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Leticia de la Paz de Dios Translation Theory

Translation Criticism: Pablo Neruda’s Walking Around. For this assignment I decided to use two of the translations of the poem “Walking Around”, by Pablo Neruda, one of his best known poems in the Spanish speaking countries. The translations are by Ben Belit and by W.S. Merwin, and they are very different in their approach to the text and the method used by the author. Therefore, their analysis and comparison are the center of this paper. The first translation, by Ben Belit, is very evidently a sense for sense1 translation. As translators such as Cicero and Homer defended, this translation seems to aim at getting the same reaction from an English reader as a Spanish reader would have reading the original poem in Spanish. However, in doing so, the translator adapts and creates a language which is more appropriate for the target culture (translation focused on the reader)2 and it sometimes results in an excessive separation from the language created by the original author, Pablo Neruda. Being this approach to translation an essential aspect in Belit’s text, he sometimes misses some important elements of the original in his translation. In Neruda’s poem, the verse’s metric is free, as it is in Belit’s translation, and also the number of lines in each verse. However, there are some literary figures used by Neruda in his poem that are omitted by Belit in his translation. A good example can be found in the line “Sucede que me canso de ser hombre”. This line is the first one in the poem, and it is repeated a number of times on it. And not only does he repeat this whole sentence, but we also see other sentences starting with “Sucede que…”. This creates the literary figure of repetition and a form of anaphora, which is introduced by Pablo Neruda with a particular stylistic intention. This repetition is omitted in the text translated by Belit. This particular omission caught my attention, I have to admit, because as a native Spanish speaker I have the contextual information that in
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Jerome Scheleiermacher

ni ascensores”.S. Merwin. in other parts of the poem. Belit’s translation creates. W. a similar reaction in the target reader. for example. maintains the same metaphors and does a literal translation of them. embellishing the language where the literal translation of a metaphor from the Spanish text would not work so well in the English language./ from gardens. as it was mentioned before. Merwin. again. the reaction and result for the target reader will be the same. number of lines and other elements are faithfully present in the translation of the whole poem. Merwin maintains this repetition. In the second translation. the general meaning and.. but his translation is performed following the strictest word for word methodology: terminology. and its omission in the translation is a risky decision.S. being this the beginning of several of the poem’s lines. when in Spanish the poem says: “Sólo quiero un descanso de piedras o de lana. “El olor de las peluquerías me hace llorar a gritos” is translated as “A whiff from a barbershop does it: I yell bloody murder” by Belit. This is so probably because the title is in English and Spanish speakers may prefer a sentence we can remember and know the meaning of in order to refer to that poem. this is still an important sentence within the poem. by W. ni anteojos. Belit uses compensation as a translation technique.g. In a similar way. literary figures. Some other rhetorical figures are maintained in both translations. elevators – I’d rather not look at them”./ sólo quiero no ver establecimientos ni jardines. but by the first sentence. institutional projects./ ni mercaderías. merchandise.S.S. In the second verse he translates “All I ask is a little vacation from things: from boulders/ and woolens./ eyeglasses. on the other hand. Not only W. Merwin). Walking around. this very well known poem is not practically known by its actual title. such as some metaphors or as synesthesia (e. . and as “The smell of barber shops makes me sob out loud” by W. But even not having this information into consideration. Even though the strictest sense of the original verse is slightly changed. the translator maintains this repetition.Spain. new metaphors and looks for. translating it as “It happens that…”. “Sucede que me canso de ser hombre”.

on the other hand. in translation. but in the latter the rhythm might sound or result too plain in English. In conclusion.S Mervin translated it as: “slow dirty tears”. on the other hand. of which we can find a few examples in Neruda’s poem (e. W.g. Taking as an example the last line of the poem: “Lentas lágrimas sucias”. S.Neruda’s poem is filled with metaphorical descriptions. giving it a new and different sound and rhythm. colgando de las puertas de las casas que odio”). However. Belit gets to break it. the two translations are opposite in their treatment of the source text and the importance given to content (Belit) or to form (W.. some concessions have to be made and it depends on the translator’s preference about what the result of their translation they want it to be. in my opinion. . a descending tone to the poem. the ambiguity is not only maintained but. Belit. in a horror of tripes”. trussed to the doors of the houses I loathe/ are the sulphurous birds. which marks a good ending. The rhythm changes in Belit’s translation more than in W. translated it as: “slowly dribbling a slovenly tear”. Merwin. in his translation “There are birds the colour of sulphur. “. with the same rhythm and tone. This proves how.S Merwin’s. Merwin). When it comes to ambiguity. adjectives and repetitions. we see a strong and important tone. does. and this gives the poem a particular tone and rhythm. a word for word rendering.S. and horrible intestines/ hanging from the doors of the houses which I hate. “Hay pájaros de color de azufre y horribles intestinos. increased. W. as in the rest of his translation. in his translation: “There. thanks to his word choice.

Print. Neruda. in Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry. Pablo. 1975. Nathaniel Tarn. A Bilingual Anthology. "Walking Around. Middlesex: Penguin." Trans. . Ed. in Pablo Neruda. Selected Poems." Trans. Pablo.Works cited Neruda. W.S. 1996. Merwin. Ben Belitt. Ed. "Walking Around. Austin: UT Press. Stephen Tapscott.