traslator_note - The New School Portfolio

Integrative Seminar : Shift Fall 2014
Jyu ri Lee
Translator’s Note
Nov. 25. 2014.
By writing the “middle translation”, I basically used the Google Translator to
translate the original poem into English word by word. And even though it took a
long time, it was not a really difficult job to do. But then, what is left for me was a
more challenging job. I had to weave through all the words now changed into
English. It is almost like cooking with all the raw materials. Having fresh materials is
a good start of cooking, but only the half of the whole process, at best, I would argue.
But still, what was interesting was that, the recipe is quite open to the cook, or the
translator. I have actually read the professional translation, too, by a Polishliterature professor, so I have much information about what the translation “should”
look like. So at first, I thought this “middle translation” was not going to surprise me
or change my thoughts regarding the poem. I mean, I have already put the whole
poem into Google Translator, and I had the translated version by a professor. So
‘what’s the news?’ I thought. But when I put individual vocabulary into the
translator, the view was wholly different. It was not the non-sense version that came
out when I put the whole poem into the translator.
As reviewing the ‘middle version’ of the translation, I found myself reading the
words in a prejudiced way. I am quite sure that this is because I have already read
the professional translations before doing the middle translation.
Knowing that, I tried to empty the scheme I had, and start from the blank state
regarding the poem, just as when I first encountered it.
And surprisingly, I could still make much of the meaning with parts of English
translations the poet already offered in parentheses. And I guess even the poet
wanted that judging from the fact that he uses all the global figures and sometimes
giving direct English translations.
Regarding the final book of our group, I am happy to feel that maybe the approach
we took is on the right track. I was doubtful before doing the mid-translation, but
now that I have all the word-by-word translation, I am more sure about what I
should do regarding our final project.