The Russian Legacy website (“We seek to preserve and promote the study of Russian history, culture and language”) has a poetry section with pages for a couple dozen poets, each having poems in facing Russian and English versions. (Via wood s lot.)


  1. How dare they publish those awful translations…
    Translating Gumilev with a dictionary?!
    “I do not know if Gumilev would like my translation, or if he used the Russian word grot to mean grotto, or its other meaning, mainsail. This interpretation would continue the comparison of the movement of the giraffe to that of a gliding boat, and give the line: When at sunset he disguises himself as a marble sail.”
    Marble sail indeed…

  2. Well, blame Lindsay Malcolm, not the site. I like the fact that they give four different translations of Zhiraf (each with the Russian en face); it gives you a chance to see how different translators deal with the same text (even if one of them may have been only marginally competent…).

  3. Agree with john k.: just look at their Pushkin translations, one’s better than the other. I wish there were patented process of “reliterating”, or turning “grafoman” to the state of illiteracy again.

  4. Oh dear. Those Pushkin versions are vile. Sorry about that.

  5. Pushkin translations are all equally vile compared to the original. Except those following the Nabokov method, of course.
    Note that some translations aren’t attributed at all. The owner of the site is not explicitly dislosed either, but the Russian version says it’s sponsored by LangBridge, Inc. (–a translation company, it turns out.

  6. PlasticPaddy says

    Maybe translators are intimidated by Pushkin. Here’s a try:
    На холмах Грузии лежит ночная мгла…

    На холмах Грузии лежит ночная мгла;
    Шумит Арагва предо мною.
    Мне грустно и легко; печаль моя светла;
    Печаль моя полна тобою,
    Тобой, одной тобой… Унынья моего
    Ничто не мучит, не тревожит,
    И сердце вновь горит и любит – оттого,
    Что не любить оно не может.

    Night fog blankets Georgian hills,
    Aragva murmurs over stones;
    My brooding heart is bright and fills
    Entirely with you alone.
    Nothing can darken my gloom, nor turn
    My gloom to a more active state.
    My heart lights up with love and burns;
    My heart can only love and wait.

Speak Your Mind