26 December 2008

Kuwadro / Portrait 2

This is the last line of Kuwadro in Filipino: "Sambahin mo ako, sapagkat ako, ako, si Katerina Alonso, ang iyong reyna, ang reyna ng sarswelang filipina." This is how I translated that line into English in Portrait: "Worship me, kiss my feet, because I, I, Katerina Alonso, am your queen, the queen of the Filipino sarswela." I realized that the English "worship me," the literal translation of "sambahin mo ako," does not carry the same connotations the Filipino original has ("sambahin," a play on "simbahan" and "sambahan," alludes to a religious context), since I can say to a significant other "I worship you" or "I worship the ground you walk on" and be entirely secular. I added "kiss my feet," which is more idiomatic in English and has the right non-religious connotation, which would work better with a secular audience (Americans, as a rule, are not as obsessed about religion as Filipinos are). In Filipino, "kiss my feet" would literally translate into "halikan mo ang mga paa ko," which has no meaning, or at least does not have the meaning that the English text does. Incidentally, I deliberately wanted to allude to Nick Joaquin's famous story "The Summer Solstice" (1947), where the man in the last scene kisses the feet of the woman.

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