lost in the translation 
by l. ostin & thetra n. s. lations
lost in the translation
maybe we can find
the things that we believe are just a figment of the mind
the things that we believe are just another in-car-nation
maybe we can find (in time), we:
lost in the translation
· in the dead sea scrolls (1996) by wise, abegg & cook, a detailed description is given as to the process of biblical scholarship.
- even in present day, there is very little funding, and the work is as much an art as a science.
- “…it requires inspiration, intuition, and clamp-jawed determination.”
- bits of writings are retrieved from damaged scrolls – which are (literally?) inked etchings on animal skins.
- the damage results in ‘partial’ (pieces) of legible words and phrases, which the scholar attempts to transcribe – by ‘imagining’ what would have been written there.
- the transcription, of course, must then be translated from languages like greek, hebrew or aramaic, into (in the case of the dead sea scrolls,) english.
· while transcription admits to a large degree of uncertainty, this is what the authors have to say about ‘translations’ on pages 41-43:
- early ‘editors’ were overwhelmed by large volumes of material, gathered over the course of lifetimes – resulting in limited reconstruction.
- “there is no single translation equivalent for many words, not to speak of phrases or entire texts.” the authors use an example: the english phrase “bend over backward” -- as one that cannot be translated into german, italian or french.
- “traduttore traditore.” means “the translator is a traitor.”
- “translators betray both what they translate and the readers of the translation. by their very effort they violate the original.”
- you knew this, but “exact translation between two languages is impossible.”
- the authors stress: “to truly read goethe, you must learn german.”
deduction: if we read our holy books (in english), we are reading editions of flawed translations of incomplete transcriptions written by multiple (unknown) authors, often centuries after being passed down by word-of-mouth.
we do not know who told the stories, or who influenced the telling of the stories. we don’t know the authors or the editors (or who influenced the authors & editors – except in cases like the ‘king james version’).
…so now we’ve got editions of a ‘version’ of flawed translations of incomplete transcriptions, based upon word-of-mouth stories… passed-on over generations... prior to being written-down, and then, centuries later, ‘composed’ (which means that some information was selected, while some was rejected).
“taking it literally” may (literally?) not even be possible.