There and Back Again: Translation Shenanigan 1

My tale of ultimate reproductive agency, ‘Cryptic Female Choice’ (Interzone 271), was translated into Mandarin by the inimitable Ladon Gao and sold to Works/作品. It shared the January 2020 issue with Nobel Prize winner Mo Yan.

I took Ladon’s first paragraph and fed it to Google for translation back to English. The result is interesting. Part of the linguistic drift is Ladon’s deliberate stylizing (He did a superb job and his choices totally worked). The rest of the drift is Google hallucinating, but all in all it didn’t do so bad.

So, my original opening paragraph, then Ladon’s version, then Google’s English rendering of Ladon’s Chinese:

In the dream-state of my polyploidal mixing fever, I see your fathers as they were. I smell and touch them again: Henry, Jinshuo, Hadi, Arkady. Each is beautiful in his own way. I meet them and fall for them again, as though for the first time. And I have sex with them again.

我陷入混沌,恍如梦幻。多倍体热——“混合你”的代价之一,令我意识模糊。我看见了你的父亲们。还是当年的模样。再一次地,我呼吸着他们气息,触碰着他们的肌肤:亨利、金硕、哈迪、阿卡迪,每一位都有独特的美。我再一次与他们相见,与他们坠入爱河,仿佛仍是初次。然后再一次,我们进入彼此。

I fell into chaos, like a dream. Polyploidy fever-one of the costs of “mixing you” makes me confused. I saw your fathers. Still the same as it was back then. Once again, I breathed their breath and touched their skins: Henry, Jin Shuo, Hardy, Arkadi, each has a unique beauty. I met them again and fell in love with them, as if it was still the first time. Then again, we enter each other.

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