One method of translation that I particularly like was introduced to me by my Creative Writing advisor. We took one of my translations and taped it to the wall, original Spanish on the left, and my English translation on the right. Something about having to stand up changed my perspective of the poem.
Usually I translate sitting down. Now I know I have claimed before that my physicality while translating is something decidedly lacking in consistency, but the unifying characteristic of it is definitely the sitting. Whether in a chair, on my bed, on the floor, I am always sitting, hunched over my work.
Standing, having the pages taped to the wall, equalized something I had not realized was disproportionate. Instead of my protective, possibly stifling hover over the words as I wrote, the physical change opened up a mental one, and I could feel myself enabled to interact with the text as though it were more malleable than before. I realize that this sounds bizarre, but these are true observations of my behavior. I looked at my work with new and fresh eyes.
I’m not having you on when I say that I truly feel the text came even more fully alive to me that day, and it was in those fresh moments that I found new words. I’ve tested since, and it works for writing original poetry too. So if anyone out there struggles with writer’s block, here is my suggestion – stand up. It’ll make you think.