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Translating Basho : matsutake pine mushrooms

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Gabi Greve:
pine mushroom
with its ragged top it's
like a pine tree

tr. Jane

. . .

pine mushroom
with its ragged top
it's a pine tree

version Alan

. . . . .

Dear Haiku friends, this is a good chance to talk about the problems of a translator ... grin ... and I am not even a native speaker of English.

Anyway, let us take a look at the Japanese

matsutake ya kabureta hodo wa matsu no nari

Basho could put a lot of information in these three sections:

The name of the mushroom comes from the area where the mushroom grows, in a pine grove of Japanese red pines (akamatsu).
But as Basho takes a closer look, he finds that the form of the mushroom itself resembles the tree. The broken parts of the hat look like the broken bark of akamatsu.
The haiku contains the kireji (cutting word YA) at the end of line 1
It also contains the word HODO ... the more of this ... the more of that

So here is my paraverse, containing all the information in the haiku by Basho

pine mushrooms -
the more ragged their tops
the more they become a red pine /  the more they  look like a red pine

How much of the main information should the translator loose to make it look like an "ELH"?
Or should he trust the reader to make the necessary "deductions" for shortening, once he has understood the full meaning of the haiku as written in Japanese?
Or should he give more than one version (as Robin Gill usually does), to bring the reader closer to the main information?



On the other hand,
if the reader only reads the shortened version of Jane, does he really get all the aspects aspects of this haiku as written in Japanese?

Gabi

coming from this thread
http://www.thehaikufoundation.org/forum_sm/new-to-haiku-free-discussion/the-use-of-simile-in-haiku/

.

Don Baird:
Hey Gabi,

in pondering:

pine mushrooms -
the more ragged their tops,
the more they look like red pines

pine mushrooms -
their ragged tops
look like red pines

Just thinking out loud and enjoying the subject!

Don

ps ... thanks for posting this!  It's great!

Gabi Greve:

--- Quote ---pine mushrooms -
their ragged tops
look like red pines
--- End quote ---

Thanks for taking a look at the matsutake, dear Don!

In the Japanese version, the HODO gives the special flavor to the poem.
It shows the author in the pine wood, looking at many mushrooms and comparing their tops. This part of the joy of finding so many matsutake to be able to compare them seems a bit lost.

Maybe if I switch the lines to keep the  format short/long/short ?

the more ragged their tops,
the more they look like red pines -
these pine mushrooms


6 / 7 / 4  would still be 17 beats to the haiku.

Gabi
.

AlanSummers:
I feel the repetition works in the original Japanese haiku but doesn't succeed in English.

If I take your latest version:

the more ragged their tops,
the more they look like red pines -
these pine mushrooms

Somehow the repetitions don't work for me, and all I have is a statement.  There doesn't have that ripple effect when you throw a pebble across a stretch of water.

I also find the use of like to make it a simile doesn't work in English, but possibly works okay in Japanese.

A translator, if they also working on a poem too, may have to change not only word order, but some of the meaning e.g.

ragged tops
those red pines
and mushrooms


ragged tops
those red pines
match mushrooms

etc...

all my best,

Alan




--- Quote from: Gabi Greve on May 28, 2011, 01:44:53 AM ---

--- Quote ---pine mushrooms -
their ragged tops
look like red pines
--- End quote ---

Thanks for taking a look at the matsutake, dear Don!

In the Japanese version, the HODO gives the special flavor to the poem.
It shows the author in the pine wood, looking at many mushrooms and comparing their tops. This part of the joy of finding so many matsutake to be able to compare them seems a bit lost.

Maybe if I switch the lines to keep the  format short/long/short ?

the more ragged their tops,
the more they look like red pines -
these pine mushrooms


6 / 7 / 4  would still be 17 beats to the haiku.

Gabi
.

--- End quote ---

Gabi Greve:
Thanks for your thoughts, Alan.

Well, some like repetition, some don't.

Your short versions are quite nice.

A lot depends on how much the translator feels free to change the meaning of the original.

Gabi

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