Site seers;Reviews;Web sites

26th June 1998 at 01:00
COMMON CURRENCY: Interactive European Poetry Translation. www.poetrysoc.comtranslationthome.htm

As Culture Secretary Chris Smith points out in his intro to this special summer feature on the Poetry Society's web site, "the more successful the translator is... the more invisible his or her efforts are".

Which is why this Poetry SocietyTranslators Association initiative, highlighting the work of four UK-based translators of poetry, but encouraging contributions, is to be applauded.

Between now and the end of July, each of the guest translators will present an extract from recent work. First up is Janet Shirley, who writes entertainingly on the difficulties of translating the medieval French epic poem, La Chanson de Roland.

The site provides the original text of one verse, a literal translation, Janet Shirley's translation, and two other recent translations by Dorothy Sayers and Glyn Burgess. The design allows you to view any two of these versions at the same time.

Later translators-of-the-week include Josephine Balmer, translator of Sappho and the 1996 Bloodaxe anthology, Classical Women Poets.

So, enjoy the poetry, criticise the translations, offer your own, and, while you're there, check out the rest of the Poetry Society's site.

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