Lost in Translation: Urayoán Noel Gives Poet Cesar Vallejo a Digital Makeover

Radio Ambulante: Unscripted
Urayoan Noel

Urayoan Noel knows how to have fun with language and poetry. For one of his latest experiments, Noel took Cesar Vallejo, an iconic and widely recognized Peruvian poet, and put him through a digital translation process. He read poems from Cesar Vallejo’s Trilce into a voice-recognition program and wrote down the English translations that the software came up with. The result is an unintelligible English-language version of Vallejo’s already complex poems.

Here’s an example, with the original in Spanish followed by the English translation according to Noel’s voice-recognition program:

      Era era.

    Gallos cancionan escarbando en vano.

Boca del claro día que conjuga.

era era era era.                                             

    Data Data

    Dido scans the owner is co-bundle in buying

oh and I will be ethical to

a data in data and data       

So what did Noel learn about Vallejo after putting him through this digital translation process? In this episode Noel talks to host Daniel Alarcón about this and other experiments in poetry and translation.

You can read more about Urayoán Noel and his work on his personal website, and you can also follow him on Twitter: @urayoannoel.

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