مخلوق/می دیدم

 

 

2

 

 

4

 

 

 

 

2

 

 

Assonance

 

 

 

--

 

را/مستانه/

صدها/همسایه/

جای/دارد/خدا/

بودم/او

 

 

0

 

 

 

9

 

 

Consonance

 

 

 

hungry / hundreds

deep / darkening

silence / selfless

 

 

نعره/نخستین

 

6

 

2

 

 

 

 

3

 

 

Assonance

 

 

 

--

 

واژگون/را/آسمان/

لرزان/عریان/

جای/ دارد/خدا/

بودم/او

 

 

 

0

 

 

10

 

Consonance

 

 

--

 

مستانه/مي­كردم

 

0

 

2

 

 

 

4

 

 

Assonance

 

 

 

 

--

 

تنها/خاطر/برای

/جای/دارد/خدا/

بودم/او

 

 

 

0

 

 

8

 

Consonance

 

One / wandering / would

make / mince

 

 

كو به كو

 

 

5

 

2

 

 

5

 

Assonance

 

 

my / I / why

 

 

را/دارد

چرا/دارد/خدا

 

 

3

 

 

5

 

Consonance

 

 

--

 

 

خود/خود

تمام/تماشاي/تاب

 

 

0

 

5

 

 

6

 

Assonance

 

 

--

 

 

بودم/او

جاهل / با

 

 

0

 

4

 

Consonance

 

 

 

--

 

 

--

 

0

 

0

 

3.1.2. Rhyme

Perhaps the most obvious figure (recurring pattern) of sound in poetry is rhyme. Rhyme is the repetition of the last stressed vowel sound and all the sounds that follow it in two or more words.

The first stanza of the original poem and its corresponding English translation are rhymed. Examples are as follows: بودم/می دیدم/می کردم and بي­وجدان/جهان/همان in the source text .the words Oppress / manliness/ugliness in translated text are rhymed.

In the second stanza of the Persian version, some lines are rhymed, i.e.

بودم/می دیدم/می کردم, نوش/خاموش, مستانه/پیمانه and in the English translation of this part neighborhood/falsehood/stood, beholding/darkening, Who/do,patience /silence are rhymed.

In the third stanza of the source text the rhyming terms are بودم/می دیدم/می کردم and رنگین/زمین, and آسمان/لرزان/عریان. The rhyming terms of the corresponding translated text are nakedness/careless/motionless.

The rhyming terms existing in the fourth stanza of Persian poem are بودم /می کردم, and بی سامان/هزاران.In English version,the words were/there/ here, wandering /roaming, sake/make.

In the fifth stanza of the source text there are two rhyming terms, namely, چرا/ را. The rhyming terms in the corresponding English translation are the words case/face/race and why/my.

The last stanza of the Persian poem contains بودم /می کردم and فرزانه/عادلانه as rhyme and in the target text, the words might/night and possess/darkness produce the same sound. Table 2 demonstrates rhyming terms of Persian poem and its corresponding translated text.

Table 2. Rhyme Scheme in Source and Target Texts.

Stanza

English

Persian

No. of rhymed terms in English

No. of rhymed terms in Persian

 

1

 

Oppress / manliness / ugliness

 

بودم/می دیدم/می کردم

بي وجدان/جهان/همان

 

 

3

 

6

 

2

 

Neighborhood / falsehood / stood

Beholding / darkening

Who / do

Patience / silence

بودم/می دیدم/می کردم

نوش/خاموش

مستانه/پیمانه

 

9

 

7

 

3

Nakedness / careless / motionless

 

بودم/می دیدم/می کردم

رنگین/زمین

لرزان/عریان/آسمان

 

3

 

8

 

4

there / here / were

Wandering / roaming

Sake / make

 

 

بودم /می کردم

بی سامان/هزاران

 

 

7

 

4

 

5

Case / face / race

Why / my

 

 

چرا/ را

 

5

 

2

 

6

 

 

Might / night

Possess / darkness

بودم /می کردم

فرزانه/عادلانه

 

4

 

4

3.1.3.Tropes

1st Stanza: The following tropes have been detected in this stanza: the allusion of ‘the first cruelty creatures do to murdering of Adam`s son (Abel by Cane), Paradox of (beauty and ugliness) and metonymy of ‘’cruelty’’ as ‘’ murdering of Adam`s son ‘’ and ‘’creature of slight manliness’’ as Cane.

On the whole, the translation of this stanza is literal-semantic and communicative. The lexis used here is simple, familiar, with both abstract and concrete terms (abstract: cruelty, beauty, ugliness, patience; and concrete: world, creatures).

2nd stanza: no trope has been detected in the second stanza.

The translation of this stanza is literal-semantic and communicative. The words used here are simple, familiar, with both abstract and concrete terms (abstract; patience, joy; and concrete: cup).

3rd Stanza: the only trope existing in this stanza is the paradox of (nakedness and dressed).

The type of translation used in this stanza is literal-semantic and communicative translation. Here, the words used are simple, familiar, with both abstract and concrete terms (abstract; patience, Lord; and concrete: earth).

4th Stanza: the allusion of lover and beloved to Leili and Majnoon has been detected as trope in this stanza.

The translation of this stanza is literal-semantic and communicative. The words used here are simple, familiar, and mostly abstract.

5th Stanza: no trope has been detected in this stanza.

The words used here are simple and familiar and the translation of this stanza is literal-semantic and communicative.

6th Stanza: The only trope existing in this stanza is the paradox of (darkness and light).

The translation of this stanza is literal-semantic and communicative. The words used here are simple, familiar, and mostly abstract.

3.2. Extra-textual Analysis

In the previous section, the ST and TT were examined at textual level and in this part, both TT and ST will be examined in terms of extra-textual level whose main focus is the cultural aspect of the text.

According to Javaherian (1999), if it is accepted that one of the purpose of literary translation is to make the reader be acquainted with other nation`s culture in other parts of the world, then translation of the cultural values and concept of the literary work becomes inevitable.

This poem of Moeini Kermanshahi investigated in this study is not to a large extent culture-bound .The only example of culture specificity is the story of ‘Leili and Majnun’ which is translated literal-semantically and communicatively, so the reader distinguishes the concept intended by the poet.

In general, the poet intends to show the injustice existing in the society and emphasizes the Great Might and Patience of God .This fact that no one can endure the situation of the society except God is artistically presented in this poetry. The literal-semantic translation of the poem renders these entire concepts and the TT has the perfect coherence in the sense of incorporating the TL readers` knowledge of the world and the knowledge presented in the source text at the extra-textual level.

4. Result and Conclusion

In the present study, the poem titled ‘God`s Patience’ by Moeini Kermanshahi and its English translation by Dr. H. Vahid Dastjerdi have been analyzed both at the textual and extra – textual levels according to Vahid`s Model (2008).

Results of analyzing the text at textual level are as follows:

Forty-four, fifteen and thirty-one cases of assonance, consonance and rhyme respectively have been found in the Persian poem while in the translation three, thirteen, and thirty-one cases of the corresponding phonaesthetic devices have been identified. Therefore, it is concluded that the original is more alliterative and musical than the translation. Except in terms of assonance, translator has done really well in rendering the musical devices existing in the original text into English. Especially, the equal number of rhyming terms in the source text and target text is considered as a valuable effort of the translator in rendering this poem into English. The above data obtained from the analysis concerning the music of the text is shown in the Figure 1.

Figure 1: Data obtained from the analysis concerning the music of the text

Data obtained from the analysis concerning the music of the text

The tone of the text is admonitory, serious which has been preserved in the corresponding translation. The message of the poem is to emphasis the great power of God and the fact that no one can be instead of Him. The poet was intended to show the injustice existing in the society.

Then, the poem was analyzed at the extra-textual level. By the literal-semantic translation of Moeini Kermanshahi `s poem, the TT has a perfect coherence at extra-textual level and in terms of incorporating the TL readers` knowledge of the world and the knowledge presented in the source.

As for the final words, the aesthetic values, according to Newmark (1981: 65) are dependent on the structure (or poetic structure), metaphor, and sound. Poetic structure includes the plan of the original poem as a whole, the shape and the balance of individual sentences in each line. Metaphor is related to visual images created with combinations of words, which may also evoke sound, touch, smell, and taste. While sound is anything connected with sound cultivation including rhyme, rhythm, assonance, onomatopoeia, etc. A translator cannot ignore any of them although he may order them depending on the nature of the poem translated.

Rhyme scheme, music, lexis, figures and massage of the text contribute to the logical impact of the translated text.

The original poem and its corresponding English translation are presented in the Appendix 1.

Acknowledgement

I wish to acknowledge the support of Dr. H. Vahid Dastjerdi for supervising the present study.

References

Bassnett-McGuire. (1980). Translation Studies. NY: Mathuen & Co. Ltd.

Larson, M. (1984). Meaning-based translation: A Guide to Cross-Language Equivalence. New York, & London: University press of America.

Newmark, Peter. (1981). Approaches to Translation. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Vahid,D.H. (2006).East of Sophia.Qom:Asarian Publications.

Vahid, D. H. & Hakimshafaaii, H. & Jannesaari, Z. (2008). Translation of   Poetry: Towards a Practical Model for Translation Analysis and Assessment of Poetic Discourse. Journal of Language and Translation, 9(1) 7-40.

Appendix 1.

"صبر خدا"

عجب صبري خدا دارد ! اگر من جاي او بودم

همان يك لحظه­ي اوّل

 كه ظلم را مي ديديم از مخلوق بي­وجدان

 جهان را با همه زيبايي و زشتي

 به روي يكديگر ويرانه مي­كردم

عجب صبري خدا دارد ! اگر من جاي او بودم

كه در همسايه ي صدها گرسنه

 چند بزمي ، گرم عيش و نوش مي ديدم

 نخستين نعره­ي مستانه را خاموش

 آن دم بر لب پيمانه مي­كردم

عجب صبري خدا دارد ! اگر من جاي او بودم

كه مي ديدم يكي عريان و لرزان

 ديگري پوشيده از صد جامه رنگين

زمين و آسمان را واژگون مستانه مي كردم

عجب صبري خدا دارد ! اگر من جاي او بودم

براي خاطر تنها يكي مجنون صحراگرد بي سامان

هزاران ليلي نازآفرين را

 كوبه كو آواره و ديوانه مي­كردم

عجب صبري خدا دارد !

چرا من باشم او؟

همان بهتر كه او در جاي خود بنشسته و

 تاب تماشاي تمام زشتكاريهاي

 اين مخلوق را دارد،

و گرنه من به جاي او چو بودم

يك نفس كي عادلانه سازشي با جاهل و فرزانه مي­كردم؟

God`s Patience

What patience has my Lord!

If I were Him,

The very first moment I heard of men who oppress,

And cruelty creatures do, of slight manliness,

Would I ruin the world of much beauty and ugliness.

What patience has my Lord!

If I were Him,

Beholding hungry hundreds of men in the neighbourhood,

But of joy full a number, deep in their darkening falsehood,

Would I silence roar, selfless, at the brink of cup, which stood!

What patience has my Lord!

If I were Him,

Beholding one group in their nakedness,

Dressed, at the moment are some, but totally careless,

Would I out of cross earth & heaven render motionless!

What patience has my Lord!

If I were Him,

Merely for the sake of homeless, one wandering lover,

Would I insane and roaming, here and there,

Thousands of beloveds make, with mince air.

What patience has my Lord!

Why should I manage His case?

Better for Him to sit and with trouble face,

Behold and watch the misdeed of human race.

If I were Him,

For a moment, how could I possess that might,

To put up justly with holders of darkness and light!





Published - July 2010









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