Creativity in translation

Translating for WordPress themes and plugins is a repetitive work for most of the time. Filled with technical words and jargon, only a minority of the texts requires quite a bit of creativity.

One of the most infamous strings in WordPress would be ‘Cheatin’ uh?’. This string was a general catch-all error message. For many years, many WordPress users would have seen the screen without any useful context to it. Why did the action fail? Was it a plugin, or was it a permission setting? No one knew. Some deemed it as insulting for various reasons.

As taken from WP Tavern.

There were a couple of Trac tickets filed over this phrase so that it can be removed from WordPress core. The last of ‘Cheatin’ uh?’ was weeded out in 4.9.5. You can still see this in the Jetpack plugin though.

While going through Gutenberg plugin’s new strings for Simplified Chinese translations, I stumbled upon a phrase that would seemingly make no sense… 

A block for haiku? 
Why not?
Blocks for all the things!
(See what we did here?)

This phrase is the description for the Verse block for Gutenberg. Rather than describing the block as a style block for a poetic work, the developers choose to use haiku to deliver the meaning. Such delivery usually means that the translator would have to exercise some creativity to deliver the meaning in a similar fashion, or the translator could take a hike and describe the use of the block in a technical manner.

Haiku? Really? Challenge accepted.

After some 30 minutes of word play, the closest that I could come up with is:



I stuck to the traditional 5-7-5 syllabus delivery, but I couldn’t think of a season related word to put in it. Then again, haiku in modern times have a looser definition than the traditional Japanese haiku. I hope this can convey the intended meaning of the Verse block.

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