The problem translating a neologistic prose
The Argentinian/Belgian Julio Cortázar (1914-1984), in his novel Hopscotch (Rayuela), included paragraphs of invented words comprising what he called Gliglical language. Gliglical is a funny neologistic prose with an onomatopoetic, musical rhythm and phonetic innuendos. It is understandable for native speakers; however, translations are troublesome. In fact, translating to another language a narrative containing a combination of neologisms, colloquialisms, language-specific onomatopoeias, musical rhythm of prose and phonetic suggestions is translators’ biggest nightmare. The beginning of Chapter 68 in Spanish as written by Cortazar:
“Apenas él le amalaba el noema, a ella se le agolpaba el clémiso y caían en hidromurias, en salvajes ambonios, en sustalos exasperantes. Cada vez que él procuraba relamar las incopelusas, se enredaba en un grimado quejumbroso y tenía que envulsionarse de cara al nóvalo, sintiendo cómo poco a poco las arnillas se espejunaban, se iban apeltronando, reduplimiendo, hasta quedar tendido como el trimalciato de ergomanina al que se le han dejado caer unas fílulas de cariaconcia…”
Here is an English version translated by Gregory Rabassa
(New York: Pantheon Books, 1966)
“As soon as he began to amalate the noeme, the clemise began to smother her and they fell into hydromuries, into savage ambonies, into exasperating sustales. Each time that he tried to relamate the hairincops, he became entangled in a whining grimate and had to face up to envulsioning the novalisk, feeling how little by little the arnees would spejune, were becoming peltronated, redoblated, until they were stretched out like the ergomanine trimalciate which drops a few filures of cariaconce”.
To convey original musical rhythm and phonetic suggestions here is my translation of this erotic passage:
“Hardly he began to softmaleate her not-even-name-me when her lingeriette hitgalloped and both were smothered in lovejuice concentrate, in savage bothness with exasperatedly, frightening extra-systoles. Each time that he tried to relick the hairincops, he became entangled in a grimaceus spiral moaning and had to envulve to face the omphalic novalisk, feeling how, little by little, the arsenesses became reflectoriated, aplethorated, and everything redoublated, until he collapsed like the afterdropping from ergomanine trimalciate in a few filures of agenbite of inwit.”