All literary translation involves aspects of ‘self-translation’ but what additional factors come into play when one translates poems one has written in one language into one or more other languages? Ian Campbell discusses this question in two case studies in the light of his experiences in self-translating poems into new contexts.
Firstly, writing a poem, ‘Leaving Beirut,’ in 1989 in English, with publications in English in various Arabic-language publications in Sydney from 1991-1994; then in two Australian poetry anthologies in 1999 and 2002. He later translated the poem into Indonesian, with publication in 2003 in the literary pages of a West Java mass media publication, and various performance readings by Indonesian poets and students in West Java over the years 2004-2013.
Secondly, writing a poem, ‘Valle de Elqui,’ in Spanish in 2008, then translating it into Indonesian in 2011, with publication in 2012 in the literary pages of KOMPAS, the largest circulation paper/mass media outlet in Jakarta. In 2017 UTS e-journal, PORTAL, e-published the poems in three languages, including a version in English.
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Ian Campbell is an Honorary Research Associate, Department of International Studies: Languages and Cultures at Macquarie University. For more than thirty years he was a Commonwealth public servant in Sydney and he developed interests in literatures and translation following contacts and liaison with various ethnic communities in Sydney.
His academic research and publications have primarily been in the fields of Indonesian literatures, especially poetry, and in Latin American literature, with recent
publications and conference presentations on the literary/cultural afterlife of Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda (1904-1973). In 2002-2012 he had publication of poetry written in Indonesian published in Jakarta and West Java mass media and literary e-journals. His papers and various digital contributions in this field are in the National Library of Australia, with some audio materials from Indonesian visits (2004- 2007) also in the National Film and Sound Archives.