1. Thufeil

    Thufeil Member

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    Language's obstacle of foreigner

    Discussion in 'Poetry' started by Thufeil, Dec 3, 2016.

    Using English is an absolute requirement for us to display our works globally, especially in such a writing forum like this. I, as a foreigner, whose English is not prominent in my country, feel so hampered with kind of 'situation'. Indeed.

    I mean, i have some works (mostly poems actually) that, of course, are not in English. The problem is it will be so hard to translate the poems into English, even it, probably, doesn't make sense. Furthermore, the point of the poems won't be the same as the original ones. Any suggestion or opinion?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2016
  2. Anna100

    Anna100 Active Member

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    I don't have an answer to your question, but I understand. English is not my first language either. Until about a year ago, I wrote mainly in Norwegian. When I joined this forum, I thought maybe it would be a good idea to try and write in English if I ever was to get my work critiqued or enter competitions. It was strange writing English at first, but eventually I got more used to it. Now I really can't decide whether I should write in English or Norwegian, so I switch between the two. My previous short story was in Norwegian, now I'm writing in English. :p It can be confusing.

    When it comes to translation (and how it gets lost) I think in many cases, you can't find the accurate translation, but maybe find a word or meaning that is close or similar to what you wrote in your native language, and that conveys the same feeling . If that makes sense.
     
  3. Scot

    Scot Senior Member

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    'Proper' English construction is largely irrelevant, as even the best (and the worst) poets mutilate grammar to suit their own ends.
    Have a good browse in the Poetry section and compare the work of non-native English speakers, like @Youssef Salameh and native speakers like @Francis de Aguilar .

    Poetry exists to convey mood and emotion, both of these poets achieve that in very different styles. Reading your posts I suggest your command of English is more than adequate, so why don't you post some of your poetry and see what feedback you get?
     
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  4. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I'm not sure, but I wonder if it would be more effective to write originally in English, rather than writing in your original language and then translating? So much of poetry is about the sound and feel of the words, not just the meaning, and I'd think it would be easier to capture those elements just once in English, rather than trying to polish them in another language and then having to do the same work again in the translation.
     
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  5. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If the work is to be poetry, I very much agree with this.

    We get posts and threads here in the forum all the time from members looking for the proper translation of words from other languages that encapsulate very subtle, and sometimes complex ideas for which there is no single-word translation into English. And, to be fair, English has its own healthy battery of words of that nature that cannot be translated out into other languages with just a single word. It works in all directions. Each language has its features, its allowances and restrictions, and since poetry deals in those very things, I agree that the writer should be writing in the end medium, in this case, the end language.
     
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  6. Thufeil

    Thufeil Member

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    That's the point! I mean, that is the factor that, i think, can reduce the appropriate idea in which i want to show. Imo, being equivalent won't ever be the same, if you know what i mean
     
  7. Thufeil

    Thufeil Member

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    Thanks for the references you gave. I will check them both later. I am sure they bring different colors to their poems, consiously or not.

    Actually i've started to post my poems here ( i hope you will kindly give your comment to them:D). One of them is done through translation proccess and some are not. And of course i can fell the difference while creating them.
     
  8. Lifeline

    Lifeline South. Staff Contributor

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    As a non-native speaker who writes exclusively in english (though how well is debatable) I can only second @BayView . A language has a flow and 'poetry', thoughts have to hang together and jump off each other in association chains at subconscious-level, and I cringe to imagine how I would try to manage writing in my native tongue and then attempt a translation.

    And no: this does not relate exclusively to poetry.
     
  9. Thufeil

    Thufeil Member

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    For some reasons, i agree with both of you. Whenever i write poems directly in english, i need to think any other aspects out of the choice of words, and that's the obstacles! But when we use native language, it's totally different. The feel, the way how we tell what we want to say, the flow.. Totally different.
     
  10. Thufeil

    Thufeil Member

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    Ah! I still don't get with this statement. How does it do not relate exclusively to poetry?
     
  11. Lifeline

    Lifeline South. Staff Contributor

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    Oh sorry, I only meant that language needs to have an internal flow ('poetry') even in fiction work. The best books I've read use language on a subconscious level, where every single word gives off intended associations (happy, morose, sad, what-have-you) to connect with the next sentence/paragraph/scene/chapter.
     
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  12. Thufeil

    Thufeil Member

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    Really? I am a little bit curious withe the tittle of the book? Hmm..
     
  13. Lifeline

    Lifeline South. Staff Contributor

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    My usual recommendation is 'Memory' by Lois McMaster Bujold. The book has a lot of flaws (in my personal opinion, and if you want I can point them out in a PM), but the use of language - the flow and associations evoked throughout the book - particularly from about the halfway-point is exceptional.
     
  14. Thufeil

    Thufeil Member

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    I will really appreciate it. Send me through PM. It would be a great reference for me. Thank you..
     
  15. Lifeline

    Lifeline South. Staff Contributor

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    Will do and have fun dissecting ;)
     
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