When beginning this project it didn’t take long to realise what a delicate balancing act the translation of poetry is. The first dilemma: what to do about rhymes? It would be one heck of a coincidence if two rhyming words in one language literally translated into another rhyming pair in a different language. So what do you do – translate literally and change a rhyming poem into a non-rhyming one?
This approach seems quite common, and admirable, in a way. Personally though, I think such translations really lose something of the original, and while you get the actual words the poet used, you can’t enjoy their work nearly as much because of the stultifying, clunky translation that has drained the original of all life.
Therefore, in my translations, I have tried to be as true to the originals as possible, in terms of the poet’s choice of words and the placement of those words. However, I have also tried to keep the rhythm of the translations as close to the originals as possible. This means I have found my own words, occasionally inserted extras, and in the case of rhyming lines reorganised words. In this way, I hope to have kept the soul – the Catalanitat – of the original poem and avoided offending my Catalan friends, while allowing English-speaking readers to enjoy a poem that flows and reads as if it was written in English to begin with.