View Full Version : Lots in translation?

01-10-2004, 10:03:50
it all began as...
a simple association to this "alone" thread in CounterPoint

It brought up this famous 3-liner by one of Italy's great hermetic potes from 1900 (S.Quasimodo)

Ed Ŕ subito sera
Ognuno sta solo sul cuor della terra
trafitto da un raggio di sole:
ed Ŕ subito sera.

well, I googled to find an "official" translation, if there is one, to share it in that thread.
I stumbled instead upon several, which look somewhat hand-made tho...

You see them above in the poll.
Of course (most) of you don't know italian, but I'm curious to find out what would someone think, who's better versed or acquainted with poetry and literature than me.

01-10-2004, 10:42:08
The first one is the best gramatically and in terms of making sense. The others have some clusmy expression.

01-10-2004, 10:46:46
darn, I forgot to number the options :rolleyes:


some lexical support

it's with the correct use of such collective terms that my english fails most. Literally, I'd go with "each one", and not with everyone or everybody which should translate "tutti"

stands should be more appropriate than stays, more going with sense than literally tho

about solo = alone there's no doubt at all

sul cuor della terra
"sul" is exactly "on the", but I understan in english it might be more natural to use different prepositions for location
"cuore" is literally heart; "core" alliterates better, but sounds too geological and doesn't express the "throbbing of life" as one of the links in the "Alone" thread suggested
"terra" means Earth, both in the sense of the planet and of soil, terrain (earth). "World" is suggestive but less literal

that's pierced
transfixed is original and alliterative, but it brings in something that's not in the italian imho, no need to abandon simplicity here

raggio di sole
raggio =ray
sole = sun (not just generically "light" - and as the original, to me at least, also gives an astronomical earth-sun suggestion, that makes a difference imho)
sun-ray? ray of sunlight?
I like sunbeam very much, although that makes the verse even shorter than in italian, altering its rythm; but I think that this becomes the english translation :)

beware, meaning changing with accent
here it's s¨bito, whereas subýto is the participle of subire = to suffer, to passively receive, to be submitted to
s¨bito exactly means "at once"
I understand that suddenly sounds more literary, but strictly speaking there is no sense of sudden, of unexpected in s¨bito
we know that the day is short, there is no surprise when the evening falls, just the fact that the time is short before it falls
"soon" imho concedes you a bit too much time to bask, before it's time... ;)

that's evening
had the author wanted to say night, he'd have said that in italian too! (notte)

Mind, the above were only lexical and semantic hints and support.
I didn't actaully mean to comment about the resulting translation english-likeness, fluency, rythm (WHERE do ou put the it's and the adverb in last verse, for instance?), "poeticity" and such... :cute:
leave alone the "whole" poem spirit and meaning

My translation would have been, anyway:

Each one stands alone on the heart of the earth
pierced by a sunbeam:
and at once it's evening

01-10-2004, 11:06:39
That's lots of translation alright.


Scabrous Birdseed
01-10-2004, 11:07:37
I've not read your darkstarmosepost but I'd say the second one is best. It's rather dramatic, with the focus on the loneliness and the suddenness.

Lazarus and the Gimp
01-10-2004, 16:21:28
Originally posted by MoSe

It brought up this famous 3-liner by one of Italy's great hermetic potes from 1900 (S.Quasimodo)

I'm not familiar with his poetry, but his name rings a bell.

Scabrous Birdseed
01-10-2004, 17:20:18
I have a hunch I've heard it somewhere too.

01-10-2004, 19:09:11
hey, I had expected 0 replies on this one, so I can't complain :lol: