beige analog compass

Is a translated poem still the same poem?

Less than two weeks ago, I had the great fortune to see how the cultural magazine “Primera página” published on its website a collection of poems with which I was awarded in the literary contest “Certamen Internacional de Poesía Yolanda Sáez” in June 2019.

My second surprise was finding my poems translated into English – which, I have to admit, in this case google translate hadn’t done a bad job after all. However, that arbitrary translation led me to wonder the following question: is a translated poem still the same poem?

As you can imagine, in the process of creating a poem (or, indeed, any kind of literary text) every word counts. And, by every word, I mean rather, the inferences that are slowly assembling as if it were a puzzle, the communicative meaning.

Therefore, when a literary text is translated, in our case a poem, it is not only worth taking care of what is said (explicit language) but also carefully selecting the inferences of what has not been said (implicit language). In other words, as we generally tend to think translating a text is not only pouring the content of a text into another language, but pouring it in the sense intended by the author.

In this sense, the debate remains open: is this translated poem still the same or just a re-interpretation of its meaning in another language? Judge for yourself.

Geografía del olvido

Poemas de Silvia Company de Castro


Todos los vértigos
que dejé caer
están retorciéndose
de risa
sobre la arruga
de la memoria.
Acaso es otra.
Acaso es esta otra
máscara larga y fría
la que me viene a buscar
estás sangrando todavía.


No sé muy bien adónde voy.
El sudor de la lluvia
encanece el camino.


Estoy aquí
donde los girasoles negros.
El olor el tacto húmedo
que trae consigo otoño.
No muy lejos
de la miserable línea
que tantas veces
anhelo y aparto.
Justo aquí. En la geografía del olvido.


Descalzo la retina
de su cuenco.
Todos esos rostros
que ahogué
que juré
no gorjear nunca más
están ahí afuera.

Geography of Oblivion

Poems by Silvia Company de Castro


All the dizziness
that I let down
is writhing
with laughter
on the wrinkle
of memory.
Perhaps it is another.
Perhaps it is this other
long, cold mask
that comes looking for me
you are still bleeding.


I don’t really know where I’m going.
The sweat of the rain
turns the road gray.


I’m here
where the black sunflowers
The smell is the wet touch
that autumn brings.
Not far
from the miserable line
that I
long for and push aside so many times .
Just here. In the geography of oblivion.


Barefoot the retina
of his bowl.
All those faces
that I choked
that I swore
never to gurgle
are out there anymore .
Waiting for me.

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