Tuesday 3 November 2015

"I am thy father's spirit" - poetry is what gets lost in the translation

Still on the them of Hallowe'en, vampires and ghosts, the line in Hamlet Act 1 Scene 5, 
"I am thy father's spirit" 
was translated into Afrikaans as: 
"Ek is die pappa spook."
I am not sure if this is true but I hope it is. It certainly ought to be.

I read this in John Julius Norwich's inimitable Christmas Crackers, a strong candidate for my all time favourite book.
Poetry is what gets lost in the translation
said Robert Frost and that's the best definition of poetry that I know. 

Note: my Afrikaaner friend Carmen Jurgens has confirmed that 

"Ek is die pappa spook" 

is a perfectly possible translation of the line from Hamlet. 

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