Five Hebrew Translations of Else Lasker-Schüler's Poem "An mein Kind"

This article introduces five translations from German into Hebrew of the Jewish German poet Else Lasker-Schüler's poem "An mein Kind." The translations—by Lea Goldberg, Yehuda Amichai, Natan Zach, Judith Shargal and Pnina Nurenberg—are analyzed and compared, using two key concepts in the practice and theory of translation: fidelity and transparency. The article discusses the salient features of each translation as a distinctive artistic production and as a gateway through which Hebrew readers may enter and enjoy the work of Lasker-Schüler, one of the most important Jewish artists to live and work (briefly) in pre-state Israel. The variety of options in terms of structure and content, melody, meter, etc., as manifested in these translations, offers a remarkably cogent and rich indication of the extent to which translation is a subjective artistic creation, with almost limitless horizons, open to endless elaboration, transformation and interpretation. The translator's work enables the Hebrew reader who is not familiar with the original language to enjoy the new productions, albeit from the existential position of one who senses the beauty of the "Promised Land" but will never have the same full and direct access to the original poem as the German reader will.