The Eclipse: a translation in American Sign Language

The poem The Eclipse by American poet Richard Eberhart (1904 - 2005), is translated into ASL by Jolanta Lapiak. The video shows an interpreted poem in ASL that it shows how grammatical elements are arranged in harmony.

The Eclipse

I stood out in the open cold
To see the essence of the eclipse
Which was its perfect darkness.
I stood in the cold on the porch
And could not think of anything so perfect
As mans hope of light in the face of darkness.

By Richard Eberhart, American poet (1904 - 2005).

The process of translation

Since every language has a different grammatical structure that, thus, affects the structure of the poem or another element, I rearranged the structure a bit to maintain the concept of the poem and the grammatical harmony in ASL in a different structure from the original poem.

For example, my opening began with the scene ("open cold") which comes before "I stood". It began with the description of the scene and context before it comes to the details. It is known as "topicalization" in ASL.

Another example in my ASL translation is that the ASL phrase "hope of light" occurs at the end after the phrase "in the face of darkness." It is logical and harmonious in this way. If it were to follow the order of words in the last line in this original poem, the translation in ASL would probably result in, like, "flattening out the flame or light of hope". The last line in this English works well but translation can result in a different concept if the same structure is preserved. In interpretation from a language to another, concept is a paramount to preserve the meaning.

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