How to translate Thai poetry?

  • Cà Văn Chung
  • Trần Vân Hạc


The vietnamese treasure of Thai poetry-based stories is extremely rich in both contents and art forms. It includes various categories ranging from simple to complex forms, from fewer to more words styles, from two-three to seveneight or more words in each sentence of an epic, the peotry may be independent of number of the letters, but can also be mixed, they can follow strict poetry rules but they can also be a poem with no prosody or rule breaking poem to create flexibility yet elegance. Many of the works have been translated into Vietnamese and taught in  schools, particularly the epic: "Xong chu xon xao - Darling farewell”. However, when it was to be translated into Vietnamese, each translator presented it in different forms: prose, free style, seven-sevensix-eight word verse... So what are basic features of Thai poetry and how should we translate them to preserve the integral contents and the distinct characteristics of the art of Thai poetry?

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