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Translation of Poetic Texts on the Example of John Donne's Poems

By riseagain_ Nov 01, 2014 997 Words

One of the main problems associated with the reproduction of poetry by means of the other language, is the question of its translability and un translability. For example, Wilhelm von Humboldt believed that it is impossible to transmit images, metaphors, comparisons and phonetic tones of one language to the other because of the difference in the expressive means of that languages. Many poets and translators in the area of ​​Eastern Europe, primarily in Ukraine and Russia, followed a different view that each developed national language has sufficient means for the comprehensive transmission of thoughts expressed by another language (K. Chukrvstkyy, Marshak). Another problem of the poetic translation is nonseparability of form and content on the poetry, and the difficulties they represent for the translator, especially of the poetic works, have been discovered. Often the form obtrudes on the interpreter a particular expression, that causes the digression from the original (by A. Petrova). Speaking about the creative individuality of the translator, it can be said that because of the impossibility of a clear understanding of literary works and due to significant differences in the different language systems, the translator has to partially adopt the functions of the author and to repeat somehow the process of creating the work while adapting it to the new language environment. The basic techniques of literary translation of the poetry include the classic, romantic and realistic types of translation. But the most topial remains is the binary pair "free - literal" translation. Goncharenko also identifies three types of translation of lyric works: poetic, versicular and philological. The main criteria used to determine the equivalence of the translation is its correspondence to the original structure, and the criteria used to determine the adequacy is the degree of the correspondence to the aim of the original. Such scholars as Ivanov, A. Sandauer ,and writer O. Tolstoy emphasized the importance of reproduction of the original impression, while Gumilev and I. Alekseeva, placed much importance to the transfer of formal aspects of the poem. For the sufficient transfer of meaning of the original, the translator has to make various rearrangements and transfigurations of the semantic elements, that are called the translation transformations. It is important to note that the structural adequacy of the text is achieved through following its metre and rhyme; the semantic one – by using lexico-semantic transformations; and the pragmatic one by using the stylistic transformations. The peculiarity of the use of the translation transformations in the poetic work is the need to consider all the elements in their complex relationships, and inability to achieve the equivalence of the translation of the poem at all levels. John Donne is one of the brightest representatives of the "metaphysical school" ,of the English baroque and mannerism. His poetry does not really fit into the framework of the Renaissance. In his early and mature lyrics Donne is closely associated with mannerism, a style of art and literature that emerged during the crisis of the Renaissance – the Donn’s poetics is characterized by the disharmonious feeling of the weakness of the world, reflection, contrasts. In his poems he makes extensive use of metaphor-conceit (kind of trope, based on the association by similarity or by analogy, when the poet is interested in the relationship between objects and associations that arise when comparing them). Also the main features of the poetics of John Donne are as follows. His poetry was characterized by simple style; He was an innovator, as he departed from Petrarchistic canon of the sonnet, decanonized the meter and the rhyme. He actively used the enjambment, which added the liveliness to the language of his poetry. His work is characterized by deep analysis, constant search, attempts to get to the bottom. Later he starts using quatrain, konchetti, writes poems with complex stanzas. The evolution of the verbalization of the topic of love in the works of John Donne is important in his works. His book "Songs and Sonnets".comprises three groups of poems: Libertinistic, Antipetrarkian and "Philosophical", each of which is marked by a different concept of love. Thus, the first group of poems protects "free love". In the second group Donne creates its own version of the Petrarkism – love is seen as an ideal deity, and the betrayal is treated as the apostasy from the true God. The third group is related to a popular tradition in the Renaissance Neo-Platonism. Love is seen as a harmonious unity of the spiritual and sensual. The translations of the selected works of John Donne to Russian, namely «The Apparition» and «A Valediction: forbidding mourning», analyzed were made by carried G. Kruzhkov and J. Brodsky, and it was found that Kruzhkov adds to the translations more of his own style, and Brodsky, as one of the metaphysical poets, tries to convey the style of Donn in his translations. Among the translations of the poem «The Apparition», the work of Brodsky was found to be more successful. He often uses the concretization, sometimes – omission and addition, when it corresponds to the spirit of the original. He almost never uses transposition. In the translation, made by Kruzhkov, the greater level of the expressivity and emotionality, than in the Donne’s poem, is observed. You can see a large number of additions and omissions, transpositions, and lexical substitutions. Having analyzed the translations of «A Valediction: forbidding mourning», we came to the conclusion that neither Brodsky, nor Kruzhkov could not reach the sufficient level of the adequacy in the translation. Brodsky could not express some features of the Donne's poetics, for example he did not adhere to the accuracy of the images of mathematical character; also in his translation he misses some metaphors. In the translation Brodsky uses such translation transformations as generalization, synonymous substitutions, concretization. In the translation of Kruzhkov we can also see that occasionally he interprets the original in its own way. In the text of this translation Kruzhkov also uses a large number of omissions and additions, substitutions, concretization, and antonymous translations.

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