- My inquiry question for this project was “What obstacles does a person face when translating poetry from Russian to English?”. My question did not change throughout the project, because I became more and more familiarized with the obstacles and challenges a translator faces by translating, which gave me the opportunity to have a good first-hand answer to this question.
- The main skill that I learned during this project is how to translate poetry from Russian to English. I think this helped me with forming poetry in English and helped me appreciate how there are no boundaries or restrictions set when writing poetry, whereas, with translating, there are a lot of guidelines and rules that you must follow to make sure that you translate correctly. Through translating, I have improved greatly in finding rhyming synonyms, shuffling around in sentences to find the best rhyme, fit and flow for the poem, and rhyming in general. This will help me write better poetry in everyday English class.
- From this project, I have learned that translating poetry from Russian to English is very difficult and many obstacles arise when trying to translate. First of all, Russian and English are very different languages, with different grammatical structures, which makes translating sentences and sentence structure difficult. Secondly, the rhyming scheme is hard to keep in another language, because sometimes a different rhyming scheme would work much better with the translation. Thirdly, the content was hard to retain in the translation. Sometimes, some content would have to be added or taken away just to have the translation rhyme. Most importantly, it was difficult to retain the mood of the poem. Even if the content of the translation was a little different from the original poem, if it retains the same mood and idea that the author was originally trying to convey, then the poem sounds and flows the same. Throughout my research, I found that many translations of Russian poems failed to convey the correct mood that the original poem easily gave off. I also struggled with this, because through the process of translating, rhyming and double-checking content, it is very easy to lose the original mood of the poem, which would call for more editing and comparison with the original poem until the translation fully conveyed the mood of the poem.
- My final learning artifacts connected to my inquiry question because, as English translations of Russian poems, they provided me a perfect, first-person experience on the difficulties that a person faces when translating a Russian poem into English. I demonstrated my learning of how to overcome these obstacles by creating a process to follow while translating to ensure that my translation stays as accurate as possible. This shows that I have a good understanding of what obstacles I must overcome to create a good translation. For one of my curricular competencies I chose “Recognize how language constructs personal, social, and cultural ” I mentioned in my notes a couple of times that the mood or idea that the author was conveying in Russian will never sound or be perceived the same since, firstly, they are being read in different languages, and secondly, that they will be read in different cultural settings and to people with different identities. I tried to convey the Russian cultural literature as best as I could in the translation, but I recognize that I cannot perfectly translate a poem because I cannot control how a person perceives or receives the poem. Another curricular competency that I chose for my assessment was “Assess and refine texts to improve their clarity, effectiveness, and impact according to purpose, audience, and message.” I think my final learning artifact connects to this because I had to refine a text from one language to another to improve its clarity. If I did not ‘refine’, or translate, the text/poem, it would still be in Russian, and would not be clear, would have no effect, would give no impact, no purpose and no message to my audience: English speaking people. I also had to assess the Russian text before translating to make sure that I would translate it accurately and correctly. My last curricular competency was “Recognize and identify the role of personal, social, and cultural contexts, values, and perspectives in texts.” This connects to my final artifact because the general point of translation is that you can change a text so a person from another culture, with different values and cultural contexts, can understand that text the same way someone from the original culture of the text can understand it. This is what I tried to accomplish throughout my translating because I think this is the essence and overall goal of all translations.
This site was valuable to me because it has many different Russian poets and poems, all of which are translated into English. The original poems and the translations were always side by side which made comparisons and notes easy to do.
This site proved valuable because it contained a lot of translated poems by Alexander Pushkin, the main Russian author I was interested in translating. This helped me with taking notes on translating this one specific poet.
This is a Russian website that was valuable because it has a staggeringly large number of Russian poems and poets (not translated) that I could refer to when comparing a translation.
А. С. Пушкин, Избранные Сочинения
This is a Russian book that is a collection of many of Alexander Pushkin’s poems. I used this book when comparing translations to original poems, and for general research and observations on Russian poetry.
- I am now interested in how I can make my translations as clear and concise as possible. I am interested in this because I noticed that my translation lines were usually 1.5 times as long and heavily worded compared to the original Russian poem. I understand that this is because I was trying to convey the content as accurately as possible from Russian to English, which requires more wording due to the grammatical and structural difference between the languages, but I am still curious as to how I can retain the same simplicity and flow that these Russian poems have, in English.