Thursday, April 22, 2010

On Language

I have been translating this text literally as much as possible and have it make sense. It is interesting to see how people expressed themselves back then, because it is different than how we express ourselves today. As an example of this we have Margery Kempe referring to herself in the third person as a creature, that is 'a being created by God'. Most translators will clean up the language and render it into modern English which involves a bit of interpretation.
There is a line in Gesta Francorum that I translated as "We are subject to the emperor". In reality it read, "In roga imperatoris locati sumus". It does not translate well into English but it basically means how I translated it.
This is what it is literally in English "On the funeral pyre of the emperor, placed we are". This is not how a modern slave would explain their slavery.


Tracy said...

Interesting one - so that implies that in the past the Emperor's slaves were burnt on the funeral pyre with him? Lovely!

The Red Witch said...

I don't think the Byzantine emperor ever did this. The Byzantine empire was always Christian. They might have borrowed this phrase from other cultures where it had been done.

Tracy said...

It's odd they didn't rephrase it/phrase it using a metaphor that made more sense.

The Red Witch said...

That is just it. It made sense at the time. When I translated it, I updated it to a more modern expression.

Anonymous said...

I suppose it was old and therefore venerated way of indicating your fealty. They didn't change it because, although, it made no sense, it indicated some continuity of power from the ancient times to the times of Byzantium.