Thursday, December 08, 2005

O Anthropos part II

I have once again responded to Gerald at Iustificare on his interpretation of 'o anthropos' here in the comment section. However, I feel more sympathy than I have indicated and here is why.

I was working yesterday evening on a translation of this short Greek verse found on a tablet in Delphi.

Ἧ πολὺ κ[αλ]ίστωι σε θεαί, Μ[..., γέρησαν
Δώρωι Π[ιερ]ίδες παρθένοι ε[ὺπλόκαμοι]
Αίπερ σοι [τό]δε μούνωι ὲπιχθ[ονίων ἀνθρώπον,
Ὤπασα[ν] ἐξευρεῖν πείρατα πά[ντα τέχνης.]

A translation of this verse can be found here on my other blog. The point is that I started to translate 'anthropon' as 'the only one on earth', then I switched to 'the only man on earth', then I laughed as I realized that on my other blog, I wouldn't have to worry about being politically correct. Of course, it was a man. Who else would receive a gift from these shiny-haired Pieridean maidens (the Muses)? Then I caved in and wrote 'human'.

I am not a translator and only undertake translations when necessary to read up on scripts. However this happens often enough.

I have briefly thought about the process I go through. First, I try to find a translation already done. If there isn't one I resign myself. Then I mark each word and make a literal translation, then one that actually means something. Then I try to turn the whole thing back into something mildy poetic if the original was poetry. That makes three or four translations every time. I do not consider one of them as more accurate.

Eventually I was able to avoid the term 'man' or 'human' and simply say 'inventor'. Phew. I am not particularly opposed to the word 'man' but I fail to see that it is more correct or literal than 'human'.

In any case it is time for me to be off and read at greater length, Peter's post today on the Better Bibles Blog.

1 comment:

Gerald said...

pax it is.