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Lidia Vianu - Director of CTITC (CENTRE FOR THE TRANSLATION AND INTERPRETATION OF THE CONTEMPORARY TEXT), Bucharest University, Professor of Contemporary British Literature at the English Department of Bucharest University, Member of the Writers’ Union, Romania.

 

 
 
 
 
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CTITC

CENTRE FOR THE TRANSLATION AND INTERPRETATION OF THE CONTEMPORARY TEXT
CENTRUL PENTRU TRADUCEREA SI INTERPRETAREA TEXTULUI CONTEMPORAN

 

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 TRANSLATION CAFÉ 

 

CTITC
CENTER FOR THE TRANSLATION AND INTERPRETATION OF THE CONTEMPORARY TEXT

MTTLC
MA Programme for the TRANSLATION OF THE CONTEMPORARY LITERARY TEXT

 

TRANSLATION
CAFÉ



Review of Contemporary Texts in Translation and E-Learning


 

                                                                 Nr. 2/February 15, 2007



 

Director: LIDIA VIANU

© CTITC
    MTTLC

 

 

ISSN 1842 – 9149



Issue Editor: Andreea Diaconu (MTTLC student)


These translations of T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Afred Prufrock are an online seminar of literary translation, part of Lidia Vianu’s course Guide to Contemporary Literature and Its Translation, and the second session of E-Learning in the MA Programme for the Translation of the Contemporary Literary Text, directed by Lidia Vianu.
The texts have also been discussed in translation group at

 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/translationcafe/  



GUEST PROFESSOR: LIDIA VIANU


Translation Café started as a prolongation of the workshops for my MA students in the Translation of the Contemporary Literary Text. Part of them, the ‘enthusiastic group’, are wonderful students, with whom I did not get to spend enough time.


When I suggested Prufrock, I meant to provide Aprilia Zank (Romanian teacher and PhD student who now lives in Germany) with several Romanian versions for her Dissertation on the poem’s translations in a number of languages. My own PhD students hopped in and my initial idea of setting up a centre of information on and translation of mainly contemporary (but Eliot is a forerunner of us all...) literature came alive.


While our group was being born, there was one particular moment which made me write this. I must announce from the very beginning that these are far from being perfect translations, none being the translation of Prufrock. I for one have a hard time producing a perfect translation. There are always imperfections, from gross mistakes to mere slips which can easily mar a meaning.


All the translators in this review take full responsibility for their texts, they cannot rely on anyone to cover their backs. Consequently, there will be mistakes. My hope is that, in front of the others’ translations, pen in hand and paper on the desk, in private debate with ourselves, we will all learn to be better. But, before that, we must learn to see when others are better and admit we were wrong.


Any translator, at all ages, learns from his mistakes. Let this be a review of fruitful solutions and useful mistakes. I do hope we will translate well, but, when we fail, let the perfect translator cast the first stone. If such a species exists...


 

 

T.S. ELIOT

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock


S'io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s'i'odo il vero,
Senza tema d'infamia ti rispondo.



Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question ...
Oh, do not ask, "What is it?"
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?"
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair--
(They will say: "How his hair is growing thin!")
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin--
(They will say: "But how his arms and legs are thin!")
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?
And I have known the eyes already, known them all--
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all--
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?

* * * *

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? ...

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

* * * *

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep ... tired ... or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a
platter,
I am no prophet--and here's no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: "I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all"--
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: "That is not what I meant at all;
That is not it, at all."

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the
floor--
And this, and so much more?--
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
"That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all."

* * * *

No I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous--
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old ... I grow old ...
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
 

 

 

***

 

 

Daca as avea cea mai mica banuiala ca ma adresez cuiva in stare sa se
intoarca in lumea celor vii, nu as mai rosti o vorba din aceasta
flacara nelinistita. Dar pentru ca nimanui nu i-a fost dat vreodata sa
paraseasca aceste meleaguri, iti raspund fara groaza de infamie.

 

Motto tradus de Aprilia Zank

Dante, Comedia Divina, Infernul, Cantul XXVII

 

 

Parallel translations


Cristina Nistor

Cintul de dragoste al lui J. Alfred Prufrock

 

*
Ileana Botescu - Sireteanu

Cantecul de dragoste al lui J. Alfred Prufrock

 

*
Daniela Oancea

Cantecul de dragoste al lui J. Alfred Prufrock

 

*
Dana Avram

Cantecul de iubire al lui Prufock

 

*
Viorel Stefanescu

Cintecul de dragoste al lui J. Alfred Prufrock

 

*
Elena-Carmen Bobocescu

Cantecul de dragoste al lui J. Alfred Prufrock

 

*
Dominique Sorocan

Cantecul iubirii lui J. Alfred Prufrock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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