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Subject:My Invective Against Similarity in Translation
Time:10:01 pm
Current Mood:pleasedpleased
Quoth me from the LatinStudy Email Group:
I dislike sticking close to "answer keys" - I don't like the feeling I'm being brainwashed into acting like a zombie identical to everyone else, unless there is a very clearly delineated reason why one must use x.

Take into consideration the subjunctive mood - were, would, etc - there is generally a specific reason why I would be using "would" to express myself; e.g. in the sentence ""There is ... a ... reason why I would be using "would"..."" - see, I am not REALLY using "would" right now, except I am here.
Recursive reasoning often works - similar to why one writes a line on top of an infinite repetition of numbers or shows a number of repetitions and writes at the end an ellipsis to indicate it never ends.
1 divided by 3 is .33333...

Latin certainly helps inform my vocabulary choices, as does Russian, Chinese, German, Greek, and the other miscellaneous languages I have studied in the past decade.
Latin helps me communicate the most, as it should help us all! Latin was my first/best "foreign" language. (Most likely Spanish was historically my first, but I don't use it at all.)

Why don't we all have more unique answers? I think that synonyms are also acceptable, depending on the situation...

Translation is an art form. How may we best express a thought?
That reason is why the collators make these collations - showing the entire group how certain individuals translate each respective example.
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ami_ven
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-03-20 03:10 am (UTC)
I agree.

One of my favorite works of literature is "The Odyssey" and I have at least half a dozen separate translations, because they're all different and all good in their own way.

Plus, a person's translation 'style' is always unique to them and/or their experiences (for example, there are phrases I translate a certain way because we did so in my high school/college Latin class and it became a joke, like always translating the ablative of means as 'by means of' even if it sounded awkward).
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claire_chan
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-03-20 05:24 am (UTC)
*nod*

I prefer the Iliad but that's neither here nor there

Definitely! I agree so hard with translating awkwardly just from things like inside jokes.
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arrowwhiskers
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-03-20 05:18 am (UTC)
I remember getting so annoyed when my Latin teacher absolutely insisted that many subjunctives be translated "that [they/he/etc] might ______". There are some situations where such a translation might be appropriate, but in my opinion they are few. There is only a certain point to which the literal quality of a translation is actually more valuable than making it sound more natural, or more appropriate to the particular situation or to the specific style of the translator.
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claire_chan
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-03-20 05:27 am (UTC)
That sounds annoying, from the distance.

I agree on the paucity of "that x might" translations remaining valid.
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fallen_scholar
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-03-20 08:22 pm (UTC)
Translation is an art form. But translating something that has an answer key is probably not meant to be an art form. It's drill. Complaining about a lack of expression there is like complaining about a lack of medals for running interval training sprints, or a lack of creativity in doing piano chord progressions.

However, what I more likely suspect is the problem here is summed up in the old aphorism that translation is more a test of knowledge of the language that you're translating into rather than the language you're translating. There are generational, region, and class differences to connotations of words that native speakers generally don't think about. Different English speakers don't use a word like 'would' in the same way. It doesn't mean different things, but it does carry different weights.

And truth be told, the subjunctive in Latin doesn't mean 'X would Y.' It means the subjunctive, which is generally sort of approximated in English by those words. So we're already trying to deal with an approximation. And thanks to things like mass publishing and the internet, adding to this ambiguity is the different sorts of ways that different people in different places use English, which makes everything a right old mess.

And I sympathize if it's someone being excessively hidebound and requiring one and only one word as the true definition. But for most purposes, you learn the general tacky translations first until you have enough of a feel for the natural language. Then you bring the funk.
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claire_chan
Subject:Hmm.
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-03-20 10:31 pm (UTC)
THAT makes sense, what you say regarding lack of creativity in doing piano chord progressions!! (Admittedly, I can't stand piano, but I'd honestly been discussing with another performance major how scales and arpeggios are crucial to making practice into an artful arrangement of patterns instead of brute drill.)

I am intrigued by the aphorism you refer to, and really about class differences. (Really??) I'm most intrigued by your statement "Different English speakers don't use a word like 'would' in the same way." Really? Please explain a bit more!

I want to decipher the right old mess.

XD Yes, the funk must come only after obtaining a feel for natural language! I approve.
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fallen_scholar
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-03-21 04:33 pm (UTC)
I write that without solid evidence, but it wouldn't surprise me.

The example I always think of because it perils my existence is will/shall. Both of the words mean effectively the same thing, but I've noticed that there's an age limit - somewhere around the boomer generation - where the 'stronger' term shifts from shall to will. Another example is that, between British English and American English, the British are much more tolerant of the present perfect, which is considered sloppy writing in American English. As for class, I think something like 'would' might be a good example. (I'm hesitant because I'm thinking this through right now.) 'Would' bears a certain veneer of politeness, and almost bears a degree of apology to it. I think that a lot of phrases that an upper class speaker would use 'would' for, lower class speakers would use a simple negation, or a word like 'want,' or a 'got' construction. That bearing is also why it seems more natural in a hortative construction, especially a lower class one, rather than other uses.

I mean, tl;dr - words have connotation; connotation varies between populations. I'm not sure if I'm making sense.
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claire_chan
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-03-22 01:55 am (UTC)
lol at the tl;dr XD (took me a while to get back to this, but I'm rather interested!)

I still wonder over will/shall...

I do notice the simpler negation constructs in those of a lower class.
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succubus_esq
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-03-28 06:29 pm (UTC)
"Shall" is first person, and in legalese is used as the jussive subjunctive. "I will go to the store" is technically grammatically incorrect, although "shall" is formal outside of Britain and not used for that reason.

Does that clear it up a bit?
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claire_chan
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-03-28 07:58 pm (UTC)
Legalese or just strict Latin/Greek?

I pulled up this explanation of different subjunctive moods from Ohio State University.
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succubus_esq
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-03-28 08:04 pm (UTC)
In English legalese. In Latin/Greek, they have tons of different ways of expressing obligation, although I haven't read enough legal jargon to get a feel for what was used for written laws, although the gerundive seems to be used quite often.

The easiest way to explain "shall" as the jussive subjunctive in English is to look at the King James Bible's Ten Commandments.
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claire_chan
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-03-29 12:44 am (UTC)
When deciphering English legalese, I've always relied on my Latin/Greek background, although I'm not as familiar with Greek as Latin.

My friend always says she'll set me up with that, yet I have waited for some time between 4 months and 2 years, with nothing.

Hmm, so the jussive subjunctive explanation exists through example.
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