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Translation difficulty, pars tertia.

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Translation difficulty, pars tertia.

Postby Lumen_et_umbra » Wed Aug 13, 2003 3:59 am

I am trying to imagine a way of saying: "Although he may be evil, nevertheless I do not think I believe the punishment to be just." Here is what I have so far:<br /><br />Cvm is malvs sit, tamen non scio me puturum esse poenam dignam esse.<br /><br />Please tell me if this is not correct and, subsequently, tell me what would be correct if this is not. Thank you. ;)
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Re:Translation difficulty, pars tertia.

Postby benissimus » Wed Aug 13, 2003 5:22 am

[quote author=Lumen_et_umbra link=board=3;threadid=458;start=0#3756 date=1060747142]<br />I am trying to imagine a way of saying: "Although he may be evil, nevertheless I do not think I believe the punishment to be just." Here is what I have so far:<br /><br />You can't really start one clause with "although" and the following one with "nevertheless" in English (even though it makes sense), but according to my book, this is good Latin structure for "etsi"/"tametsi." It also seems a bit redundant to say "I do not think that I believe," outside of a philosophical argument on the nature of beliefs ;)<br /><br />Cvm is malvs sit, tamen non scio me puturum esse poenam dignam esse.<br /><br />I would write it as Etsi malvs sit, tamen non puto poenas ei esse dignas. <br /><br />Please tell me if this is not correct and, subsequently, tell me what would be correct if this is not. Thank you. ;)<br /><br />Your Latin looks almost perfect, except that puturum is not a word, and it doesn't exactly translate into the English you had planned. I think that your use of cvm is a little inaccurate, since it has a sense of time and not of purpose. You could leave the is in there, but with the masculine adjective it is not necessary even to distinguish gender. I also chose to put poenas dignas in the plural, because it seems to be more commonly written in that fashion. Poena usually only implies a single penalty, but poenae has a sense of "consequences." I think what the main problem is is the whole "I do not think myself to believe that..." which creates a double Indirect Statement, which I am not sure is allowed, or even makes sense.<br />[/quote]
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae
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Re:Translation difficulty, pars tertia.

Postby adz000 » Wed Aug 13, 2003 3:55 pm

Benissimus did I great job diagnosing some of the difficulties so I'll tack my suggestions onto his. <br /><br />I'm not sure that I see a problem with using "cum" with the subjunctive as concessive (Nihil me adiuvit cum posset, C., Att., IX. 13,3), so that seems fine to me. The "is" is probably superfluous, unless one wanted to emphasize the word in which case it would more expressive to use "iste" with the force of "him, that evil man over there". <br /><br />The translation rightly (and, I think, successfully) tries to use a pair of conjunctions to link the two phrases tightly together. "Cum...autem" works well for me, though doubtless there are other pairs of conjunctions to experiment with.<br /><br />Cum malus sit, tamen non scio me putaturum esse poenam dignam esse.<br /><br />Benissimus points out well that poenae in the plural is more idiomatic and that a series of indirect statements, while not strictly ungrammatical, is to be avoided by all means. English does not have the same difficulty because each clause beginning with "that" functions like a miniature sentence, whereas in Latin the acc.+infin. structure makes it slightly more compressed.<br /><br />In order to reduce the number indirect statements I would pull out that "I think" which adds very little to the sentence except give it a slight air of non-committal. In order to reproduce this tone in Latin one could use various adverbs or, as I prefer, a parenthetical comment (which does NOT trip off indirect statement) like "opinor" or "credo". Credo tends to be more ironic and used when stating the blindingly obvious, so let us insert:<br /><br />Cum sit malus, tamen, opinor, puto poenas non esse dignas.<br /><br />(There are a handful of synonyms we could consider for puto that each suggest slightly different tones, including the verb opinari, and since it could be objected that opinor and puto are effectively repetitive one could also write: Cum sit malus, tamen opinor poenas non esse dignas -- but I like parenthetical statements)<br /><br />We might try to work the even more idiomatic phrase "dare poenas" since there good Latin prose tends to avoid abstraction in favor of vividness. We could retool the sentence:<br /><br />Cum sit malus, tamen, opinor, non fas est eum dare tantas poenas.<br /><br />With two conjunctions we are approaching well-balanced oratorical prose, perhaps if we were speaking more colloquially we might go so far as to drop out the "cum", since the subjunctive alone often conveys concession:<br /><br />Sit malus, tamen, credo, ille non meret dare poenas tantas.<br />[Note: merere, not mereri which generally takes an adverb rather than an object; also when mereo is used intransitively it means "serve as a soldier"]<br /><br />So you can see there are a lot of "correct" answers but the real difficulty and payoff of Latin is being able to choose the best-fitting sentence. This is often accomplished not by translating every word of an English sentence, but by being faithful to its spirit and intentions. Listen closely to a sentence in English: is it trying to be refined, or colloquial, humorous, or hurtful; try to determine which is the portion of the sentence that bears the most weight so that one can create a similar emphasis in the Latin. <br /><br />I hope I haven't overwhelmed you with alternatives, but shown the real subtleties which are possible in Latin! The choice of single words can have massive effects on your meaning, which is a lesson for any language.
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Re:Translation difficulty, pars tertia.

Postby Lumen_et_umbra » Wed Aug 13, 2003 10:16 pm

Thank you very much. Had I put a reasonable amount of time into translating the sentence into Latin, not being so lazy, my diligence may have begat a sentence similar to yours; but we shall never know now. :)<br /><br />Thank you (the two of you), again.
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