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Can anyone help me understand a phrase?


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Hi, I am stepping out of my comfort zone and attempting to translate a poem from Spanish to English. I could use a couple of pointers from those of you who have done translations..I'm not very good but I do read some Spanish, I am a Californian after all. . .I am open to any and all suggestions.

 

I do have one specific question that is bugging me a bit. Is the job of the translator to translate literally or does the translator have an obligation to retain poetic integrity? Example is it OK to use a substitute word in English that has similar meaning but better sonics in common with the tone of the poem than the literal translation? eg literal translation bitter queen, another translator used ruthless queen, I am thinking of using the words brutal queen - this is in reference to a chess piece and the battle in which the pieces engage.

 

Also this poem was written sometime around 1900, there is a phrase "judgement of Omar" anybody have a clue who Omar is?

 

Thanks for whatever help you can give me.

 

~~Tink

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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hi Tink

 

This interesting article on the emergence of the queen in chess was linked on another forum:

 

The queen’s new ability to move two squares diagonally quickly spread throughout Europe. In fact, for some time in certain parts of Europe, the queen was also given the ability to move like a knight once in the game. Nevertheless, the queen obtained its modern powers only around the late 1400s to the early 1500s in Spain. This new version of chess, dubbed the “queen’s chess” or “madwoman’s chess”, gave the queen the ability to move like both the bishop and the rook (castle) in today’s modern chess. From Spain, “madwoman’s chess” quickly spread to other parts of Europe via print media and new books written on chess. For some time, the queen’s new ability raised anxiety and dissatisfaction in certain quarters, unhappy with the fact that there was a powerful female warrior figure on the chessboard.

 

Nonetheless, the reason as to why the Spanish introduced such powers to the queen remains to be questioned. It is widely believed that this was probably due to the influence of Queen Isabella I (1451 – 1504), who lived and reigned around the time the chessboard queen first acquired its modern powers. Queen Isabella I herself was widely revered as one of the most powerful monarchs in Spain and Europe, contributing much to governmental reformation and the unification of Spain alongside her husband, King Ferdinand II (1452 – 1516). Not surprisingly, the earliest surviving treatise on chess that describes the modern movement of the queen was published during her reign

 

http://jamesmys.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/history-of-chess-part-3.html

 

There is more in the article on the queen's piece that may incline you to reconsider 'brutal'.

 

badge

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Perhaps Omar refers to Omar Khayyam. In Spanish slang a queen might be called "Perita en dulce" (pear in syrup) or a chick who thinks she's gorgeous but ain't quite. Preciosa or mona = pretty. A beauty is Un Primor. Not sure where you want to go with this, Tink. To me, translations should relate the original author's implied meaning, but of course, that is open to judgment, as poems are rarely literal.

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Thanks Badge, I really appreciate that article, it gives new meaning to the poem. Yes I love "madwoman" but it isn't my poem and I think I need to stay as close to the poet's "implied meaning" as Frank says.

 

I agree Frank with trying to stay with the implied meaning of the poet but there is some wiggle room for syntax and word choice. If I really did a literal translation it would sound stilted and awkward in English. But your comment makes me think I need to work a little harder at this.

 

Hmmm, Omar Kayam interesting. I'll for references there to Omar's judgement? That hadn't occurred to me. I was leaning toward Omar "one of the four righteous Caliphs" one of the successors of Islam after the prophet's death, apparently quoted and criticised for some of his judgements. But why a Spanish poet would refer to him centuries later or his connection to chess I can't find..

 

~~Tink

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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