Translate a Poem
One poem can be translated in many different ways - close translations, 'freer' versions, after-images and metamorphoses of all kinds. With the help of the online workshop on the poem below we invite you to submit a version to add to the collection on this page. » View translations of previously featured poems
The Month of Katayien is Here
You do not need to have translated poetry before to have a go at translating this poem, nor do you need to speak Punjabi. The advice and the literal version provided in the workshop will help you to make your own version. You can submit it and any notes on your translation below.» Submit your version
Poem in translation
The month of Katayien is here (literal version)
The month of Katayien is here.
They say cranes arrive in this weather.
Slow wind blows imperceptibly
Certain coolness dissolves in the air
It seems this ancient city
Having travelled a long distance steadily
Has arrived on the limits of a new world
Houses are the same, so are the roads
However it seems something is strange
Same are the people
the dew in their eyes
has become indifferent to the separation and hopelessness
The month of Kattak has arrived
They say leaves fall (from trees) in this weather.
Two raindrops fell on the glass windowpane
and moving slowly joined hesitatingly
Then started slipping down together
As women folk get swayed with emotion all of a sudden while doing their chores
They wipe their tears and get on with their work in a sprightly fashion.
Help on translating this poem
The poem above, by Najm Hosain Syed, is the subject of the online poetry translation workshop by Amarjit Chandan below. You can listen to Najm Hosain Syed reading the poem in the video. We invite you to read the workshop, then translate this poem into English or any language you choose and comment on your process. With the help of the literal translation provided by Amarjit Chandan you do not need to understand Punjabi to make your own version. You might do different versions: one very close, one ‘freer’. You might also choose to move further away and write a poem that employs some or all of the poetic means employed by Najm Hosain Syed in Punjabi - some are detailed in the workshop. Your poem might be an image of the original – same emotional tenor – or, still employing the same strategies, one having an entirely different mood and sense. We hope to receive a number of versions and metamorphoses from visitors to this site, which if approved will be displayed above with the other translations.
You do not have to be a published poet or translator to send in your version, or to have ever translated a poem before. We welcome submissions from all. You can submit your version using the form below. Please note that submissions via this form for this project will not be considered for publication in MPT Magazine, and you should consult our submissions guidelines if you wish to submit something for publication.
Poetry Translation Workshop 2
The poem below is by Najm Hosain Syed, a distinguished name in modern Punjabi literature.
First listen to the poem read out by the poet. View video >>
The point of our exercise, whether you know Punjabi or not, is to understand how the poem works and by close reading and translation to try to see/understand what constitutes the poetry of it. And through a foreign languag...
One good translation deserves another
By Robert Hull
A line sailed back into mind recently, after several years’ absence: ‘Now autumn mars the green of hills, my gentle beasts.’
I couldn’t at first recall where it came from. But in a moment or so I found it in my Penguin Modern European Poets Quasimodo, translated by Jack Bevan in 1965, bought not long after. Other haunting lines in the same book were close to the surface of the m...
Poetry Translation Workshops
The MPT Editors have had the opportunity to run poetry translation workshops in schools, and as part of poetry courses such as Arvon, and poetry festivals including Aldeburgh over the last few years. They have also participated in a workshop organised by the British Council in Russia. MPT Board members such as Amarjit Chandan have also been involved in running poetry translation...
Submit your version
Translate a Poem
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