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.

(1) An exclamation, possibly 'Jump, jump!'
(2) Dictionary lists 'blubber-lipped' as well.
(3) Dictionary also gives 'paunchy'.
(4) In each appearance 'come' is plural.

Victor also made this translation of his poem into Spanish:


Salta que salta
un sapo en la cuerda
un sapo trompudo
un sapo panzón

Vengan, vengan, vengan a ver
vengan, vengan, vengan a ver
un sapo con ojos saltones
que brinca el cordel

This poem is taken from one of Victor's books for children.

Share this poem