jjhunter: Drawing of human JJ in ink tinted with blue watercolor; woman wearing glasses with arched eyebrows (JJ inked)
jjhunter ([personal profile] jjhunter) wrote in [community profile] forkedtongues2012-02-20 01:29 pm

Rec: Meta About Translating Japanese Poetry @ POETREE

Meta: translating Japanese by [profile] lhhammer @ [community profile] poetree
Aside from the usual translation problem of how words do not match one-to-one across languages, but rather overlap in meaning and tenor and connotation, the biggest difficulty with Japanese is that it's what linguists call a pro-drop language. That is, any information that a listener can understand from context can and usually will be omitted. The attitude is something like, If you have enough context to understand who a pronoun refers to, why bother with the pronoun? In everyday conversation or an extended prose passage, this generally isn't hard to deal with as there's a lot of context, but in a short, detached poem, the lacunae can be hard to fill, leaving you to ponder whether a verb describes the action of "I," "you," "us," or some other person or people.


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Also, for those who missed [personal profile] goneahead's fabulous week as POETREE Host focusing on 'International Poetry' earlier this month, [personal profile] alee_grrl has put together an excellent roundup post.

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