This is what makes artistic translation so difficult but so fun and rewarding. I like your example about the two Russian words for blue, and to take it a step further, the Russian word for light blue is seen as a very feminine color, and in fact is sometimes used as a mild slur against gay men. Sort of like pink might be in English.

So when translating a poem or a song, something I like to do for fun once in a while, you have to exercise your brain even harder. It’s one thing to understand the meaning in your own head. It’s another entirely to translate the passage into English so that it makes sense and sounds nice at the same time.

Once the pandemic-related social distancing is over, by the way, another great resource for exercising a language is meetup.com. Language socializing groups are very popular on that service.

I had a lot of fun in Detroit for years getting together a couple of times a month with a group of French speakers for coffee or drinks and conversation.

Written by

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store