Friday, May 15, 2009

Poetry Friday -- In Translation

After the rain
A colorful slide is
made by sunlight


* * * * * * *

Rain falls
7 colors

* * * * * * *

River of 7 colors
Appear after rain.
In the blue sky it
Never ends.
Before it fades,
On the 7 colors let's take a
Walk in the beautiful sight.

* * * * * * *


After rain
the bridge with
7 colors
is coming

* * * * * * *

Colorful half-circle
Is in front of me.
Can I
Climb on it?

私の前 にあります。

One of my fourth graders used SIDE BY SIDE (a 2009 Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts that features poetry -- in the original language and translated into English -- inspired by art from around the world) as her mentor text for her poetry collection. She wrote some of her poems in Japanese and translated them to English, and she wrote some in English and translated them to Japanese. She struggled with the fact that her English acrostic was no longer an acrostic in Japanese, and her Japanese haiku was no longer a haiku in English. But she learned that such is the nature of translation. The online translator that I used to get the Japanese for her poems was also problematic. The three I've included aren't exactly as she wrote them, and the two I didn't include simply didn't mean the same thing as her poems.

Kelly Polark has the round up this week.


  1. What a lovely group of poems! Love the acrostic best of all. Wish I could read the Japanese translations!

  2. These are wonderful! Especially the last one. I want to climb on a rainbow!

  3. I love all the different forms and languages! What a colorful post!

  4. These are beautiful. Please tell your student well done.

  5. Beautiful! My favorite is the bridge with 7 colors, coming.

    Did you use Google translator? What a great idea for a poetry project. I am wondering if you had any native speakers to check the translation, or how you knew how good they were. More details please!

  6. Andromeda -- The child who wrote these poems is a native Japanese speaker and she is the one who checked the translations -- that's why I didn't include all of the translations -- she said they didn't make sense and/or didn't say what she had written. Which translator did I use? Dunno. I just used the first translator that came up when I googled "translate english to japanese" (or some such).

    This collection was a HUGE writing workshop celebration for me. This student not only felt comfortable (and committed to) writing in both Japanese and English, but she also read her favorite poem in Japanese and English to the whole class. I am proud of a workshop that honors ALL writers (especially in our diverse community of learners)!!


Comment moderation is turned on.