Friday, January 21, 2011

How a Poet Translates His Own Poetry

Yihai Chen writes his poems in English and Chinese. In How a Poet Translates His Own Poetry (you have to scroll down for the English version) he tells about his experience of editing a bilingual edition of his poems and therefore translating a selection of his poems in both directions. As a self-translator he feels privileged because he "knows the author and the text much better than anyone else". Although he rises some important questions: "Which is more faithful, the poet’s own translation or a professional translator’s? Does a poet translator encounter the same problems of cultural transfer as other translators do? Is his or her strategy in solving such problems different from that of other translators?", he unfortunately does not answer them.


Amélia said...


I have just discovered your blog, but your thesis is really interesting.

How did you find this Chinese book and its English version?
I am interested in self-translation too, and these times, especially in the self-translation of poetry, so I would be glad to find it.

Anyway,good luck and keep going, I think I will read you more often...

Eva Gentes said...

Hi Amélia, I don't have a copy of the book, I only came across the author's blog and his reflections on self-translating and editing a bilingual edition. But you might be able to contact the author via his blog to ask him where you can get a copy of the bilingual edition and if is has been published at all. Good luck with your research, best wishes