translation query

This board is a composition workshop, like a writers' workshop: post your work with questions about style or vocabulary, comment on other people's work, post composition challenges on some topic or form, or just dazzle us with your inventive use of galliambics.
Post Reply
cclaudian
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 48
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2018 7:14 pm
Location: Cambridge UK / Auckland NZ

translation query

Post by cclaudian »

I'm struggling to translate the 'as' part of the following sentence:

His kindest word can make my heart as kind a servant.

'as _adjective_ a _noun' seems to be a really hard phrase to put in Greek. Just saying θυμὸν μαλάσσει doesn't to my mind get across the whole idea in English. can I use ὡσπερ without a correlative like οὕτως, which if i used would mean repeating 'word' (so 'his kindest word can make my heart as ως kind a servant [as ουτως his tear]')

Aetos
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 1041
Joined: Sat May 19, 2018 6:04 pm

Re: translation query

Post by Aetos »

How about ὅσον...τόσον with comparatives? This is probably rubbish, but I'm thinking something like this:

ὅσον μειλιχιότερος ὁ αὐτοῦ λόγος, τόσον ἀγανότερος δοῦλος ὁ ἐμός θυμός.

cclaudian
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 48
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2018 7:14 pm
Location: Cambridge UK / Auckland NZ

Re: translation query

Post by cclaudian »

Aetos wrote: Fri Jan 17, 2020 5:43 pm How about ὅσον...τόσον with comparatives? This is probably rubbish, but I'm thinking something like this:

ὅσον μειλιχιότερος ὁ αὐτοῦ λόγος, τόσον ἀγανότερος δοῦλος ὁ ἐμός θυμός.
That looks like a solution, although I feel to be sure I'd need a classical parallel of some kind to be sure. I wonder if the idea could be compressed to something like 'his kindest words made my heart such a servant'? i.e. such a servant as were his words [?], if that makes sense. What then for 'such'? οἶος δοῦλος? τοἶος?

Aetos
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 1041
Joined: Sat May 19, 2018 6:04 pm

Re: translation query

Post by Aetos »

cclaudian wrote: Wed Jan 29, 2020 2:50 pm
Aetos wrote: Fri Jan 17, 2020 5:43 pm How about ὅσον...τόσον with comparatives? This is probably rubbish, but I'm thinking something like this:

ὅσον μειλιχιότερος ὁ αὐτοῦ λόγος, τόσον ἀγανότερος δοῦλος ὁ ἐμός θυμός.
That looks like a solution, although I feel to be sure I'd need a classical parallel of some kind to be sure. I wonder if the idea could be compressed to something like 'his kindest words made my heart such a servant'? i.e. such a servant as were his words [?], if that makes sense. What then for 'such'? οἶος δοῦλος? τοἶος?
As soon as you mentioned "classical parallel", I realised that I was using Homeric adjectives! So at least for my sentence, probably πραότερος or φιλανθρωπότερος might be better and ψυχή rather than θυμός, so:

ὅσον μᾶλλον φιλάνθρωπος ὁ αὐτοῦ λόγος, τόσον πραότερος δοῦλος (ὑπηρέτης) ἡ ἐμή ψυχή.

I'm afraid I don't have very much experience with Attic authors as yet, so as far as offering parallels, I'm at a bit of a loss. I'm more at home with Homer and Herodotus. I do think that you're right about using correlatives, though.
Thinking out loud here, I believe the general idea is that one person's words can affect another person's behaviour. Getting more specific, the nature of one person's words can have a impact on the nature of another person. As I said, I'm just thinking out loud here, so following this particular train of thought, might we simplify this to: kindness begets kindness?
So: A kind word begets a kind heart. But we need to make it personal, so: his kind word begets my kind heart. Well, that certainly won't do. Let's see... the kinder the word, the kinder the heart it touches. The problem I have with the "servant heart" is that it has religious connotations, for which perhaps NT Greek might provide examples. I don't really know if it existed as a concept in Classical Greece. So in Greek:
πραοτέρα ἡ ψυχή, ἧς ὁ πραότατος ὁ λόγος ἅπτει.
or, to make it more personal:
πραοτέρα ἡ ἐμὴ ψυχή, ἧς ὁ αὐτοῦ ὁ πραότατος λόγος ἅπτει.

Well, perhaps we don't need correlatives, after all!

mwh
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 4361
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:34 am

Re: translation query

Post by mwh »

If I understand the English correctly it would need a significant amount of expansion to be intelligibly expressed in Greek. But I’m not going to give it a try myself.

A small thing that cclaudian is too polite to point out: ὁ αὐτοῦ λόγος should be ὁ λόγος αὐτοῦ (and ὁ αὐτοῦ ὁ πραότατος λόγος should be ὁ πραότατος λόγος αὐτοῦ—but αὐτοῦ is too weak to contrast with ἐμὴ, or ἐμὴ too strong).

Aetos
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 1041
Joined: Sat May 19, 2018 6:04 pm

Re: translation query

Post by Aetos »

Thanks for the corrections, Michael. I'm surprised I got even that close! I'll be spending more time with Dickey after I finish with Homeric vocabulary and in March I'll be starting Xenophon, so hopefully I'll be able to improve my composition skills and avoid rookie mistakes like those above.

phalakros
Textkit Fan
Posts: 295
Joined: Sat Nov 16, 2019 9:51 pm

Re: translation query

Post by phalakros »

If you’ll excuse the crudeness of my Greek—φοβοῦμαι μὴ τῇ φωνῇ σολοικίζω—maybe something like the following?

ἐκεῖνος οὖν, ὅταν ἔπεσι τέρπῃ, τὴν ἐμὴν γνώμην οἷός τ’ ἐστὶ πραύνειν τε καὶ καταστρέφεσθαι.

(Or ὅταν χαριέντως δὴ λέγῃ ἐκεῖνος… for a different tone; I’m not exactly sure what the English is getting at.)

I don’t think a correlative clause will easily work here. Idiomatic Greek, esp. prose, generally avoids the clunkiness of English with its accumulations of abstractions and personifications.

Post Reply