Hungarian Poetry

[This is another non-serious post, I’m afraid. I’m writing a lot of serious stuff offline at the moment, and I can’t bring myself to be serious on the blog without feeling like a broken record]

My friend Ruben writes poetry. He blogs some of his work. By all accounts, he’s quite good. The only problem is he writes in Hungarian…

Now, I don’t speak Hungarian. Not even a word. I have a few friends that do, but I have no talent for languages what so ever (I’m still learning English). Translating Ruben’s poems is just not going to happen.

So, I have a new hobby – something that keeps me wryly amused on dull days. I translate Ruben’s poetry via Google. The results can be hilarious…

Today’s offering:

takarítok mintha én mindig is
takarítok takarítok
mintha egy foltot bujtatok
takarítok

Becomes:

cleaners as I have always been
cleaners cleaners
like a patch of loop
cleaners

Barmy.
Or:

“drótok a levegőben
telefonfák
néma szegek
huszonnégy órák

Which becomes the rather wonderful:

wires in the air
telefonfák
without pins
twenty-four hours

My best guess is that telefonfák is a mobile phone provider…

Have a go yourselves. Ruben’s blog is here, and the translation tool is here. If any Hungarian friends would like to provide true translations, I’d be interested to read the results…

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4 thoughts on “Hungarian Poetry

  1. That’s funny. I’m a subscriber to Ruben’s blog, occasionally he has posted in English, about a year ago, and those evoked in their stark way my memory of his manner of gentle, lucid and enigmatic observations. Perhaps google is not a million miles off. I have sometimes abused Jaap’s blog with the translation tool, I hadn’t thought to apply it here. On which, the Win-Win trailer promises much, worth a trip to Rotterdam, although there perhaps it will not be subtitled.

    http://rubenpoem.blogspot.com/2008/12/i-am-home.html

  2. Mary Frances says:

    I am sitting here with the most awesome Hungarian in the world, Marta Hegedus Burbeck. Her translations are as follows:

    I clean as if I always
    clean clean
    as if I camouflaged a stain
    I clean

    Wires in the air
    telephone trees [Marta says this is comparing a telephone pole to a tree]
    mute nails
    twenty-four hours

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