Un Docteur Anglophone Traduit Les Inquiétudes De Son Patient Avec Google/An English Speaking Doctor Translates the Concerns of his Patient with Google

écoute

à quoi bon être poète

 

beau dire

ce mal

semble dans la tête comme

marteau feu enclume clou couteau

ou l’éclat d’une baudroie ou des

aurores boréales

 

à la fin

pour ce qui importe

on fait toujours mauvais traduction

la douleur est un langue

où les mots sont minable tentative

à ce qu’on ne peut que vivre

dans le corp

 

écoute

docteur

toi qui connais

la souffrance

dis

simplement

ce mal d’aujourd’hui

je

m’en

tirerais

avec de l’aide

ou

est-ce une

peine de

mort

listening

what good is being poet

 

beautiful say

this pain

seems in the head like

hammer fire anvil nail knife

or the brilliance of a monkfish or

northern Lights

 

at the end

for what matters

we always do bad translation

pain is a language

where the words are shabby attempt

we can only live

in the body

 

listening

doctor

you who know

suffering

tell

simply

this evil of today

I

me

would shoot

with help

or

is it a

trouble

death

Grade levels
Grades 6-8 / Sec. 1 & 2
Grades 9-12 / Sec. 3-5 / CEGEP 1
Common Poetic Terms and Forms
Bibliographical info

Dominik Parisien, "Un Docteur Anglophone Traduit les Inquiétudes de Son Patient Avec Google/An English Speaking Doctor Translates the Concerns of his Patient with Google" from Side Effects May Include Strangers. Copyright © 2020 by Dominik Parisien.

Source: Side Effects May Include Strangers (Hugh MacLennan poetry series, 2020)

One line description
This bilingual poem expresses the limitations of understanding across languages when experiences become lost in translation.
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  1. Identify the literary devices used in the second and third stanzas of this poem.
     
  2. Read the poem left to right, line by line. What emotional effect do the grammatical and translation choices have for you as a reader?
     
  3. In a table, list the different characterizations and roles associated with the poet/patient and the doctor in this poem.
     
  4. In reading the last stanza, sum up the question the patient is asking of the doctor. How do you imagine the doctor might respond?
     
  5. Practice reciting this poem with a friend, with one person reciting in English, and the other in French, perhaps switching partway through. Try reciting line by line, stanza by stanza, and column by column. How many different combinations can you come up with?

 

Writing Exercise

Write a poem in French or English and use an online translator to transcribe a line-by-line translation of the poem in a parallel column.

 

Useful Links

Dominik Parisien Author Website

Shazia Hafiz Ramji Reviews Dominik Parisien’s Side Effects May Include Strangers - Hamilton Review of Books

The Acrobatics of Conveyance: Dominik Parisien's Side Effects May Include Strangers - ARC Poetry Magazine

Review by Manahil Bandukwala - Carousel Magazine

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