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Monday, June 12, 2006

Homophonic Translation

Speaking of translations, in the absence not just of a satisfactory existing translation but any reading knowledge of the original language, there's always the fallback position of homophonic translation. Louis and Celia Zukofsky homophonically rendered Catullus's Latin (not that they couldn't read Latin, of course they could), and more recently David Melnick has done the same for the Iliad. Here's his opening:

Men in Aïda, they appeal, eh? A day, 0 Achilles!
Allow men in, emery Achaians. All gay ethic, eh?
Paul asked if tea mousse suck, as Aïda, pro, yaps in.
Here on a Tuesday. 'Hello,' Rhea to cake Eunice in.
'Hojo' noisy tap as hideous debt to lay at a bully.
Ex you, day. Tap wrote a 'D,' a stay. Tenor is Sunday.
Atreides stain axe and Ron and ideas 'll kill you.

I won't trouble Blogger's slender character set resources with an attempt to reproduce the original Greek.

And then there's Luis D'Antin van Rooten's Mots D'Heures: Gousses, Rames:

Un petit d'un petit s'étonne aux Halles,
Un petit d'un petit- ah, dégrés te fallent!
Indolent qui ne sort cesse,
Indolent qui ne se mène.
Qu'import un petit d'un petit,
Tout Guy de Ragènnes.

(Picture at top counts as puzzle answer, in case you don't get it.)

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