Is poetry translatable?

Sometimes literature could be enriched by translation. But in general people think there  are problemes connected with something we call in germany "Texttreue" (fidelity/loyalty to a text). Should a translator be more directed to the words and form of a text or to the content? Of course both are connected, but in which way and is it able to translate the connection between form and content? For example "Les Fleurs du Mal" (Baudelaire). I have two translations. One is written in a very rigid one trying to keep the metre, the rhyme and rhythm. The second one is a prose-translation. I don't want to judge because both TOGETHER give us two approaches to ask about the connection of form and content by emphasizing the one or the other aspect. The reader has the chance to synthesize them to a whole. Translation is a question of analysing and transmitting of something (the connection of the two aspects mentioned above). Perhaps we now realise that the question of translation is not just reduced to the question of translation between different languages only. Even in ones own language one has to translate a poem. All the chiffres have to be translated from the sphere of giving-the-meaning (meanging has to be given by someone to something in a sphere where someone and something are related to each other) and the sphere of meaning (a reservoir of meanings from which the author borrows the things and meanings) and the linguistic means to reception. Even an author could not know all the meanings he transmits unintentionally. And to have the same passport does not necessarily mean to understand the language of the neighbour. Perhaps we grasp the surface of what someone said but all the associations are more than social. Not everyone in a society has the same associations with 'sky or skin' - meaning is not determined. It is a matter of an ongoing negotiation from individual to individual, from group to group and so on and from context to context.

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Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

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  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
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Apple COO Jeff Williams discusses Apple Watch Series 4 during an event on September 12, 2018, in Cupertino, California. The watch lets users take electrocardiogram readings. (Photo: NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images)
Sponsored by Northwell Health
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A teenager eyes her smartphone as people enjoy a warm day on the day of silence, one day prior to the presidential elections, when candidates and political parties are not allowed to voice their political meaning on April 14, 2018 in Kotor, Montenegro. Citizens from Montenegro, the youngest NATO member, will vote for a new president on Sunday 15 2018. (Photo by Pierre Crom/Getty Images)
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