Sunday, April 09, 2006

Groucho Marx on learning Greek in old age

When I was young I was amazed at Plutarch's statement that the elder Cato began at the age of eighty to learn Greek. I am amazed no longer. Old age is ready to undertake tasks that youth shirked because they would take too long.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Thoughts on bible translation

Rodney Decker's What Does a Translator Have To Offer a Reader? has some great quotes about the problems of translating. He includes of course, Traduttore traditore, the Italian proverb Translators are traitors, but also Rabbi Yehuda in the Talmud:
He who translates a verse literally is a liar,
and he who paraphrases is a blasphemer!

He also cites Cicero's words, when attempting to translate Plato from Greek to Latin:
It is hard to preserve in a translation the charm of expressions which in another language are most felicitous...
If I render word for word, the result will sound uncouth, and if compelled by necessity I alter anything in the order or wording, I shall seem to have departed from the function of a translator.