I stumbled upon a discussion about a book, which had a reference to a verse in Russian. Few of the readers of that site are speakers of the Russian language, so some wondered what the meaning of the verse was.
I realized that answering their question was not trivial, because translations are always tricky when you want to do the job well.
Here is how the challenge was described: Please translate this into English, without asking me anything. Just translate it as you think is better, preserving the artistic value.
Ya poet, zovus' Neznaika,
ot menya vam balalaika.
Я поэт, зовусь Незнайка,
От меня вам балалайка.
You can see several problems already:
- Neznaika is a character known to people with exposure to the Russian culture, others have no clue who he is;
- Balalaika is a Russian musical instrument, there is no translation for this word;
- No context is given, and it is emphasized that no questions should be asked - therefore the translator will have to fill in the blanks with something (I believe this is the coolest part of the challenge).
Before you continue reading, try to come up with your own version.
What is ahead? Different people's interpretations, an analysis of the task, as well as a new challenge.
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