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Old 07-13-2007, 06:05 AM   #4
Dr. Drib
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I think we have to agree to dissagree on this one [smile]

Shakespeare is not Middle English, but Chaucer is.

When I studied him in Middle English, it was with notes and sidebars to the language.

To my way of thinking, Shakespeare can still be read, with the occasional word that needs to be looked up. Also, delving into Socio-Historical criticism helps one to understand the particular issues of an age.

I don't know who the "translator" is on this edition; but, of course, it's in the Public Domain so it must have some years accumulated on it.

I also agree with you in part (by stretching an analogy here) that ANY translation loses something, and often to the detriment of the work. Some notable exceptions, of course, come to mind: Constance Garnett, Gregory Rabassa, Scott Moncrieff come to mind in that they added their own poetic qualities to the work in translation. Every language has its own embedded social constructs and history, and to translate from one langauge to another is often to lose not only those social constructs but the poetic elements that make up the author's style. It's a balancing act. (My closest experience with translation comes from Doctoral work done in English where we had to learn two foreign languages for research purposes: I chose French and German. Part of our work was to translate passages into English; and, of course, when we wrote our 30-40 papge reserach papers [in other classes], we endulged in translation work to a certain extent.)

In this particular modern updating of a classic work, I notice that many poetic elements seem forced. I've read better translations into modern English, but these aren't in the public domain

But you make a good point in that nothing can take away from the original in that every translation is simply that: it's a movement away from the original. But ask yourself this: Why do we engage in translation work? My answer to this rhetorical question is this: To make a work more accessible to more people.

One of the beauties of language is that it's a "living" entity - an "organism" that expands and contracts with use. As long as a people use language, it evolves and changes. It reflects the age upon which it depends. When new words are added to the OED, or when words move from slang to general coinage, it's not because a committee authorized that change. Rather, it's because those words cannot be contained between the pages of a book.

Anyway, I do RESPECT your opinion, Harry, I hope you know that!

Warning: You are about to encounter a boldfaced sentence below:

I feel other opinions and voices are needed and welcome on this subject other than mine and Harry's.


Don

Last edited by Dr. Drib; 07-13-2007 at 06:08 AM.
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