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Broken Telephone Polyglot Poetry Challenge

Have you ever played the game broken telephone? You sit in a circle and one person whispers a sentence into the next persons ear. As the sentence gets whispered from person to person by the last person it changes it’s meaning completely. Focusing on translating precisely is great for learning but let’s have some fun with our ‘mistakes’. I am feeling a bit bored today so I came up with this fun challenge/game.

I have chosen the poem Arbolé Arbolé by Frederico García Lorca and posted it below. Please comment by translating the translation before yours into any language you like. The one rule is translate the comment the latest translation (the comment above yours) into any language you like. (Also not what language you are translating into) Translate from the comment previous to yours not the original text... this is to keep to game fun and creative and have a Broken Telephone effect.

Since this is just for fun there are no rules but here are some suggestions. Use a dictionary if you like but I recommend using it sparingly, mistakes are ok. Translate as creatively as you feel. (For example if you want to translate the Spanish word for blue, azul to zold which means green in Hungarian.. because they both have nice z sounds, which flow with your poem, go for it). Any level of language is okay. It doesn’t have to be word for word. If you want to translate from a language you have not studied or studied very little just take your best shot in the dark. If you want to give feedback on someone else’s translation that’s great, but this is to throw out the rules, so nothing is ‘wrong’. So... I hope this makes sense and thanks in advance to anyone who wants to participate.

Let’s play! I am going to start it off with a Spanish poem and try to translate it without consulting the dictionary. I have posted the poem in the original Spanish below. My next comment will be my attempt at translation, and hopefully the next commenter can translate from my english broken translation into whatever language of their choice. Hopefully after a few rounds we will get a ‘new’ poem in Spanish. I had to pick a topic to post this in so I picked English, but if anyone has a better suggestion for the correct forum please let me know. Have fun!

Here is the poem in the original Spanish:

Arbolé Arbolé by Federico Garcia Lorca.

Arbolé, arbolé

seco y verdé.

La niña del bello rostro

está cogiendo aceituna.

El viento, galán de torres,

la prende por la cintura.

Pasaron cuatro jinetes

sobre jacas andaluzas

con trajes de azul y verde,

con largas capas oscuras.

«Vente a Córdoba, muchacha».

La niña no los escucha.

Pasaron tres torerillos

delgaditos de cintura,

con trajes color naranja

y espadas de plata antigua.

«Vente a Sevilla, muchacha».

La niña no los escucha.

Cuando la tarde se puso

morada, con luz difusa,

pasó un joven que llevaba

rosas y mirtos de luna.

«Vente a Granada, muchacha».

Y la niña no lo escucha.

La niña del bello rostro

sigue cogiendo aceituna,

con el brazo gris del viento

ceñido por la cintura.

Arbolé arbolé

seco y verdé.

December 12, 2017



My translation from Spanish to English:

Tree tree

Tree, tree seeking and green

The beautiful rose girl is congenially acidic.

The wind, torrential galls, takes her by the belt.

Passing four large caped genies walking their jackals trail blue and green footsteps

Many winds of Cordoba call out

The girl doesn’t listen

Passing three torrential delagations of centuries, trailing the colour orange and pieces of brocken plates

Wind of Seville

The girls doesn’t listen to them

When the old ones die

With difused light

Passing the young who speak to roses and the moon’s laughter

Wind of Granada, calling

And the girl doesn’t

The beautiful rose girl signs her congenial acidity

With arms grey as the wind that signs for the century.

Tree tree, seeking and green.


I can’t seem to keep line breaks in the poem when I post it unfortunately. If anyone knows how to fix this please let me know.


You have to put two spaces after the line and then enter and it should work, so you can do things like this:


You can also just enter twice like this:






Here are more formatting codes: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/12948453


Thanks Maughanster! Will do!


Hola! I am a new comer what are you saying?


Hi, I am just bored so I made up a game based on the game broken telephone. The idea is to translate the comment directly before you into any language you like and I will try to edit my explanation so it makes more sense to others (not just in my head) and be creative and not worry about mistakes, so we get a ‘brocken telephone’ effect. It’s just for fun.


Well as it is my turn, I will translate the last comment into Esperanto, although I have a feeling that nobody will translate it into another language.

Arbo, Arbo,

La arbo serĉas verdan ion

La rozkolora kaj bela knabino estas amika kaj maldolĉa

La vento, sovaĝiĝas, kaptas al ŝi por la zono.

Kvar grandaj genioj iras kun manteloj, iliaj ŝakaloj promenas kun bluaj kaj verdaj ŝtupoj

Multe da ventoj de Kordobao diris

La knabino ne aŭskulti

Iris tri delegacioj sovaĝas da miljaroj, forlasiĝis la oranĝkoloro kaj pecoj da peciĝitaj teleroj

Vento de Sevilao

La knabino ne aŭskulti

Kiam la maljunuloj mortiĝas

Kun la mola lumo Iras la junuloj, kiuj parolas al rozoj kaj ridoj de la luno.

La vento de Granadao, diris

Kaj la knabino ne faras

La bela kaj rozkolora knabino subskribas ŝian amikan kajn maldolĉa ajn.

Kun grizaj brakoj kvazaŭ la vento kiu subskribas por la miljaro.

Arbo, arbo, serĉi kaj verda


Wow! Esperanto, that’s awesome! I loved reading your translation!


Here is my translation of MargaretAl180930's version. Maybe if enough translations of it into lesser-studied languages get done, someone will come along able to translate at least one of them.

Дерево дерево

Дерево, ищущее и зеленое дерево

Розовая и красивая девочка — добрая и кислотная.

Ветер, проливная наглость, захватывает её за ремень

Проходит мимо четырёх больших, выгуливающих своих шакалов с голубыми и зелёными шагами, гениев в слоях

Много ветров из Кордоба сказали

Девочка не слушает

Проходит мимо трёх проливных делегаций веков, оставляет оранжевый цвет и куски разбитых тарелок

Ветер из Севильи

Девочка не слушает его,

Когда умирают старики

С мягким светом,

Который пролетает мимо молодых людей, кто разговаривает розами и смеётся, благодаря луне

Ветер из Гранады, сказал

И девочка не делает

Розовая и красивая девочка подписывает её дружественную кислоту.

Ветровыми серыми руками, который подписывает в течение века

Дерево, ищущее и зеленое дерево

(I'd appreciate grammar corrections, etc., keeping in mind that the poem I'm translating is, well, unique content-wise :)


Thanks for playing... it’s so cool to see all these responses!


I just want to say thank you/ muchas gracias to everyone who participated so far! It really inspires me to keep learning when I see to see all this skill and creativity. I may post this challenge again sometime soon with another poem.

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