Thanks to George Ttouli for translating some work in progress that I’d posted up here using various Oulipian techniques. I think it was Joe Dunthorne who introduced me to The Oulipo via his brilliant univocalisms. The following is a version of The Lord’s Prayer which has been put through Altavista’s Babelfish software about fifteen times. The Lord’s Prayer is great for this kind of thing because of the familiarity of its rhythms, vocabulary and syntax. Ross Sutherland has an excellent version using the Oulipian device N7. Please feel free to post your own versions!
Paternoster vs Babelfish
The new star inside one sky art, name our clean clay/tone father. Our daily newspaper, O bread inside, this day is the n among them. There; a thing which will decrease inside the world. It wants to make us future life. It excuses our infringement, our things, which are average, there at the head, that one. Those hurt. And the inside, which it places at their temptation, for it bothers, but… Thine the glorious kingdom of hazards, quantity of adjustment. And thus it continues. Amen.
Here’s my translation (after about 50 cycles):
The new establishment,
who conceives parents like new compilations.
The artistic grudge your name.
Deep inside a null value
It continues to liken. Yet with resistance, our
Futures will follow an original design.
Because of us, on this dangerous date, our lives
have been converted into bathtubs,
where some permeations are permitted and others are held illegal.
In opposing these intrusions
We create additional input
and end up on diabolic transport.
For us, it holds danger, force and reputation.
In this order, always.
Thanks for your inspiration Mr Sutherland! Amen.
The translation by Ross is inferior and lacking any good sense of language. If translations don’t extend the original source – and this clearly adds very little, if anything – then why waste time in printing them, even on a ‘all friends together’ blog?
Ezra, what is the biggest waste of time: Ross posting his translation on this blog, or you reading and then commenting on it?