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Maybe the Best Prompt Ever!

I am so happy with this prompt and I think everyone will have fun with it, even if you just turn it into a party game!


Back in the 1990s, there was a writing exercise called Bad Translation (or something similar). You were to find a poem written in a language with which you were unfamiliar, and then “translate” it based on how you think the words sound. As you can imagine, the end results were generally nonsensical, but it was a fun way to get your creative juices flowing.


This week’s prompt is a rift on this old exercise, and can be done with prose and visual art,

besides poetry..


Below are some random sentences in a variety of languages. Find one sentence that is completely foreign to you and sound it out in your native language. You will likely need to “force” some of the unfamiliar words into something that is close to your own language. You do not need to make a translation that has the same number of words as the original sentence, but it should have the same number of syllables (or what you think are the syllables). Write down that sound translation, then revise it—gently—so that it makes sense. Use that sentence as your first sentence, line/s, or the theme of a visual art piece.


Here is an example:


Amen or petk’ e sksem surchov.


This is Armenian for “I must start each day with coffee” but we are only looking at the sounds, not the meaning.


I might sound-translate this into:

Amen! Or pet keys some search coy.


This makes no sense in English, so I might translate it into:

A man searches for his pet by jangling keys.

I know something, but I am coy.


Now I have the first 2 lines of a first draft!


So have fun and see where this prompt takes you and your imagination. Feel free to use more than one sentence as well. I will post the actual translations next Sunday with next week's prompt.


Here are your random sentences to turn into art:


Tá mo mhúinteoir ag múineadh ach nílím ag éisteacht mar níl suim agam sa stair.


Fotografia to bardzo popularne hobby, wielu entuzjastów wydaje ogromne pieniądze na sprzęt.


Sueño con ir al espacio sideral en un cohete espacial.


Sigarasız bölümde oturmak istiyoruz.


Kaigi wa ku-ji yogi okonawaremasu.


Ndixakekile imini nobusuku.


Er det noe ledig for i natt?


Diquenvsvi gega; agi yosi ale gvna awaduli.


Waongea kama mwingereza; unatoka wapi?


Khaste nabaashid va salaamat baashid.


Kailangan kong bumili ng isa pang libro.


Kuv ntim tag nrho kuv nkawm khau.


Dan huwa l-aktar kulleġġ famuż fil-belt.


ʻAʻole mākou hauʻoli i ka nānā ʻana i ka pôpeku.


Mwen ta renmen bwè frèt tanpri.


Asteburua baino lehen soineko berria erosi nahiko luke.


Così tante persone si rompono le gambe quando sciano.


Harbst iz der bester tsayt far kemping in di vald.


Cenedl heb iaith, cenedl heb galon.


Bună dimineaţa! Încântat de cunoştiinţă.


Chúng tôi sở hữu một trang trại và chúng tôi trồng dâu và nho.


Lopetin lääketieteellisen koulun monta vuotta sitten.


Fomos ao parque ontem e vimos muitos veados.


Ji turėtų baigti gaminti tą antklodę iki mėnesio pabaigos.


S’id valeur akooz nimoo ni miyaayaan.





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