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Translation Question: Any suggestions?

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Translation Question: Any suggestions?

Postby bondarev » Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:55 pm

Here is a sentence from one of the standard introductory textbooks. It is not particularly difficult per se, but I am not entirely satisfied with my translation. Could someone suggest something better than my clumsy rendition?

οὔτε καλὸν οὔτ’ ἀγαθὸν τὰ τῶν ἄλλων κλέπτειν. ἀδικοῦντες γὰρ οὐ τῑμῶνται ὑπὸ τῶν πολῑτῶν οὗτοι, οἳ ἂν ὑπὸ τῶν ῥητόρων κλοπῆς γράφωνται.
To steal the things of others is neither noble nor good. For when they do wrong, they are not honored by the citizens, if anyone is indicted of theft by the orators.

The second sentence is a present general conditional with a relative protasis that is preceded by the apodosis. But I can't seem to put this into a smoother translation.

Thanks in advance for any ideas.
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Re: Translation Question: Any suggestions?

Postby NateD26 » Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:57 pm

bondarev wrote:οὔτε καλὸν οὔτ’ ἀγαθὸν τὰ τῶν ἄλλων κλέπτειν. ἀδικοῦντες γὰρ οὐ τῑμῶνται ὑπὸ τῶν πολῑτῶν οὗτοι, οἳ ἂν ὑπὸ τῶν ῥητόρων κλοπῆς γράφωνται.
To steal the things of others is neither noble nor good. For when they do wrong, they are not honored by the citizens, if anyone is indicted of theft by the orators.

All is well apart from οἳ ἂν...γράφωνται being 3rd plural, not singular.
Nate.
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Re: Translation Question: Any suggestions?

Postby bondarev » Sun Sep 22, 2013 8:12 pm

NateD26 wrote:All is well apart from οἳ ἂν...γράφωνται being 3rd plural, not singular.


Thanks, Nate.

Yes, it certainly is plural, but the discrepancy there has to do with English usage: ordinarily we say "whoever is such and such" rather than "whoever are..." Or else, "if anyone is ..." rather than "if anyone are..."

But that wasn't what was bothering me about this sentence. Rather, it was a question of how best to render the ἀδικοῦντες γὰρ (i.e. whether to give it a causal force, or a temporal sense, or else take it as a conditional.)

Best.
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Re: Translation Question: Any suggestions?

Postby Victor » Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:18 pm

bondarev wrote:Here is a sentence from one of the standard introductory textbooks. It is not particularly difficult per se, but I am not entirely satisfied with my translation. Could someone suggest something better than my clumsy rendition?

οὔτε καλὸν οὔτ’ ἀγαθὸν τὰ τῶν ἄλλων κλέπτειν. ἀδικοῦντες γὰρ οὐ τῑμῶνται ὑπὸ τῶν πολῑτῶν οὗτοι, οἳ ἂν ὑπὸ τῶν ῥητόρων κλοπῆς γράφωνται.
To steal the things of others is neither noble nor good. For when they do wrong, they are not honored by the citizens, if anyone is indicted of theft by the orators.

The second sentence is a present general conditional with a relative protasis that is preceded by the apodosis. But I can't seem to put this into a smoother translation.

Thanks in advance for any ideas.

I can't avoid a certain clumsiness myself. The best I can come up with is: "To steal what belongs to others is neither noble nor good; for any wrongdoers who are indicted for theft by the public speakers (or perhaps "judges") are not honoured by the citizens".
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Re: Translation Question: Any suggestions?

Postby bondarev » Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:05 pm

Thanks, Victor. That works, too.

I think that with this sentence, it's not so much the grammar as the moral teaching it conveys that is the problem. Luckily it's from a grammar book and not, say, Aristotle.

Best.
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Re: Translation Question: Any suggestions?

Postby Qimmik » Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:27 pm

"it's not so much the grammar as the moral teaching it conveys that is the problem"

Your comment is ambiguous. Which is the moral teaching to which you subscribe: οὔτ’ αἰσχρὸν οὔτε κακὸν τὰ τῶν ἄλλων κλέπτειν or καλὸν κἀγαθὸν τὰ τῶν ἄλλων κλέπτειν;
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Re: Translation Question: Any suggestions?

Postby Victor » Tue Sep 24, 2013 12:48 am

Qimmik wrote:"it's not so much the grammar as the moral teaching it conveys that is the problem"

Your comment is ambiguous. Which is the moral teaching to which you subscribe: οὔτ’ αἰσχρὸν οὔτε κακὸν τὰ τῶν ἄλλων κλέπτειν or καλὸν κἀγαθὸν τὰ τῶν ἄλλων κλέπτειν;

My guess is he subscribes to the first. I sense what bondarev is uncomfortable with is the apparent suggestion that there is not necessarily anything intrinsically wrong with stealing; it just wins you no honour with the people.

BTW, bondarev, I notice that this is taken from Hansen and Quinn's Greek - An Intensive Course, including the translation you provided in your first post.
http://atticgreek.wordpress.com/hansen-quinn-unit-09/
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Re: Translation Question: Any suggestions?

Postby bondarev » Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:13 am

Qimmik wrote:Which is the moral teaching to which you subscribe: οὔτ’ αἰσχρὸν οὔτε κακὸν τὰ τῶν ἄλλων κλέπτειν or καλὸν κἀγαθὸν τὰ τῶν ἄλλων κλέπτειν;


Now that's funny, Qimmik.
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Re: Translation Question: Any suggestions?

Postby bondarev » Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:46 am

Victor wrote:
Qimmik wrote:... Which is the moral teaching to which you subscribe: οὔτ’ αἰσχρὸν οὔτε κακὸν τὰ τῶν ἄλλων κλέπτειν or καλὸν κἀγαθὸν τὰ τῶν ἄλλων κλέπτειν;

My guess is he subscribes to the first. I sense what bondarev is uncomfortable with is the apparent suggestion that there is not necessarily anything intrinsically wrong with stealing; it just wins you no honour with the people.


Of course, I don't subscribe to either maxim.

But going back to the original sentence, as you rightly say, it was the lame justification offered that made me uncomfortable.
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Re: Translation Question: Any suggestions?

Postby Victor » Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:40 am

bondarev wrote:Of course, I don't subscribe to either maxim.

I do beg your pardon, bondarev.When I said I guessed you subscribed to the first I clearly hadn't read very carefully what Qimmik had written. I assumed he'd written οὔτε καλὸν οὔτ’ ἀγαθὸν τὰ τῶν ἄλλων κλέπτειν. Presumably that, in essence, is something you do subscribe to.
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Re: Translation Question: Any suggestions?

Postby Qimmik » Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:21 am

"the apparent suggestion that there is not necessarily anything intrinsically wrong with stealing; it just wins you no honour with the people . . . it was the lame justification offered that made me uncomfortable."

Actually, this is not inconsistent with the shame-based character of ancient Greek popular morality. While the Athenian man on the street might not have affirmatively maintained that thievery is not intrinsically wrong, without giving the matter much thought he might well have pointed to the disapproval of the community as a principal reason, if not the only one, for why it was wrong to steal. It took philosophers to sort out these issues.
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