Abstract: Although it is broadly accepted that a poem is an indissoluble union of content and form, the translation of verse form is frequently overlooked in translation studies or has been addressed under rather prescriptivist approaches, with notable exceptions (Holmes 1994, Jones, 2011, among others).
This paper deals with the translation of the poetic form from a descriptivist perspective from a corpus of 69 Spanish translations of Shakespeare’s Sonnets published between 1877 (when the first translation appeared) and 2018 in Latin America and Spain. It addresses, particularly, the outer form or macrostructure of the poems using one sonnet of each translation as a prototype and considering five parameters, namely the use of prose or verse; the syllabic count; the stress pattern; the rhyme type (consonant, assonant or hybrid); and the rhyme scheme.
This analysis will serve as a basis for classifying these translations according to Holmes’ metapoem forms, two of which derive from form (the mimetic form, where the translator imitates the form of the original as best as they can, and the analogical form, where the translator chooses a form that fulfils a parallel function in the target literature); one that derives from content (organic form); and one that does not derive from either content or form (extraneous form) Once classified in these categories, this paper will propose a revision of Holmes’ model to accommodate the resulting forms.
The variety of solutions translators employ indicates that, while there are certain forms or patterns repeated throughout, there is no preferred way of rendering these sonnets, not even during a specific period. The only thing that seems to be constant is the preference for verse over prose.
Keywords: Poetry translation, Metapoem, Rhythm, Rhyme, Poetic form
This article is part of the doctoral thesis On the Translation of Verse Form. Shakespeare’s Sonnets into Spanish, which seeks to escape the frequent and defeatist idea of translation as loss and to avoid the prescriptivism attached to it. It xamines the translation of the poetic form from a broad perspective, starting from a corpus of 69 Spanish translations of Shakespeare’s Sonnets published in Latin America and Spain between 1877 (when the first translation appeared) and 2018.
The study primarily addresses three aspects, which can be summarised in three basic questions regarding the translation of poetic form: What do the translators say about it? What do they actually do? How do they do it?
How to cite
Escudero, T. (2021). The Translation of Verse Form. A Revision of Holmes’ Model Based on the Spanish Translations of Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Sendebar, 32, 7-29. https://doi.org/10.30827/sendebar.v32.16892