ONE-HANDED: A Note on the Possibilities of Google Translate as a Tool for Poetry

Glasgow Review of Books

By Juana Adcock

One-Handed was devised by Juana Adcock and Rahul Bery as an experimental translation project that paired Mexican and Scottish poets together. Rather than simply translating each other, as occurs in other projects pairing poets of different nationalities and languages, in One-Handed we followed a slightly more complicated formula: the Mexican poets re-wrote a source text in Spanish taken from the poetry collection Manca by Juana Adcock (Fondo Editorial Tierra Adentro, 2014). The resulting text was then both translated into English by a literary translator, and fed through Google Translate and sent to a Scottish poet, who used this “literal version” to produce their own translation of the poem. The source texts by Juana Adcock have been lost, decaying and falling away like a perishable item cast in plaster. Or alternatively, they can be found in the pages of the above-cited book. The focus of the One-Handed project…

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