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Postby Einhard » Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:01 pm

Salvete omnes,

I came across a Latin op-ed from 2007 in the New York Times archive today, and decided to have a go at translating it. The result is below. Because of the length of the piece, I've broken it up into sections, with each individual translation underneath the corresponding paragraph. I'm pretty happy about the overall translation, but there are some parts which caused me difficulty. I've highlighted those.

I'd appreciate if I could get some feedback on the translation, or parts of it, particularly the highlighted sections.

Thanks in advance,


Primum, duces nostros linguam Latinam non iam studere triste non videtur.

Sed reipublicae artem - quae principes iuvenes educationem praeparationem pro curriculo considerare excitat — cum rhetorica exigua, moribus infirmis, grammatica inepta et rationis historicae metu congruissse fors non est; aeterna de quibus Romani nos multum docere possunt. Romani ipsi dicunt,

Roma urbs aeterna; Latina lingua aeterna.*

At first glance, it does not appear sad that our leaders do not study the Latin language.
But with rhetoric having been extinguished, infirm character, inept grammar, and fear of the historical method/reason, it is not chance that the art of the Republic- which rouses young people to consider educational preparation before career/race- has fled; the Romans can teach us much with their eternal ways. The Romans themselves said:

“Rome, Eternal City; Latin, Eternal Language”.

Nemo principes candidati praefecti Latinae languae periti sunt. Hillaria Clintona scientiae politicae Wellesleiae studuit; Barackus Obamus Columbiae. Rudius Giulianus linguam per quattuor annos theologiae ad Episcopi Loughlin Memorem Scholam Altam Brooklyni attigit, quando se pontificem futurum esse consideravit. Sed tum quod studuit? Scientiae politicae.

Quam res post Patres Fundantes mutaverunt! Ex VII libris in Thomae Jeffersoni bibliotecha in Monticello, soli XXIV domi manent. Posteri alteros vendiderunt, Bibliotecha Concilii emptos. Lectissimus liber, iam in pluteo vitreo in Jeffersoni bibliotecha, Aeneis a Virgilio est.

Jeffersonus, novem annos natus, linguas Latinam et Graecam ad scholam in Virginia pontifice Caledonio administratam docere coepit. Liber grammaticus Graecus iuxta eum ad Conlegium Williami Mariaeque Williamiburgi semper erat. Tacitus Homerusque carissimi erant.

Jeffersonus optimam scholae altae educationem lingua in Latina, Graeca et Gallica, cum grammaticis thematibus lectionibusque, libris translatis in linguam Anglicam, et recordatione locorum famosorum esse consideravit.

None of the principal presidential candidates are skilled in the Latin language. Hilary Clinton studied political science at Wellesley; Barack Obama at Columbia. Rudy Giuliani took the language through four years of theology at the Bishop Loughlin Memorial School in Brooklyn Heights, when he considered that he would be a priest. But then, what did he study? Political science.

How things have changed since the founding fathers! Out of the 7000 books in the library of Thomas Jefferson in Monticello, only 24 remain in the house. Others were sold over the years, bought by the Library of Congress. The most read book, now in a glass case, is the Aeneid by Virgil.

At the age of nine, Jefferson began to teach the Greek and Latin languages to a school in Virginia administered by a Scottish bishop. A Greek grammar book was always close by him in the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg. Tacitus and Homer were most loved.

Jefferson considered that the best education of a high school was in the Latin language, Greek and French, with grammatical and comprehension themes, with books translated into the English language, and with recollection of famous passages.

Quando Jeffersonus Virginiae Universitatem (ad regulam Romanam aedificatam) in MDCCCXIX aperuit, solis magistris aeternis peritis ut historiam Graecam Romanamque doceant usus est.

When Jefferson founded the University of Virginia (built in the Roman manner) in 1819, he used the only permanent skilled professors to teach Greek and Roman history.

Praefecti linguam Latinam plus quam CL annos didicerunt. XXXI ex XL praefecti post Jeffersonum linguam Latinam didicerunt, quorum multi ad regulam altam.

Jacobus Polkus ad Boreae Carolinae Universitatem in MDCCCXVIII in mathematica aeternisque triumphavit. Jacobus Garfieldus linguas Graecam Latinamque ex MDCCCLVI ad MDCCCLVII ad (iam appellatum) Hiram Conlegium, Ohio. Eduardus Rooseveltus aeterna Harvardi didicit.

JFK non ad unam, sed ad tres scholas praeparantes, linguam Latinam didicit. Nixonus lingua Latina peritissimus erat, secundus ad Whittioris Scholam Whittiori in California in MCMXXX. Georgius Bushus Senior linguam Latinam ad Academiam Philliporum Andoveri didicit, et in fraternitate erat - Auctoritas, Unitas, Veritas.

Williamus Clintonus, qui linguae Latinae per quattuor annos ad Fontium Caldorum Scholam Aquam in Arkansa studuit, De Bello Gallico ab Iulio Caesare amavit.

Patrem sequens, Georgius W Bushus linguam Latinam ad Academiam Philliporum didicit (dicta: Non sibi et Finis Origine Pendet).

The presidents learned the Latin language for more than 150 years. 31 out of 40 presidents after Jefferson learned Latin, many to a high level.

James Polk triumphed in Maths and the Classics at the University of North Carolina in 1818. James Garfield studied Greek and Latin between 1856 and 1857 at Hiram College (as it’s now known) in Ohio. Teddy Roosevelt studied the Classics in Harvard.

JFK learned Latin in not one, but three preparatory schools. Nixon was highly skilled in Latin, graduating second at Whittier School in California in 1930. George Bush Senior learned Latin at Phillips Academy in Andover, and was in the AUV fraternity.

Bill Clinton, who studied Latin for four years at the Hot Springs High School in Arkansas, loved the Gallic Wars by Julius Caesar.

Following his father, George W Bush studied Latin at Phillips Academy (mottos: “Not for oneself” and “The beginning shapes the end).

Sed Praefectus Bush per eruditionis Americanae altae ultimos annos forte didicit. Post Andoverum in MCMLXIV reliquit, linguae Latinae studia in America conlapsa sunt. In MCMV, LVI per centum scholarum altarum Americanarum discipulos American linguam Latinam didicerunt. In MCMLXXVII, soli VI discipuli linguae Latini Nationis inquisitionem perfecerunt.

Lingua Latina nuper renata est. In MMV, CXXXIVDCCCLXXIII linguae Latini Nationis inquisitionem perfecerunt.

Cur bonum est? Non omnes Romani virtutis exemplares erant — Caligulae lingua Latinae bona erat.Non omnes CXXXIVDCCCLXXIII pueri Jeffersoni erunt.

But President Bush studied through the final years of deep American erudition by luck. After he left Andover in 1964, studies of Latin in America collapsed. In 1905, 56% of the students of American high schools learned Latin. In 1977, only 60 000 students took the national exam in Latin.

The Latin language has been recently renewed. In 2005, 134 823 students took the national exam in Latin.

Why is this? Not all Roman virtues were exemplary- the language of Caligula was Latin. Not all the 134 823 were the children of Jefferson.

Sed praeterita, quae ad huius temporis aspectum ampliorem opulentioremque ducunt, adspicere poterunt. Si linguam Latinam scis, tabulatum Romanum sub orbis terrarum Occidentis cutem vides. Si linguam Latinam parvam scis, litterarum Occidentium D annos (et mille annos orationis Latinae poeticaeque) aperis.

But they were able to examine the past, which leads to the more abundant and plentiful aspect of this age. If you know the Latin language, you see the Roman layer under the skin of the Western world. If you know a little Latin, you open 500 years of Western literature (and a thousand years of Latin oratory and poetry).

Cur non linguam Latinam in lingua Anglica legas? Quod in Virgilii Aeneido Latino, qui in translatione praeclara Roberti Fagli (MMVI) non est?

Etiam si translatio praeclara est, similis soni linguae Latinae locutae sonare nunquam potest. Audire poeticam Latinam leve celeriterque locutam audire linguam mellitam volubilemque, opulentum, stillatum, fabulantem, purum, fervidum progenitorem linguae Italianae.

Why not read Latin in the English language? What is in the Latin Aeneid of Virgil, that is not in the beautiful translation by Robert Fagles (2006)?

Even if the translation is beautiful, it is can never sound the same as the sound of the spoken Latin tongue. To hear Latin poetry spoken lightly and quickly is to hear a sweet and voluble tongue, the opulent, distilled, fabulous, conversing, pure, fiery ancestor of the Italian language.

Etiam, translationes ex lingua Latina in Anglicam, et vice versa, modi mirabiles mentis docendae sunt. Translationem ex lingua Latina breve accurataque in Anglicam expandentem vagamque similem concertinae aperiendae esse reor; maximam cogitationem et interpretationem in translationem infundere licet.

Also, translations from Latin into English, and vice versa, remarkable measures of the mind ought to be taught/are taught. I think that a translation from light and accurate Latin into expansive and vague English is similar to a concertina being opened; it is necessary to infuse too much reflection/imagination and interpretation into the translation.

Concertina aperienda vim ingenii amplificat. Claudienda, ex lingua Latina in Anglicam translatio, orationem acuit.

A concertina being opened, amplifies the force of the nature. Being closed, from a Latin translation into English, sharpens the oration.

Quod lingua Latina mortua est, non mutans similis linguarum vivarum, spatium magnum in translatione non est.

Sic te falsum, non ambiguum, esse veri simile est, si quod verbum separatum significat aut quomodo regula grammatica curritur non accurate intelleges. Rigor ille vos optime docet quomodo Scyllam Charybdemque orationis Anglicae belle navigas.

Because the Latin language is dead, not changing as a living language, there is not great variety in translation.

Thus, if that signifies a separate word in what way/how the rules of grammar[?]. That rigour teaches you the best just as you navigate the Scylla and Charybdis of English oratory.

Cum historia Romana et lingua Latina parva, plura passim vides: non solum in litteris linguaque, sed in architecturae foederatae stirpibus aeternis, per Europam Occidentem et tum per Americam Christi in itinere, et administrationis senatoriae formula Americana. Tabula infinita est.

Although Roman history and the Latin language are reduced, you see much of both around the place: not only in literature and language, but in the eternal roots of confederated architecture, throughout Western Europe and thereupon through the America of Christ in/on the road, and in the American principal of Senatorial administration. The list is endless.

Scriptor Alanus Hollinghurstus historiae conversiones scientes, qui orbem terrarum similem lineae cubiculorum aspicere possunt, describit: Graecia Romae cedit... Roma Imperio Byzantino Renato Imperio Britannico Americae.... Linguam Latinam parvam scire invitatio ad cubiculum maximum in aedificio, cum prospectu praeter aevorum sequentium lineam, est.

The author Alan Hollinghurst knowing the cycles of history, which are able to see the world as similar to lines of rooms, describes: Greece yielded to Rome...Rome to the Byzantine Empire to the British Empire to the American...to know a little Latin is an invitation to the greatest room in the building, with a view along the following lines of the ages.

Invitationem aetatibus in omnibus habere potes. Alfredus Maximus, in novem cento anni Angliae rex, triginta annos natus, qui linguam Latinam gravem esse ut princeps humanus sit scivit, linguam didicit. Novum saeculum discipulorum — praefectorumque — simile Alfredi cognoscere spero: *”Roma urbs aeterna; Latina lingua aeterna.”

You can hold the invitation at any age. Alfred the Great, King of the English at the age of 30 in the 9th century, who knew that Latin was essential as a human prince, learned the language. I hope to recognise a new generation of students- and of presidents- similar to Alfred: “Rome, Eternal City; Latin, Eternal Language.
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Re: Translation

Postby adrianus » Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:34 pm

Multa latinitatis errata in fonte tuo apparent, ut opinor. Ab aliquo qui anglicè meliùs quam latinè loquitur scriptus est.
There are a lot of Latin errors, I think, in the original source. It's by someone who speaks better English than Latin.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Translation

Postby adrianus » Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:41 pm

I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Translation

Postby Einhard » Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:22 pm

Thanks for the link. It's quite the read. I understand that seeing a language that one feels passionately about, mangled in the NYT, by a man who has made lots of money as a Latin "expert" to boot, must be galling, but I think the response is a tad over the top, and seems somewhat bitter at times. I was expecting a close examination of the text, and criticism of the grammatical errors, but instead the author focused almost entirely on Mount's opinions, and barely attended to the errors.

I'm glad though that you provided the link, and pointed out the piece is poorly written, because I had noticed some strange forms myself, but thought that it was a reflection of my Latin rather than that of Mount!!

I don't want to parse the entire text, but I'd appreciate if you could clarify the following for me-

Jeffersonus, novem annos natus, linguas Latinam et Graecam ad scholam in Virginia pontifice Caledonio administratam docere coepit.

The author has "docere" as "learn". Surely it should be "teach", and therefore would put an entirely different gloss on the sentence?

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Re: Translation

Postby adrianus » Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:02 pm

Ita est. Perperàm vertit.
Yes. He translates wrongly.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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