Translating Nepali Poetry

This article written by me last year deals with the pros and cons of translating Nepali Poetry.



Translating poetry from one language to another is a complex process. It is crucial to have a thorough knowledge of both the source and the target languages before attempting any kind of translation. The task becomes cumbersome when it comes to poetry, because it requires a highly refined form of language with adequate precision expected while maneuvering its con- tent. “If, then, the purpose of poetry is rationally to communicate experience with the appropriate emotion, the purpose of translation is to communicate the same subject and emotion.”1

Over the years, translation has played a crucial role in enriching culture and understanding cross-cultural texts, languages, and traditions. It has been used as an important tool in English lit- erature right from the early days, inspiring poets and writers alike. “Chaucer translated Le Roman de la Rose and got his Troilus story from an Italian original; Surrey translated some books of Virgil and in doing so invented English blank verse.”2 Though the translated texts may not be as origi- nal as the source text in terms of tone, meaning, and sense, however, English literature is replete with evidence of successful translations of authors like Omar Khayyam, Gabriel García Márquez, Antonio Machado, Rilke, Coelho, Basho, Pushkin, etc. Translation is expected by some theorists to be such “that the reader should, if possible, forget that it is a translation at all, and be lulled into the illusion that he is reading an original work; something original.”


Full Article can be accessed here:


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