translations with shabdalamkara

Thu Jan 10 02:33:15 UTC 2013

Hi Venetia, regarding attempts to capture the acoustics of an original in translation, Isabelle Onians'  translation of the 7th ucchvasa of the Dazakumaracarita -- the Mantraguptacaritam (chapter 12 in the Clay Library ed.) -- is worth a mention. The translation follows the original Sanskrit in not using labials: p, b, m; so as to reproduce the effect of the original wherein "Matragupta's lips have so been ravished with biting kisses that he is constrained to tell his story without allowing his battered lips to touch." (from p. 21 of Isabelle's introduction, which includes a wonderful note on the challenges involved in translating). 
Cheers, Chris

On 09/01/2013, at 4:30 PM, Balogh Dániel wrote:

> Hello Venetia,
> since you explicitly mention other languages, I can't resist "pushing" the Hungarian translation of the Gitagovinda. It's the work of one of our senior Indologists, József Vekerdi (still with us and probably still angry at the poet for much of what he's done to the text), and one of the best Hungarian poets of the second half of the last century, Sándor Weöres (departed quite a while ago). The result is nothing short of breathtaking, though I guess nobody but us Hungarians can appreciate it. If interested, the full text is available (without the authors' consent, as far as I know) online:
> The point is that it's a metrically perfect translation (well, 99.5% perfect - unlike English, Hungarian is not based on stress accent, so poetry measured by syllable weight works in this language) that can be recited just like the original (indeed, there is an anecdote that someone once recited this to an Indian audience and listeners said, ah, could that be the Gita Govinda in your language?), also duplicating most of the rhyme and assonance. The reason for Vekerdi's anger is of course that Weöres was occasionally quite free     in his treatment of the meaning, but then, I believe much of the original Gitagovinda isn't about the precise meaning either...
> Best,
> Daniel
> 2013.01.09. 6:26 keltezéssel, Venetia Kotamraju írta:
>> Dear List,
>> A very happy new year to all.
>> Has anyone come across translations which try to convey the shabdalamkara found in a particular Sanskrit verse or poem in English (or other languages).  Apart from the brilliant translation of the Gita Govinda by Lee Siegel, and a few stray verses here and there, I can't think of any others that I have read at least.
>> Many thanks
>> Venetia
>> -- 
>> Venetia Kotamraju
>> +91 997230 5440

PhD Candidate
School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics
Faculty of Arts
The University of Queensland
Email: s4297473 at

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