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a mighty translator

March 31, 2009

I’m amazed that anyone could take a rhyming hymn, translate it into another language, and still make it rhyme! How do they do that? 

Ein’ feste Burg is unser Gott (Written in German by Martin Luther)

Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott,
Ein gute Wehr und Waffen;
Er hilft uns frei aus aller Not,
Die uns jetzt hat betroffen.
Der alt’ boese Feind,
Mit Ernst er’s jetzt meint,
Gross’ Macht und viel List
Sein’ grausam’ Ruestung ist,
Auf Erd’ ist nicht seingleichen.

A Mighty Fortress (Translated into English by Frederick H. Hedge) 

A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing;
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great,
And, armed with cruel hate,
On Earth is not his equal.

(I don’t know German, but it looks to me like the first version rhymes. Also, I’m not sure if the translation is accurate in meaning. Maybe you can enlighten me.)

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