Translation training — first sentences of Pro Sex. Roscio

By Pacifica, in 'Latin to English Translation', Jun 17, 2016.

?

What do you think of this translation?

Execrable 0 vote(s) 0.0%
Very bad 0 vote(s) 0.0%
Bad 0 vote(s) 0.0%
Rather bad 0 vote(s) 0.0%
Middle 0 vote(s) 0.0%
Rather good 0 vote(s) 0.0%
Good 0 vote(s) 0.0%
Very good 3 vote(s) 100.0%
Wonderful 0 vote(s) 0.0%
  1. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    I found some parts of this rather difficult to render idiomatically in English. Any votes and comments welcome.

    [1] Credo ego vos, iudices, mirari, quid sit, quod, cum tot summi oratores hominesque nobilissimi sedeant, ego potissimum surrexerim, is, qui neque aetate neque ingenio neque auctoritate sim cum his, qui sedeant, comparandus. Omnes hi, quos videtis adesse in hac causa, iniuriam novo scelere conflatam putant oportere defendi, defendere ipsi propter iniquitatem temporum non audent. Ita fit, ut adsint propterea, quod officium sequuntur, taceant autem idcirco, quia periculum vitant. [2] Quid ergo? Audacissimus ego ex omnibus? Minime. An tanto officiosior quam ceteri? Ne istius quidem laudis ita sum cupidus, ut aliis eam praereptam velim. Quae me igitur res praeter ceteros impulit, ut causam Sex. Rosci reciperem? Quia, si qui istorum dixisset, quos videtis adesse, in quibus summa auctoritas est atque amplitudo, si verbum de re publica fecisset, id, quod in hac causa fieri necesse est, multo plura dixisse, quam dixisset, putaretur.

    I imagine you are wondering, judges, how it is that, while so many excellent orators and very renowned men are here seated, I, out of all, am the one who have stood up, a man to be compared neither in age nor in talent nor in influence to these who are seated. All of these whom you see present in this trial think that this injustice, brought about by an unheard-of villainy, ought to be averted; but, due to the unfavorableness of the times, they do not dare to avert it themselves. As a result, they are here because they follow their duty, but they keep silent because they shun danger. So what? Am I the boldest of all? By no means. Am I so much more dutiful than all the others? Even on those grounds I am not so eager to gain esteem as to want it snatched away from others. What was it, then, that prompted me, unlike all others, to undertake the case of Sex. Roscius? It was because, if any of these whom you see here present, who possess great influence and distinction, had pleaded the case, if he had uttered but one word concerning the Republic, which in this trial must needs happen, he would be thought to have said much more than he actually had.
    Last edited by Pacifica, Jun 17, 2016
  2. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    Location:
    England
    You've done a commendable job of it.

    A few things call for comment:

    "Judges" for iudices isn't very natural English; we can only really say "gentlemen".

    Homines nobilissimi would perhaps be better translated "men of distinction".

    For "here seated" I'd probably say "sitting here".

    "Out of all" is a little awkward; there are many other options for translating the force of potissimum.

    "Averted" - I'd probably go for "combated".

    "Due to" - change to "owing to".

    Periculum vitant really has to be "WANT to stay out of danger" or similar. (I've capitalized the salient word because I can't italicize on this i-Pad.)

    Quid ergo is nearly always difficult to render idiomatically. Here, maybe choose "What are we to conclude then?"

    "An" - it would be worth trying to render this in your translation.

    "It was because" is a slightly awkward follow-on from the preceding question. I'd probably say something like "what prompted me was the fact that..."
  3. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Thanks.

    What about:

    I imagine you are wondering, gentlemen, how it is that, while so many excellent orators and men of distinction are sitting here, I, rather than anyone else, am the one who have stood up, a man to be compared neither in age nor in talent nor in influence to these who are sitting. All of these whom you see present in this trial think that this injustice, brought about by an unheard-of villainy, ought to be combated; but, owing to the unfavorableness of the times, they do not dare to combat it themselves. As a result, they are here because they follow their duty, but they keep silent because they want to stay out of danger. What are we to conclude then? Am I the boldest of all? By no means. Or am I so much more dutiful than all the others? Even on those grounds I am not so eager to gain esteem as to want it snatched away from others. What was it, then, that prompted me, unlike all others, to undertake the case of Sex. Roscius? What prompted me was the fact that, if any of these whom you see here present, who possess great influence and distinction, had pleaded the case, if he had uttered but one word concerning the Republic, which in this trial must needs happen, he would be thought to have said much more than he actually had.

    ?

    I'm still not sure about potissimum.

    What was wrong with "due to"? Aren't it and "owing to" synonymous? Or is it a matter of register?
  4. LVXORD Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Australia
    Potissimum might be rendered as 'above all', I reckon.
  5. Imperfacundus Reprobatissimus

    • Civis Illustris
    I don't have the energy to defend the following from the usual barrage of 'but it's not literal!' so take it as you will.

    ''I, rather than anyone else'' - 'I, of all people''
    ''to be compared neither in'' - ''comparable neither in''
    ''to those who are sitting'' - ''to those sitting (or seated)''
    ''All of these whom you see present in this trial'' - 'all those you see here today''
    ''brought about by''- just for dramatic effect, ''wrought by''
    ''[injustice] ought to be combated'' - ''must be corrected'' or ''dealt with''
    ''the unfavorableness of the times'' - ''the trying circumstances''
    ''they do not dare to combat it themselves'' - ''they dare not do so themselves''
    ''as a result, they are here because they follow their duty'' - ''and so they have come here to fulfill their duty''
    ''because they want to stay out of danger'' - ''to stay out of danger''
    ''Or am I so much more'' - ''that much more'' (sounds better to me)
    ''esteem'' - ''respect, standing'' etc.
    ''unlike all others'' - ''and not anyone else''
    ''to undertake the case'' - ''to take on the case''
    ''if any of these whom you see here present, who possess great influence and distinction'' - ''if any of these influential men of distinction you see here today''
    ''if he had uttered'' - ''and if he had uttered''
    ''but one word'' - ''even one word'' (less archaic)
    ''which in this trial must needs happen'' - ''which this trial demands''
    ''he would be thought'' - ''would have been thought''
  6. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Yes, but it seemed to me it would sound rather weird here. Was I wrong?
    I think this should do.
  7. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Canada
    "Above all" doesn't sound right to me here because it makes it sound like others have stood up as well, and that though the judges might wonder why those others have stood up, they wonder most of all about Cicero.
  8. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    Location:
    England
    In practice most people today make them so, but I like to preserve the traditional distinction between the two.
  9. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Which is...? That "due to" can only be used adjectivally and not adverbially, perhaps?
  10. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    Location:
    England
    Basically, yes.

    I don't know any classicists who regard due to as interchangeable with owing to, but then most of the classicists I know are getting on a bit.
  11. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Well, I didn't have the slightest idea, until you told me, that the use I made of "due to" was in any manner controversial. I'd used it like that ever since I'd known English, and I think I must have learned it that way in my English course. Now the course probably wasn't devised by classicists.
  12. Imperfacundus Reprobatissimus

    • Civis Illustris
    Generally I've at least heard of most pedantic distinctions like this (cough, 'such as this') but I'd never suspected this one even existed.
  13. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Canada
    Neither had I.
  14. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    Location:
    England
    It's arguably as pedantic to insist there is no distinction in these sorts of things as to insist that there is one.
    Last edited by Aurifex, Jun 19, 2016
    malleolus likes this.
  15. Etaoin Shrdlu Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Actually, that's OK, unless someone knows an objection that I don't. The pedantic objection to 'like' is to the adverbial use ('Winston tastes good like a cigarette should').
  16. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Canada
    On another note, it's interesting that you classed "rather good" (in your poll) as halfway between "middle" and "good"; I would instinctively have classed it as one grade higher than "good" (if I wanted this sort of grade between "middle" and "good", I would instead have said "slightly good"). Just curious what your reasoning was?
  17. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Canada
    Of course, I'm not sure that such a distinction really means anything when it comes to something so subjective as a translation. :D
  18. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    To my mind, "rather good" means "rather good than bad", though perhaps not that good.
  19. Imperfacundus Reprobatissimus

    • Civis Illustris
    Wiktionary marks the 'for example' usage as informal.

    I don't think so. It's pedants who insist on making distinctions that others don't.
  20. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    Location:
    England
    Presumably you'll agree there's a difference between merely not making a distinction and insisting that there isn't one. It was people in the second category I was saying there is an argument for calling pedants, not the first. I had hoped that much was sufficiently clear.

    It's common for people round my way to use the word pairs (just to give a few examples) "lend" and "borrow", "theft" and "robbery", "effect" and "affect" indistinguishably. If you yourself make a distinction (as I assume you do) in the way you use these pairs of words, can I assume you're happy to be labelled a pedant? Because, you see, if you do make a distinction in these pairs of words, or at least one pair of them, then in saying that it's pedants who insist on making distinctions that others don't you are labelling yourself a pedant.

Share This Page

 

Our Latin forum is a community for discussion of all topics relating to Latin language, ancient and medieval world.

Latin Boards on this Forum:

English to Latin, Latin to English translation, general Latin language, Latin grammar, Latine loquere, ancient and medieval world links.