Homophonic Translation

Decent Essays
In this letter I endeavor to properly relate to you my understanding of your homophonic experiment, hereon referred to as HE. I must admit, your work rather startled me: the only homophonic translation of a musical song. In fact, it took me a moment to discover what you had translated. Upon a second close reading, and internet surfing, I discovered the answer: “Do You Hear the People Sing?” from Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Les Misérables, hereon referred to as OP. Interestingly enough, the song is already a translation itself from French to English, originally titled “À la volonté du peuple”, literally “To the Will of the People”. The show itself is a translation: from novel to musical. A revolutionary call for people to overcome …show more content…
These words are unfamiliar: yew, daub, doss, hove, yore, iliac, dup, med, and sough. This odd diction, and the anomalous amalgamation of words into nonsensical phrases, resulted in an irrational, jarring tone, a complete contrast to the OP with its meaningful sentences and phrases. By transforming the sentences into random word clusters, you created chaos, a mockery of the call to fight for freedom, even with violence and even at the cost of life. To further ignite the chaos, there is less rhyme in HE, lines 5 and 7 and lines 10 and 12, while OP has a several rhyming pairs or groups of lines. In OP, only lines 1, 3, and 13 do not have an end rhyme partner, resulting in a perceived unity. The rhyme also assists in the musical quality of the OP, emphasizing words and giving prominence along with the melody. The lack thereof in the HE removes the pattern, shattering the links between ideas and images, a structural reflection of the jumbled words that provide little meaning when strung …show more content…
For example: ‘people’ becomes ‘feeble’, ‘th-’s become ‘d-’s, and ‘h’s come before ‘i’s. Also, ‘drums’ becomes ‘glums’, ‘v’ becomes ‘b’ in line 9, an ‘r’ emerges in line 13, likewise an ‘f’ disappears in line 14. The discrepancies lead to stumbles in the reading of HE, contrasting the determined and unabashed pompousness of OP, and slightly masking any likeness between the two. Having liberty with consonants also further mocks the goals of the OP: with stumbling chaos, the HE gives a concrete example of the negative effects of ‘liberty’ in the wrong context: liberty with consonants, freedom of maneuvering, only adds to the chaos rather than setting

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