Herbert Nehrlich

Rookie (04 October 1943 / Germany)

The Translator - Poem by Herbert Nehrlich

He sits and sweats
over those words
at last he gets
what all the nerds
could not because
the text submitted
all of it was
directly pitted
against the skills
of average minds.
They tried and tried
for days on end
at last they cried
when a kind friend
showed how it's done
by taking brains
and having fun
as you make gains
though it's essential
that you be fluent
not just tangential
or congruent
in not just one
no, you need two
one could be Hun
the other Sioux
it matters little
which ones they are
so save your spittle
go to a bar
and have a drink
forget translations
if you do think
that all those nations
are bumblebees
with tiny minds
then humbleknees
and bent behinds
would be so fitting
for those who
while merely sitting
don't have a clue.
So overall
it does require
a bit of gall
and a small fire
inside a brain
that knows and can
as you are vain
you're not the man.

Comments about The Translator by Herbert Nehrlich

  • (6/28/2005 4:52:00 PM)

    Even a poetry snob can fail to understand the meaning of a poem, as is evident here.
    It is often those who have a need to hide in the shadows that know so little.
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  • (6/28/2005 11:34:00 AM)

    Easy to make sweeping generalization if ignorant of poets like Robert Bly or Robert Hass, who arent fluent in Swedish and Japanese and other lang but write wonderful Eng approximation from literal trans supplied by original author. Maybe better if if you yourself write less and read more? PS (Report) Reply

  • (6/28/2005 7:19:00 AM)

    Oh, Ok thanks for that Herbert.

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  • (6/28/2005 6:34:00 AM)

    The content meant to convey that the job of a translator is not easy and that any attempt to improve upon a translated poem for example by someone who is not absolutely fluent in both languages is doomed to fail as well as being an arrogant gesture.
    Translating means to transfer -as unscathed as possible- meaningful utterings from one tongue into another.
    (Report) Reply

  • (6/28/2005 6:18:00 AM)

    Great rythm and rhyme but not sur about the content. Probably just me being dense but I don't get it, but then again, check out my spelling! .

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, June 28, 2005

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