Featured Post


I am posting this as a benchmark, not because I think I'm playing very well yet.  The idea would be post a video every month for a ye...

Thursday, March 22, 2018


Before spring break I was looking with my class at this phrase "Y tú te me vas yendo." The translators, literally but without stylistic flair, have rendered this phrase as "And you are slowly leaving me." This line, as is typical in the poetry of Claudio Rodríguez, has a tremendous rhythmic dynamism. The succession of monosyllables would be normal for English, but not for Spanish. The use (rather than omission) of the subject pronoun is emphatic in Spanish, and the "vas yendo" has a stress clash. (The participle yendo is not used for often in Spanish and also has an emphatic flavor.) There is a kind of reduplicative effect caused by the two second person singular pronouns (which alliterate) and then the two forms of the same verb: "you you go going."

The word slowly here is all wrong. It is true that ir + present participle has the sense of something happening little by little, but here it is a dynamic process, and the word slowly works against that. If you heard someone say: "Voy pensando que..."  you would understand her to be saying: "I'm starting to think..."  Not "I'm slowly thinking that..."

The translators in their preface don't comment on any stylistic feature of the work at all.  The treat Claudio's poetry as inspirational uplift, and offer the usual biographical information.

[sarcasm]It is almost as though translating poetry required some kind of understanding of the poetics of the original, as though understanding the words literally were not enough. [/sarcasm]

I thought of this because I was reading a very dynamic account of the rhythmic dynamism of the music of Revueltas.  

No comments: