This is a response paper for my Translation subject assignment. Not an expert opinion though. Just want to share... :)
With a Buddhist background, Basho created a beautiful bouquet of Japanese language and be translated more than 30 translations by several translators. Three of them are Shinkokai NG, Lindley Williams and James Kirkup Hobbell who tried to interpret Basho poem into three English translated versions in very different structure, sense and shape.
First version is written by Shinkokai. In terms of structure, we should note the diction, rhyme, rhythm, tone, and the poet attitude toward the reader and to convey the message. Shinkokai in his translation using no more than 3-4 words in each line that may indicates he is a translator who prefer simple styles. In first line, the diction selected is "old" rather than "ancient" while the last,according to me, may have a deeper meaning. He choose to mention the objects of this poetry that is a frog which is jumping into the water and creates a sound of water. He did not show any rhyme or rhythm excessively. The imagination (he used visual imagination) is presented fairly short so it does not need a hard effort to understand the meaning of the translation.
Second version, in my opinion, is the most beautiful translation among these three versions because Hobbell tried to translate it into a full imagination poetry. Words such as “thou” in first line indicates the old era of the translator and gave deeper meaning for me. As a reader, I could directly imagine the beauty of nature that shows in second and third line. He also played with the rhyme in the end of each line. “Shimmering surface, like tears” gave a visual imagination plus an emphasis of auditory imagination at the last line in the phrase "the while aquatic sounds assails our ears".
The last version is the most simple translation. It consists only of three words, very short but has the most difficult sense to understand because I have to think more about what the poet desired to convey. The less said, the more difficult to understand. Based on the shape, this poetry can be classified into contemporary poetry which indicated by verses that written in indented way.
In conclusion, the poetry will be translated depends on the era of the translator, the meaning to be conveyed and the writing style of the translator. Analyzing the era can be done by noticing the diction that is used, while the shape can classify the type of poetry and depends on the readers ability to understand.