Third Blog Post (19 ways)

This post is looking back on the set of poems titled “19 ways” by Wang Wei, well the original poem is written in Chinese by Wang Wei. 19 ways is Wang Wei’s famous poem translated in nineteen different ways. All of the translations are similar, yet they all have unique characteristics. This reminded me of a term I learned in my marketing class known as differentiation, where different companies make the same product in order to give the customer diversity in the market as well as having room for profitable success of all the companies making the product. As the translators interpreted their own poetry from Wang Wei’s poem, they are providing differentiation within the poetry community because just as a company communicates their product in a unique way the poets also communicate their translations in a unique way. For example, in the fourth translation “form of the deer” by W.J.B Fletcher, he translated the first line from the original poem by stating, “So lone seem the hills, there is no one in sight there.” There is another similar translation in the tenth translation by James J.Y Liu, where he communicates Wei’s original first line with, “On the empty mountains no one can be seen.” Another translations of Wang Wei’s first original line by Octavio Paz titled “En la Ermita del Parque de los Venados” goes as, “No se ve gente en este monte.” The point of me listing these different types of poets translating Wang Wei’s original line in unique ways is to show the reader that we as people need to stay original. Originality is what feeds the creative community of artists of all types. We as people look back on the past and learn from it. The way we learn from the past is by communicating it in the future, a form of translation.


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