Category Archives: Take a break

Pretty Ugly – two poems in one

I found the poem Pretty Ugly online and it immediately caught my attention both for its meaning and translation challenges. The author Abdullah Shoaib gives us two poems in one, both with a very powerful message about how we perceive ourselves and how easily we can bring ourselves up or down. I really felt quite sad when reading the poem the first time, the lower my eyes dropped, the more depressed I became. But reading it for the second time my mood changed and I felt uplifted.
My second thought was: would it be translatable into Polish? Find below the original text and my rendering into Polish. I decided to use female gender for the person talking in the poem, as it is probably mostly us, females, that use this kind of internal dialogue 馃檪
You’re welcome to try and translate the poem into your native languages. Please post your translations into the comments, so that we can all enjoy and spread the author’s message to the whole world!

The original poem by Abdullah Shoaib:

Pretty Ugly

I鈥檓 very ugly
So don鈥檛 try to convince me that
I am a very beautiful person
Because at the end of the day
I hate myself in every single way
And I鈥檓 not going to lie to myself by saying
There is beauty inside of me that matters
So rest assured I will remind myself
That I am a worthless, terrible person
And nothing you say will make me believe
I still deserve love
Because no matter what
I am not good enough to be loved
And I am in no position to believe that
Beauty does exist within me
Because whenever I look in the mirror I always think
Am I as ugly as people say?

(Now read the same words, but bottom up.)

Polish translation:

Ca艂kiem (nie)brzydka

Jestem bardzo brzydka
Wi臋c nie pr贸buj mnie przekona膰, 偶e
Jestem bardzo pi臋kn膮 osob膮
Bo tak naprawd臋
Nienawidz臋 w sobie wszystkiego
I nie b臋d臋 si臋 ok艂amywa膰, m贸wi膮c
Jest we mnie pi臋kno, kt贸re ma znaczenie
Wi臋c mo偶esz by膰 pewny, 偶e sama sobie powt贸rz臋, 偶e
Jestem bezwarto艣ciow膮, okropn膮 osob膮
I nic, co powiesz nie sprawi, 偶e uwierz臋, 偶e
Nadal zas艂uguj臋 na mi艂o艣膰
Bo tak czy owak
Nie jestem na tyle dobra, by by膰 kochana
I nie mam podstaw, by my艣le膰, 偶e
Jest we mnie pi臋kno
Bo kiedy patrz臋 w lustro, zawsze my艣l臋
Czy jestem tak brzydka, jak m贸wi膮?

(Teraz przeczytaj od do艂u do g贸ry)

Color perception in different languages

Remember the Sapir鈥揥horf hypothesis?聽 It argues that the words we use dictate how we see the world. According to this view, language and its categories influence thought and certain kinds of non-linguistic behavior, like say how we perceive colors.

Now you can actually test how you perceive and remember colors. Take a simple test. You will be shown three colors. First you are going to think of an object that you associate the color with. Next you will simply name the color. Finally, you will be asked just to look at a color and perform a completely different task right after.

Ok, I don’t want to spoil it for you, so I won’t say anything else. Just try it for yourself!

Click on the link and follow the instructions:

Test on perception of colors, objects, and things

(designed by The Online Research Consortium)