Can poetry be transmitted through translation? If so, how, and to what effect?
In this thesis, I propose that the translation of poetry is best accomplished by a structured group of translation typologies that can be read alongside the source-language poem. When a poem is read in this manner, the reader has access to more of the layers of meaning present in the source-language poem than can be transmitted by one translation alone. My claim is based on a broad definition of translation, where translation is not simply the transference of a text from language A to language B, but rather the transmission of aspects and layers of meaning from a source text by means of a target language.
Poetry is a neglected area in established translation theory, and theoretical discussions of translation tend to be text-oriented rather than reader-oriented. This thesis contributes a theoretical platform for the discussion of poetry translation from a reader-oriented perspective.
I have chosen the translation into English of Classical Chinese poetry from the Tang Dynasty as my case. Classical Chinese provides a wealth of challenges for the translator, including a language structure vastly different from that of English, and a rich history of literary form, historical references, and imagery that stretches back over thousands of years.