The Stephen Spender Prize 2015 Plagiarism

Case 1
Case 2
Case 3
How translations differ
Indicators of plagiarism
Allen Prowle's commentaries
Judges'comments
Plagiarism is a crime

Sources



Case 1.
  Compilation: Bart FM Droog, December 2015
version: 09-12-2015.

This page is part of Droog -
online magazine for dry facts

and belongs to this article:
'Kopland-vertalingen geplagieerd'
         
    Origineel Vertaling Groenewegen Vertaling Prowle
   
    EEN KORAAL
A CHORALE CHORALE
   
    Volgens zijn tijdgenoten was Johann Sebastian Bach
een virtuoos organist – hij speelde met
een onnavolgbare ‘Leichtigkeit’
According to his contemporaries Johann Sebastian Bach was
a virtuoso organist – he played with
an inimitable ‘Leichtigkeit’
According to his contemporaries, Johann Sebastian Bach
was a virtuoso organist – he played
with a matchless 'Leichtigkeit'
   
    lichthandigheid zou je het kunnen noemen, maar dan zo
licht dat het was alsof het geen handen waren
die speelden
light-handedness you could call this, but then so
light that it seemed as if it weren’t hands
that were playing
light-handedness you might call that, but then
so light it seemed as though no hands
were playing
   
    ik vermoed dat ik wel weet hoe het klonk
alsof ik hoor hoe hij het zelf is die daar boven
in deze kerk in die kleine machinekamer
muziek zit te maken
I think I know how it sounded
as if I can hear it’s the man himself
up there in this church in his tiny engine room
making music
I feel I know how it sounded
as though I hear him up there
in this church sitting in his little engine room
making music
   
    je hoort het eeuwenoude mechaniek, het gekreun
van scharnieren, het geklepper van toetsen
het gekraak van de vloer, het zuchten van wind
hoe er van lucht muziek wordt gemaakt
you can hear the age-old mechanism, the groaning
of hinges, the clatter of keys
the floor creaking, the wind sighing
how music is made out of air
you can hear the ancient mechanism, the moan
of hinges, the clattering of keys
the creaking of the floor, the wind sighing how
out of air music is made
   
    en er een koraal langzaam door de ruimte zweeft
als een onzichtbare gewichtloze vogel
Leichtigkeit
and a chorale slowly floats through this space
as an invisible weightless bird
Leichtigkeit
and slowly through this space a chorale floats
like some invisible weightless bird
Leichtigkeit
         
    © Rutger Kopland
From: Verzamelde Gedichten
Publisher: Uitgeverij G.A. van Oorschot, Amsterdam, 2007

© Translation: Willem Groenewegen
From: What Water Left Behind: Rutger Kopland
Publisher: Waxwing, Dublin, 2005
'Translated' from the Dutch by Allen Prowle


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Case 2.
   
         
    Origineel Vertaling Brockway Vertaling Prowle
         
JOHNSON BROTHERS LTD JOHNSON BROTHERS LTD JOHNSON BROTHERS LTD
Vroeger toen mijn vader nog groot was,
in de uitpuilende zakken van zijn jas
gevaarlijk gereedschap, in zijn pakken
de geuren van geplozen touw en lood,
achter zijn ogen de onbegrijpelijke wereld
van een man, een gasfitter eerste klas
zei moeder, hoe anders heb ik mij moeten
voelen vroeger toen hij de deuren sloot
voor haar en mij.
In those days when my father was still big,
dangerous tools in the bulging pockets
of his jacket, in his suits the odours
of teased-out twine and lead,
behind his eyes the incomprehensible world
of a man, gas-fitter, first class,
said mother, in those days how different
my feelings were, when he would shut the doors
on her and me.
Back then, when my father towered still,
in the bulging pockets of his jacket
dangerous tools, in his suits the smell
of frayed twine and of lead,
behind his eyes the unfathomable world
of a man, a gas fitter first class
my mother said, how differently I felt
back then when he shut the doors
on her and me.
         
  Nu is hij dood, ben ik ineens zo oud als
hij, blijkt tot mijn verbazing dat ook in hem
verval was ingebouwd. In zijn agenda zie ik
afspraken met onbekenden, aan zijn muur
kalenders met labyrinten van gasleidingen,
op de schoorsteenmantel het portret van
een vrouw in Parijs, zijn vrouw, de onbegrijpelijke
wereld van een man.
Now he is dead and I am suddenly as old as he,
it turns out to my surprise that he too had
decay built into him. In his diary I see
appointments with persons unknown, on his wall
calendars with gas-pipe labyrinths,
on the mantelpiece the portrait of a woman
in Paris, his woman, the incomprehensible
world of a man.
Now he's dead and I am suddenly as old,
it strikes me, with surprise, degeneration
could be built into him too. In his diary I see
appointments made with people unknown, calendars
with gas pipeline labyrinths on his wall,
on the mantelpiece the picture
of a woman in Paris, his woman, the unfathomable
world of a man.
         
  Kijkend in het porseleinen fonteintje uit
de dertiger jaren met de twee lullige leeuwen:
Johnson Brothers Ltd, hoog in het dood-
stille huis het droevige sloffen van moeder,
jezus christus vader, komen de tranen
om nu en om toen, vloeien ze samen
in het lood van de zwanenhals,
niet meer te scheiden van de druppels
uit het koperen kraantje met cold.
Looking into the little hand-basin of porcelain
dating from the ’thirties, with its silly pair of lions,
Johnson Brothers Ltd, high up in the dead-still
house the shuffle of mother’s slippers,
Jesus Christ, father, here come the tears
for now and for then – they flow together
into the lead of the swan-neck pipe,
no longer separable from the drops that come
from the little copper tap marked “cold”.
Looking into the porcelain wash basin
from the 'thirties, with its two pathetic lions,
Johnson Brothers Ltd, high up in the dead-
still house mother's sad shuffling, Jesus Christ,
father, now the tears are coming
for now and for then, flowing together
into the lead of the swan's neck bend,
separable no more from the water dripping
from the copper tap marked 'cold'.
         
    © 1968, Rutger Kopland
From: Alles op de fiets
Publisher: G.A. van Oorschot, Amsterdam, 1968
© Translation: 2001, James Brockway
From: Memories of the Unknown
Publisher: The Harvill Press, London, 2001
'Translated' from the Dutch by Allen Prowle

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    Case 3 (three more suspected cases of plagiarism)
     
    Clue 1

Stephen Romer
, 'Stephen Spender prize – a judges’s perspective'. The Guardian, Saturday 7 November 2015

(...)  The judges – Josephine Balmer, Katie Gramich, WN Herbert and myself – shortlisted all five of Allen Prowle’s superb translations of Dutch poet Rutger Kopland, and eventually chose as the winner the elegiac “Johnson Brothers Ltd”, a moving memory of the poet’s father. (...)

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2015/nov/07/stephen-spender-prize-judges-perspective

Clue 2

In his 'translation commentary' Allen Prowle mentions three other poems of Rutger Kopland: 'Breughel's Winter', 'Time' and 'I Cavalli di Leonardo'.

It can be deduced that these are the titles of the other three translations he submitted.

Source: Allen Prowle. 'Translation commentary' under 'Open category, commended', Stephen Spender Trust, 2015.http://www.stephen-spender.org/2015_prize/2015_Open_commend_AP.html

Clue 3


English translations of Rutger Koplands poems 'Een koraal', 'Johnson Brothers Ltd', 'Tijd' and 'I Cavalli di Leonardo' can easily be found on the internet, since, at least, June 2014* and 'Breughel's winter' even since November 2008*

* according to The Internet Archive.
https://web.archive.org/web/20140626173715/http://www.poetryinternationalweb.net/pi/site/poet/item/4035

** http://inwardboundpoetry.blogspot.nl/2008/11/738-breughels-winter-rutger-kopland.html


Clue 4

The complete works of Rutger Kopland consist of approximately 500 poems. Only a handful of these were previously translated into English. It can be called rather a coincidence that Mr Prowle choose to 'translate' five of these poems with already existing translations. And all five of them were already published on the internet.

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    Examples how translations by different translators of the same poem differ:

In de 'David Reid Poetry Translation Prize (2006-2011)' bogen zich jaarlijks bijna twntig vertalers onafhankelijk van elkaar over één klassiek Nederlands gedicht. Wat in de verschillende versies direct opvalt zijn de grote verschillen.

Om dat extra te benadrukken worden onderstaand het beginfragment van een van 's Nederlandse bekendste gedichten, 'Herinnering aan Holland' van H. Marsman, en een aantal van de vertalingen getoond.

Zie voor alles over de 'David Reid Poetry Translation Prize én de verschillende gedichten met de tientallen vertalingen:
http://subtexttranslations.com/drptp/drptp.html

    'Herinnering aan Holland'          
               
    Denkend aan Holland
zie ik breede rivieren
traag door oneindig
laagland gaan, (...)

H. Marsman (1899-1940)
Thinking of Holland
I see wide-flowing rivers
slowly traversing
infinite plains, (...)

Paul Vincent, 2006
Thinking of Holland
I see broad lazy rivers
flowing through infinite
low-lying land, (...)

Renée Delhez, 2006
Thinking of Holland
I see broad rivers going
a slow pace through
endless low land, (...)

Jean Hellwig, 2006
Thinking of Holland
I see wide rivers
flowing slowly
through low-lying land, (...)

David Colmer, 2006
 

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    Possible indicators of plagiarism in poetry translation

John Irons, professioneel poëzievertaler en plagiaatspecialist, heeft in de loop der jaren een aantal overeenkomsten in verschillende plagiaatgevallen op het gebied van poëzievertalingen ontdekt. Die overeenkomsten zijn zo sterk dat ze als mogelijke indicatoren voor plagiaat gezien kunnen worden. Irons:

Since poetry is divergent rather than convergent in its use of language (denotation and unambiguity are often less important in poetry than associations and ambiguities), it would be surprising to find long strings of identical words in two original translations of a poem. So the indicator here would be:

• a high percentage of identical strings of words

In order to mask plagiarism, the plagiarist will often resort to shifting syntactic units into different positions in the sentence and/or substituting synonyms for certain words.

• shifting of position of syntactic units
• synonymn substitution

If the original translator has chosen either an unusual word/expression or to opt for a different word for other reasons, the plagiarist often has unwittingly copied this.

• the copying of unexpected words or expressions

If the plagiarist is ignorant of (the finesses) of the original language, these synonyms often deviate from the main denotation of the original word, or are stylistically wrong.

• deviation of meaning/style

Furthermore, a lack of understanding of the original means that the changes mark an incorrect shirt of emphasis, or even complete omissions

• incorrect shift of emphasis/omissions

Deze gevallen doen zich allemaal voor in Prowle's 'vertalingen'.

Zie het complete rapport van John Irons over 'Een koraal'/ 'Chorale' op:
http://www.bartfmdroog.com/droog/een%20koraal.pdf

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Allen Prowle's commentaries

Translation commentary
['Johnson Brothers Ltd']

This was the first of Kopland's poems that I read. The name of a Stoke on Trent company famous for bathroom and sanitary ware would have been odd as the title of an English poem, but seemed somehow odder as that of one in Dutch. The incongruity faded away as I was drawn into the evocation of an experience that I realised was mine. Those people closest to me, my mother and father, were the ones I knew least about. Their lives before I arrived were and largely remain a closed book. This Dutch interior became as real as a painting by Vermeer or Nicolaes Maes and just as 'human', the objects of its composition simply more part of our time.

Poetry is essentially an aural form: you read with your ears. It is not just an affinity of experience that makes this poem so compelling for me. As always with Kopland you are immediately involved in a conversation and soon feel part of his intimate circle. You know your way around the house and try to remember which company supplied your own family's bath taps.

Thanks to this electronic age I have been able to listen many times to his own reading of this and others of his poems. This has helped me to identify its phonemic patterns and has guided my translation. Dutch is, like English, an uninflected language and relies more on assonance and consonance than full rhyme. I have made frequent use of such slant rhyme, both internally and at the ends of lines, in an attempt to contain the iambic pulse of the translation within a binding structure. In the third stanza, I have translated the original finite verbs into participles in order to convey that sense of irresistible release of memory and feeling Kopland expresses.

Allen Prowle
Source: http://www.stephen-spender.org/2015_prize/2015_Open_1st_AP.html

Translation commentary ['Chorale']

Ekphrasis is much loved by Kopland. To my own knowledge this is the only one which is a response to a musical composition. There are several poems which respond to paintings, his 'Breughel's Winter' for example, and 'Time' in which he imagines Rembrandt in the last self-portraits seeing 'where he is going into a distance beyond our eyes'. His trained scientific mind seems to have accepted that the artistic mind was able to reach into places and experiences that defied logical and rational examination. For instance, in 'I Cavalli di Leonardo' he imagines da Vinci, a scientifically inclined artist, meticulously making innumerable sketches of the muscular system, the sinews, 'the whole machinery' that enabled a horse to move, an 'endless series of repetitions' which finally he discards. There are so many things that simply defy any explanation. The organ played by Bach, perhaps in Weimar or Halle, would seem to have been the most unlikely instrument for the transmission of his sublime music. But it succeeded. Kopland evokes the inharmonious din of the church organ in its engine room, counterpointing it with the ethereal lightness of the music that is being performed. My version tries to produce this contrast of opposites by setting lines with a predominance of strong stresses against the final four lines which have hardly any discernible stress. This explains why I chose to end line 13 with the stressed 'how', so that the next line would begin without emphasis and therefore set up some idea of 'Liechtigkeit'. 

Allen Prowle
Source: http://www.stephen-spender.org/2015_prize/2015_Open_commend_AP.html
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Judges' comments (on the Rutger kopland 'translations')

Disappeared from the Stephen Spender Trust-site on 8 december 2015

Josephine Balmer: “Our overall winner, Allen Prowle, presented five consummately accomplished translations of perhaps lesser-known Dutch poet Rutger Kopland, any of which could have won, although in the end we settled on the poignant 'Johnson Brothers Ltd'.”

Katie Grimich: “Many of the winning and commended entries are translations of works by contemporary poets I had not previously read, notably Rutger Kopland.”

WN Herbert: “I hardly knew of Rutger Kopland. But, as with last year, I felt that the winner was self-evident, and that any of these poems could have been it. In fact, 'Johnson Brothers Ltd' brings together almost all the elements admired above: an intense elegiac grasp of terrible change almost as an artefact positioned in time, revisited emotionally in the same way as a poem is re-read. I highly commend Allen Prowle's ability to make this just as much of a revelation in English.”

Stephen Romer: “Allen Prowle's versions of contemporary Dutch poet Rutger Kopland, whose wry and moving work delighted us. Of the five translations submitted, three were potential competition winners. 'Johnson Brothers Ltd', a moving memory of the poet's father, emerged as our favourite. Kopland deserves to be better known outside his native Holland, and if the prize draws attention to his work so much the better.”

These comments wewre to be found on this page http://www.stephen-spender.org/2015_prize/2015_judges_comments.html from the Stephen Spender Trust-site, from ca. 7 November 2015 untill the evening of 8 december 2015. Coincidentally the same day that news regarding this plagiarism case was published in English.


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Plagiarism is a crime


Omdat het plagiaat dat Prowle pleegde gebeurde met materiaal waar auteursrechten op zitten, schond hij het auteursrecht/copyright van de vertalers. Dat recht geldt tot 70 jaar na de dood van de makers.

De wetgeving op dit gebied is helder:

"These offences [= copyright infringement - dat is wat plagiaat óók is] are punishable by a maximum of two years imprisonment (...) maximum fine of 50.000 pounds.**
In Nederland is de wetgeving en bestraffing vrijwel identiek – omdat deze voortvloeit uit de Berner conventie van 1886 – waarop de internationale Auteursrechtenwetgeving gestoeld is.

Voor Nederland:
http://wetten.overheid.nl/BWBR0001854/EersteBoek/TitelII/Artikel23/
geldigheidsdatum_06-12-2015

Voor het Verenigd Koninkrijk:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/
file/446515/Changes_to_penalties_for_online_copyright_infringement.pdf

De wet betreffende auteursrecht etc. is te vinden op:

77. Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/48/section/77 (en volgende secties).


  
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    Sources

http://www.poetryinternationalweb.net/pi/site/poem/item/16667/auto/0/A-CHORALE
http://www.poetryinternationalweb.net/pi/site/poem/item/4494/auto/0/JOHNSON-BROTHERS-LTD
http://inwardboundpoetry.blogspot.nl/2008/11/738-breughels-winter-rutger-kopland.html
http://www.poetryinternationalweb.net/pi/site/poem/item/4512/auto/0/TIME
http://www.poetryinternationalweb.net/pi/site/poem/item/4490/auto/0/I-CAVALLI-DI-LEONARDO
http://www.stephen-spender.org/2015_prize/2015_Open_1st_AP.html (verwijderd 08-12-2015)
http://www.stephen-spender.org/2015_prize/2015_Open_commend_AP.html
http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2015/nov/07/stephen-spender-prize-judges-perspective
http://subtexttranslations.com/drptp/drptp.html

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