Tuesday, December 14, 2004

I went off on a tangent today and wondered how many translations of Marot's poem "A une Damoyselle Malade" could be found on the Web. I thought there would be more because there are nearly a hundred in Hofstadter's book "Le Ton Beau de Marot" alone, and he encourages readers to write their own. Anyway, here's the list I found, using the first line rather than a title to refer to them because that's what I found most memorable:

Rather than provide my own translation, I wondered what Babelfish would provide. To get a decent approximation I had to remove line breaks (format as a paragraph), replace abbreviations with fully-spelled-out words, and modernize a couple words. My input:

Ma mignonne, je vous donne le bon jour; Le séjour, ce est prison. Guérison recouvrez, puis ouvrez votre porte et que on sorte vite, car Clément le vous commande. Va, friande de ta bouche, qui se couche en danger pour manger confitures; si tu dures trop malade couleur fade tu prendras et perdras le embonpoint. Dieu te donne santé bonne, ma mignonne.

Babelfish spit out (with me re-adding the line breaks as with the original):

My nice,
I give you
the good day;
The stay,
it is prison.
then open
your door
and that one left
because Clément
orders you.
Goes, fond of delicacies
of your mouth,
which lies down
in danger
to eat
if you hard
too sick
insipid color
you will take
and lose
the plumpness.
God gives you
good health,
my nice.

Not too bad, really, though I had to trick Babelfish to get it to be even that good.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Blogger,

I am Dutch writer Enno de Witt. I did not write Teder Wicht (=Tender Wench). When Douglas Hofstadter visited The Netherlands, I wrote a couple of articles on the subject. I also asked a couple of people who were involved in the visit to render their translation. The results were published in the Dutch weekly De Roskam. NRC Handelsblad even held a contest, and published six winning translations. For De Roskam I wrote this one:

Kijk, mijn ding
staat weer stijf.
Lekker wijf,
Kom snel hier,
Heerlijk dier.
Wat, geen zin?
Toe, begin.
Ben je ziek?
Geen paniek!
Mondje wijd,
geile meid.
Zuig eraan,
Blijf niet staan.
Lik mijn pik,
Dan spuit ik
Zonder rem
In je mond,
In het rond.
Slik het door,
Ga ervoor,
Want dit zaad,
helpt probaat.
Lekker ding,

Roughly this translates as:

My dear,
Look, my thing
Is stiff again.
Baby doll,
Get here quick,
Lovely girl.
What, don’t feel like it?
Come on, get started.
Are you ill?
No problem!
Open wide,
Horny chick.
Suck on it,
On your knees.
Lick my dick,
And I’ll squirt
No holding back
Love marmelade
In your mouth,
And all around.
Swallow it,
Just do it,
Because this seed
Will help immediately
Lovely thing,
My dear.

Yours truly,

Enno de Witt
The Netherlands

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