This conversation is closed.

One has to take liberties when translating a poem from another language.

.Another Tang Dynasty Poem
.. (as per my interpretation) ..
Long Night Moon by Zhang Jiuling

The moon waxing over the horizon -
erstwhile sombre night brightened.
Lovers separated by the lingering night,
pining for distant passions to re-ignite.
The candle doused - darkness resists;
covered for warmth - the chill persists.
Lunar reflections of my heart dreary -
to sleep, to wane in dreamy reverie.

... 張九齡 ...
..望月怀远..

海上生明月
天涯共此时
情人怨遥夜
竟夕起相思
灭烛怜光满
披衣觉露滋
不堪盈手赠
还寝梦佳期

  • thumb
    Jul 16 2012: I am not convinced that liberties must be taken. Often what is actually required is a better grasp of the intracacies of the languages involved. Poor or libertarian translations usually embarass their translators later in life.
  • thumb
    Jun 18 2012: Translation is not just conversion of languages but an ACT OF CREATION itself. in that sense you can take the liberty of adding your own flavor to make it right.
  • Jul 16 2012: How do I extend this conversation, anyone?
    • thumb
      Jul 16 2012: Respond to the gifts of sharing you have already received and perhaps ask everyone a question which will expand their answer. Those questions often interest others and they respond to them too.
  • Jul 16 2012: Debra: I agree with you where language is concerned. When it comes to references (of another era or culture) which current readers find hard to comprehend, I think they have to be "modernised" to make them more relevant. For example: the second last verse talks about a "hand gift" - which would be hard to grasp. I could not understand it myself.
  • Jun 19 2012: Yes. Sina, that's what I did with the Tang poem, especially the second last verse which refers to a "hand gift". I did not fully comprehend it - so I interpreted it as a hand-written missive. I took the liberty to translate it as the lonely thoughts of the poet which only the moon understood.