The Linguist

The Linguist 61,3 - June/July 2022

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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@Linguist_CIOL JUNE/JULY The Linguist 23 FEATURES where only a product is possible in the context. A compound նաղաշքար (/nɑʁɑʃk h ɑɾ/; 'painter, artist') is used later in the same poem. Maintaining flair and diversity In addition to these lexical issues, there is the matter of style and form. Armenian has, with very few exceptions, word-final stress and in verse, at least traditionally, uses metres based on the number of syllables rather than stress or syllable weight. Sayat'-Nova employs numerous different metres and stanza shapes, but end-rhymes are a unifying factor. In some poems the same rhyme occurs in all lines; elsewhere there is a rhyme per stanza or a more intricate pattern. How then can the intricacies of the multilingual verses be translated into English without losing too much of the original flair and diversity, all while staying close to the unusual form but without going beyond what is acceptable and expected in English? I suggest we cannot – and need not. Why abandon a form – syllable counting and continuous end-rhyme – that is unusual but not impossible in English? Why abandon multilingualism when English speakers, too, know other languages, even if they use them differently than the courtiers of 18th-century Georgia? A resistant translation, which breaks with the conventions of the target language, results in a text that feels distinctly unfamiliar and requires the reader's attention because it doesn't conform to their expectations. 4 In the context of translating Sayat'-Nova's poetry, this means finding a way of rendering the various loanwords in such a way as to evoke the same effect as they would (or at least might) have had on contemporary listeners, and sticking as closely as possible to the poetic form employed. Given the plethora of borrowings from different origins, this is not a straightforward task. Choosing neighbouring languages, such as French, Cymraeg and Gàidhlig, as analogues for Azeri, Turkish and Farsi would not achieve the desired goal, since few speakers of British English are sufficiently fluent in all of these languages. Even leaving behind geography and looking at the languages spoken most commonly in England besides English, we arrive at an impasse, since the intersection of speakers of Polish, Panjabi and Urdu – the most common second languages according to a 2013 ONS report – is similarly limited. In trying to find a language analogue, perhaps a reductive approach is the only viable solution: all loans could be rendered as French words or phrases. This loses some detail but maintains the 'othering' strategy. A radical strategy An alternative approach is 'materilingual estrangement'. This involves setting the text differently using typographical means to assure comprehensibility but impede reading flow. We might simply set text in italics or bold, or go a step further and have it , turned or set in an unusual . For the translation of Sayat'- Nova's poems, I choose to render Turkish loans as mirrored, Azeri loans as upside- down, and Farsi loans in Fraktur font. The bilingual and materilingual translation strategies give us very different, but equally interesting, results. Poem 26 consists of five quatrains with 16 syllables per verse (see the first two stanzas, right). For both translations I had to increase the syllable count to 20, but maintained the rhyme scheme. These approaches are unusual, perhaps even radical in part, and will not be to everyone's taste. They do, however, allow us to come as close to the original and its intended effects as translation will allow. For a genre such as this – pre-modern romantic court poetry or song – the maintenance of both form and linguistic variety would appear to be the best way of conveying the original in translation. This illustrates that, as translators of less usual material, we have to be bold on occasion. Notes 1 Benjamin, W (1991 [1923]) 'Die Aufgabe des Übersetzers'. In Rexroth, T (ed), Walter Benjamin Kleine Prosa, Baudelaire-Übertragungen, Gesammelte Schriften IV.1, Frankfurt a.M: Suhrkamp, 16 2 Dryden, J (1680) Ovid's Epistles, translated by several hands, London: Printed for Iacob Tonson 3 The Azeri poems are most numerous but least studied; there are also six poems in (fairly poor) Russian. 4 See Venuti, L (1995) The Translator's Invisibility, London: Routledge; and Tsikoudis, E (2019) 'Empowering Words'. In The Linguist, 58,4 Poem 26 (first two stanzas) Թամամ աշխար պըտուտ էկա, չը թողի Հաբաշ, նազա՛նի. Չը տեսա քու դիդարի պես՝ դուն դիփունեն բաշ, նազա՛նի. Թե խամ հաքնիս, թե զար հաքնիս, կու շինիս ղումաշ, նազա՛նի. Էնդու համա քու տեսնողըն ասում է վա՜շ, վա՜շ, նազա՛նի։ Դուն պատվական ջավահիր իս, է՛րնեկ քու առնողին ըլի. Ով կու գըթնե՝ ա՛խ չի քաշի, վա՛յ քու կորցընողին ըլի. Ափսուս, վուր շուտով մեռիլ է, լուսըն քու ծընողին ըլի. Ապրիլ էր, մեկ էլ էր բերի քիզի պես նաղաշ, նազա՛նի։ Bilingual The world en entier I've been around, did not even miss Africa, ma chérie. Yet I did not see the likes of your visage – you're le sommet of all, ma chérie. You can dress en loques, you can dress en lin – for you will make it de soie, ma chérie. And thus it is that whoever does behold you keeps saying 'Woe! Woe!', ma chérie. You are an exquisite joyau – let there be a blessing for the one who holds you. Whoever finds you does not sigh 'Ahh...' – let there be woe for the one who loses you. It is a shame she died so young – let there be light for the one who gave birth to you. For had she lived longer, she would have borne yet another œuvre d'art, ma chérie. Materilingual The world I've been around, did not even miss Africa, . Yet I did not see the likes of your – you're the of all, . You can dress , you can dress – you will make it , . You are an exquisite – let there be a blessing for the one who holds you. Whoever finds you does not sigh 'Ahh…' – let there be woe for the one who loses you. It is a shame she died so young – let there be light for the one who gave birth to you. For had she lived longer, she would have borne yet another . mirrored upside-down entire very best silk in finery jewel

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