Dyslexic tales · Masters tales

Translation and… creative writing

28th November 2012 (yes I know this is very late – in my defence though I’ve been up to my eyeballs in toys as my actual job is a toymaker! Feeling very much like a christmas elf right at the moment. An overworked underpaid elf, but an elf none the less.)

Yep you heard right translation and creative writing. For any of you dyslexic’s out there you are probably in the dark – I was. The one thought going through my head, apart from the fact I should have had a larger hot chocolate in the cafe, was what has translation got to do with creative writing?

Well it turns out quite a bit…. Every poem that is written from the original language must be translated (duh – stating the obvious), but it must be done sensitively. For example this is a well-known poem from Conwy in Wales in Welsh:

Y forforwyn ar y traeth,
Crio, gwaeddi’n arw wnaeth.
Ofn y deuai drycin drannoeth;
Yr hin yn oer a rhewi wnaeth.

Not even understanding it you can see that it rhymes and looks good. Essentially it is a poem. Now the translation:

The mermaid on the sea shore,
She cried, she screamed terribly.
There was fear of a storm the following day;
The weather was cold and she froze.

Still a poem? I’m not sure. The mermaid is meant to have been removed from the sea and she dies of exposure when the fishermen won’t put her back. The Welsh version is a beautiful and haunting poem that has been around for hundreds of years. The english translation is not haunting and has no imagery.

This is where the creative writing come in. To use the verbatim translation to create a poem that could be potentially as wonderful as the original. It’s something I never knew existed in writing but it’s also something I want to try…

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