20 January 2008

Thoughts on Religious Translation and a Brief Description of Angers

Three Comments on Translation in Religious Circumstances.
When you go to Mass in a foreign language, the first thing you pick up is the "And also with you" bit, since it's said about ten times throughout the mass. A better translation of the Latin is "And with your spirit." All fine and dandy until you've got a language with more than one way to say "you." Russian chose the informal "И с духим твоим," and French chose the formal "Et avec votre esprit." Weird. Latin uses (I think) the informal. Why did French formalize it?

Another interesting translation issue is that pesky Greek logos which can mean word or idea or verb or logic or any other number of things. English has "In the beginning there was the Word," and Jesus is referred to as the Word a lot. Russian does the same. French (and Italian and Spanish, and possibly lots more languages that I can't read at all) call Him the Verb. Which makes sense, given that God's name is Yahweh, "I am." He's a Verb, which is more powerful than a general Word.

And my favorite "translator's choice" related to religion is Joseph's coat. Either "many-colored" or "long-sleeved" or any other impressive adjective. Interesting, huh? Of the two French versions I found on the internet, one was vague with "splendide" and the other called it multicolored.
I really like Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical, especially the song with that memory-testing melodically-boring passage "It was red and yellow and green and brown and scarlet and black and ochre and peach and ruby and olive and violet and fawn and lilac and gold and chocolate and mauve and cream and crimson and silver and rose and azure and lemon and russet and gray and purple and white and pink and orange and blue." (I typed that from memory, by the way) But imagine if that song instead went, "It had really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really long sleeves." Wouldn't be quite as fun.

Making Stuff and A Brief Description of Angers
This weekend I felt like making stuff. Yesterday I went to Carrefour (like Wal-Mart without the craft supplies section) to search for craft-supply substitutes. I wanted to make a fairly sturdy soccer-bag-style backpack. No fabric section means no canvas, so I found some thick blue placemats in the size I needed. No thread, so I got some beading nylon. No ribbon, but I found some polypropylene rope in a nice shade of blue. Incidentally, I figured out that the easiest way to keep the stuff from fraying at the ends is to melt the outer plastic with a lit match. Works like a charm. My new bag is pretty awesome, if I do say so myself, even though it's made of unique materials and I did all the sewing by hand. My rather perforated right middle finger is the proof. Here's a picture:

Ta da!
The other thing I made was a somewhat decorated letter to blogger Dawn's son Austin (see this link). If you live someplace interesting, send the kid a postcard. My resulting letter + postcard is actually a pretty good description of everything that's cool about Angers, historically, architecturally and so on. So I took pictures of it, which I am posting here.

Another week with nothing too specific to do, so hopefully there'll be at least one adventure. I'll post once it happens!

3 comments:

Jakob said...

Wouldn't having extremely long sleeves on a coat be rather counterproductive? You couldn't really hold anything, and if the sleeves are dragging around on the ground behind you, you can't roll them up very easily either. Just saying.

Kel Miller said...

Well, yes. But I think if the coat/tunic had long sleeves they would have been typical sleeves. If you're living in a Middle Eastern climate, sleeves aren't really necessary. So I suppose specifying that the garment had long sleeves would be a way of saying "Look at how unnecessarily expensive this thing was! My son sure is worth it, even though [he'll be pretty sweaty] /\ [he's unnecessarily colorful]." (That was my attempt at an or sign, by the way)

Kathleen said...

Does the Latin singular have an informal connotation or is it merely numeric?
(Incidentally, according to Wikipedia, the "royal 'we'" apparently does not derive from formal/informal usage.)