AKA Release valves are vital.
In the last week I have had to start my transcription over. Thankfully I only had a few words and lines translated here and there so I wasn’t losing too much by way of actual translations. But it is disheartening to discover on line 120 that you skipped line 20 all the way back on the first page and so need to rip everything out and start over (No I’m not a perfectionist, I don’t know what you’re talking about).
This led to more tasty beverage consumption than was probably advisable. Next thing I know there are social media posts regarding drinking and translating with the line:
“Shut up Seadude / Shit’s what we’ll pay you.”
As an argument for why drunk translations ought not happen. That line is arguably accurate by the way, both in verse style and meaning. That still doesn’t make translating the whole poem into competing frat parties a good idea.
Or does it?
There comes a point in every project, for me anyway, where you need a release. You need something to bring it around from being torture to being fun and entertaining again. You need something to help you slog through. You get slap happy and your options are A. Make fun of it. or B. kill it with fire. When working on Beowulf: The Event there were several moments of this. My entire plan of make a bunny and read it’s fake entrails was done as a stress relief for my first competition piece.
Now am I saying you should publish your out there translations? Perhaps. Unfortunately or not by publishing that one line I’ve now retitled that entire section, which is the one I’ll be taking to perform. And now I’m tempted to translate the whole section like that as this project goes on.
On the one hand, publishing release valve pieces can be fun. You get people to laugh and connect with the piece in ways they may not have before.
On the other hand? You run the risk of that being the sort of work you’re known for. This is the sort of thing that’s memorable. It’s also the sort of thing that’ll ruffle feathers from Very Serious Scholars. Which is perfectly fine if you don’t care about those things.
Me? I need to not light everything on fire more than I need to pretend that these works weren’t the pop culture of their day. So I’m going to continue to publish and post little bits like that. You may not. There’s no shame either way.
When in doubt just remember: Shakespeare is made of comic relief and dick jokes. You’re allowed to laugh at period pieces.