by Víctor Terán
Frog skip the rope
Come, come and see
Come and see - look
Jump skip the rope
The literal translation of this poem was made by David Shook
The final translated version of the poem is by The Poetry Translation Workshop
Having Victor at the workshop was absolutely invaluable. First off, he clarified that this was a frog, not a toad, as David had originally thought. Secondly, he explained that, this being a poem for children, the rhythm was of overwhelming importance.
As you can see, we veered away from the literal translation, for one of two reasons: Either Victor, via David, clarified the translation (as in 'toad' to 'frog'). Or because we felt that the sound of the translation demanded the change; for example, the end of the second line of the second stanza, which in Zapotec is 'lataguuya oh', we changed the 'oh' to 'look' because 'look' conveys the sense of an exclamation, particularly when speaking to a child.
Although he doesn't speak English, Victor listened very carefully to our translation and professed himself delighted with our version.
We also translated Victor's poem 'Moon' in this workshop.
© Poetry Translation Centre 2004-2015