Author: Rena J. Mosteirin
Publisher: Counterpath Press (2021)
Experiment 116 is a creative deformance of Shakespeare's "Sonnet 116" using automatic machine translation. The poems begin in their original Shakespearean English and are then moved to another language, then another, then perhaps a third, and then back to English. In this way, the poem moves, the poem lives; it is reincarnated, reproduced, misunderstood, and mistaken. The essay that concludes the book explores how our practices of reading, writing, and revision can benefit from the use of free online translation tools. Experiment 116 invites readers to imagine translation errors and variants appearing during this process as a bridge between languages, striking unintentional emotional chords and producing creative depictions of life, as potentially codified by multi-lingual readers. In so doing, it enables a fugitive relation to idioms and stages a confrontation with multiple languages that function as the resources by which poets create, through language, cultural bridges. Experiment 116 asks its reader to consider automated algorithmic language translation as a site for the birth of a poetics of a global refugee idiolect.