Translation training — Pro Sex. Roscio part 66 (section 69)

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Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Comments and opinions welcome.

Qua re hoc quo minus est credibile, nisi ostenditur, eo magis est, si convincitur, vindicandum. Itaque cum multis ex rebus intellegi potest maiores nostros non modo armis plus quam ceteras nationes verum etiam consilio sapientiaque potuisse, tum ex hac re vel maxime quod in impios singulare supplicium invenerunt. Qua in re quantum prudentia praestiterint eis qui apud ceteros sapientissimi fuisse dicuntur considerate.

Consequently, in the same proportion as it cannot be believed unless it is demonstrated, it must be severely avenged if it is established. Therefore, while there are many facts from which one may understand that our forefathers were more powerful than all other nations not only in war but also in judgment and wisdom, the fact from which one may most clearly understand it is that they devised a singular punishment for parricides*. Look at how much, with regards to this matter, they surpassed in intelligence those who are reputed to have been the wisest among other peoples.

*This word, impios, almost had me banging my head on the walls again; but I decided to go with "parricides" because that's what he's actually talking about here even though impios of course doesn't literally mean that per se. Anyway I could find no better solution.
 

AoM

nulli numeri
in the same proportion as
Sounds odd; not sure what to replace with (literally, 'the less...the more'?)
Itaque cum multis ex rebus intellegi potest maiores nostros non modo armis plus quam ceteras nationes verum etiam consilio sapientiaque potuisse, tum ex hac re vel maxime quod in impios singulare supplicium invenerunt.
This is the correlative use of cum...tum, right? Not that using 'while' doesn't work here.
parricides*
I guess I'd stay more literal.
with regards to this matter
I'd move this to the beginning.
 

LVXORD

Civis Illustris
"...in the same proportion as it cannot be believed unless it is demonstrated, it must be severely avenged if it is established." - the English feels a little stilted to me, though I'm not sure exactly how I would translate it.
"the fact from which one may most clearly understand..." - this too feels a bit unidiomatic. Maybe just, "...one may most clearly understand this from the fact that..."
"Look at how much" - Maybe "Look at how far" sounds nicer.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Sounds odd; not sure what to replace with (literally, 'the less...the more'?)
That would be the literal translation, but I'm not sure it would work here. In English, wouldn't it imply that there were times when a parricide was more credible, and other times when it was less credible, and that it should be punished more severely when it was less credible? As opposed to what is really meant, namely that a parricide is always incredible and that, just as true as that is (or "in the same proportion", I really don't know how to put it better), it should always be severely avenged.
This is the correlative use of cum...tum, right?
I'm not sure about the name, but it's when it means literally something like "on the one hand... on the other hand (especially)...", "both... and (especially)..."
I guess I'd stay more literal.
The problem is precisely that there is no exact literal English translation for that word, lol.
 

AoM

nulli numeri
That would be the literal translation, but I'm not sure it would work here. In English, wouldn't it imply that there were times when a parricide was more credible, and other times when it was less credible, and that it should be punished more severely when it was less credible? As opposed to what is really meant, namely that a parricide is always incredible and that, just as true as that is (or "in the same proportion", I really don't know how to put it better), it should always be severely avenged.
Thinking about it, I guess he's saying, if evidence is not shown, a parricide should be given less credence just as much as one should be given more if sufficient evidence is. But considering you've been reading the text more thoroughly, I'm still unsure lol.
The problem is precisely that there is no exact literal English translation for that word, lol.
'immoral/wicked men'?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Thinking about it, I guess he's saying, if evidence is not shown, a parricide should be given less credence just as much as one should be given more if sufficient evidence is. But considering you've been reading the text more thoroughly, I'm still unsure lol.
Not exactly; he's saying that just as much as, if evidence is not shown, a parricide can't be given credence, one should punish it if sufficient evidence is.
'immoral/wicked men'?
Seems too general. Immoral/wicked can include many sorts of behavior which don't properly fall under the impius category for which the "singular punishment" was devised.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
just as much
But in fact, what about:

just as much as it cannot be believed unless it is demonstrated, it must be severely avenged if it is established.

?
 

AoM

nulli numeri
But in fact, what about:

just as much as it cannot be believed unless it is demonstrated, it must be severely avenged if it is established.

?
Oh, I think that works better.
Not exactly; he's saying that just as much as, if evidence is not shown, a parricide can't be given credence, one should punish it if sufficient evidence is.
Seems too general. Immoral/wicked can include many sorts of behavior which don't properly fall under the impius category for which the "singular punishment" was devised.
So the sense is "those who have betrayed/been wicked toward their family/country (more specifically here, their fathers)? The anti-Aeneas, it seems.

I'd just prefer to keep that veiled language instead of being more explicit.
 

LVXORD

Civis Illustris
I think the idea is that the burden of proof correlates to the severity of the punishment in respect to magnitude.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
So the sense is "those who have betrayed/been wicked toward their family/country (more specifically here, their fathers)? The anti-Aeneas, it seems.
Yes.
 

Aurifex

Aedilis
Staff member
Sounds odd
"...in the same proportion as it cannot be believed unless it is demonstrated, it must be severely avenged if it is established." - the English feels a little stilted to me.
It sounds literary, certainly, but it didn't jar on me. Maybe I'm just used to reading odd and stilted English, though.
One thing that is regrettably absent in the translation is the minus...magis antithesis; I might have tried to squeeze that in somehow.
the fact from which one may most clearly understand it.
I'd probably say "this" for "it".
with regards to this matter
At the risk of inviting anti-prescriptivist censure from certain quarters, I was taught that the options were: "regarding", "with regard to" and "as regards". Here I might say "in respect of".
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
One thing that is regrettably absent in the translation is the minus...magis antithesis; I might have tried to squeeze that in somehow.
How? Something like "for being less credible in the absence of evidence, it must be all the more severely avenged if it is established"? I'm not at all sure it works... "Less" feels kind of weird there.

There's also the literal translation "the less... the more", but I'm not sure it works either, as I said earlier:
Sounds odd; not sure what to replace with (literally, 'the less...the more'?)
That would be the literal translation, but I'm not sure it would work here. In English, wouldn't it imply that there were times when a parricide was more credible, and other times when it was less credible, and that it should be punished more severely when it was less credible? As opposed to what is really meant, namely that a parricide is always incredible and that, just as true as that is (or "in the same proportion", I really don't know how to put it better), it should always be severely avenged.
Yet, as I was wondering how others had translated that sentence and I Googled it, I found someone who apparently hadn't seen any problem with translating it that way: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.02.0018:text=S. Rosc.:chapter=24:section=69

But I'm not sure whether the translation is meant as literal or literary.

Edit: Oh, my question is answered on that very page: "M. Tullius Cicero. The Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, literally translated by C. D. Yonge. London. George Bell & Sons. 1903." So I guess it isn't a reliable example for me if my aim is to produce an idiomatic translation.
 

Aurifex

Aedilis
Staff member
How? Something like "for being less credible in the absence of evidence, it must be all the more severely avenged if it is established"? I'm not at all sure it works... "Less" feels kind of weird there. There's also the literal translation "the less... the more", but I'm not sure it works either,
If your solutions don't strike you as satisfactory, then this is a sign that you need to keep trying until you find a better solution that still includes "less" and "more".
The Loeb translation too uses "less" and "more", though it needlessly and, in my view, detrimentally, reverses the word order in the penultimate clause.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I'm afraid I really have no clue. :(
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Except maybe:

Just as there is nothing less credible than this unless it is demonstrated, there is nothing that should be more severely avenged if it is established.

But that seems too far from the original...
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
The Loeb translation too uses "less" and "more", though it needlessly and, in my view, detrimentally, reverses the word order in the penultimate clause.
I take it that, apart from that word-order issue, you approve their translation? Could you (or anyone else who has the opportunity) post their translation of the sentence for me?
 

Aurifex

Aedilis
Staff member
I take it that, apart from that word-order issue, you approve their translation?
I'm not sure why.
Could you (or anyone else who has the opportunity) post their translation of the sentence for me?
You should be able to view it yourself by doing a search on the first clause, for instance, and adding "Loeb" at the end.

This is my attempt at the sentence:
"Therefore, in the same proportion as parricide is less credible unless it is brought to light, it should all the more be punished if it is proven to have taken place."
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
You should be able to view it yourself by doing a search on the first clause, for instance, and adding "Loeb" at the end.
No, they won't let me view it without a subscription.
This is my attempt at the sentence:
"Therefore, in the same proportion as parricide is less credible unless it is brought to light, it should all the more be punished if it is proven to have taken place."
Thanks. I thought something like that wouldn't work because "less" than what? But I guess I was wrong.
 

Aurifex

Aedilis
Staff member
No, they won't let me view it without a subscription.
Sorry, I should have said that the publishers will now only let you view one page and then you have to clear your history/cookies to see a second. That's in the regions where they grant people that much indulgence, and your region may be excluded. Fortunately, I've got a paper copy so don't need to delete my history on this occasion.

This is the translation, which doesn't read too felicitously, I'd say:
"This is the reason why, the less credible parricide is, unless it is clearly demonstrated, it should be punished all the more severely, if it is proved beyond a doubt."
What do you make of it?
 
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