Friday, 9 July 2010

Conze's translation of the Asta

When Conze's English translation of the Astasaharika is compared to the Sansrit its quite clear that he did not simply translate the text but provided an edited version of it. Whilst this may have been the fashion of the time, to attempt to render a text which has more incommon with litergy than literature in to a prose form, he did so at the expense of loosing much of the flavour of the text. To my mind a more acceptable route would be to make an English version which is a fair translation of the Sankrit. Translation in the sense of obtaining the semantic meaning signified in the text and presenting that in English. Whilst he has retained the narrative structure of the text, so much become wrapped in philosophic ideas. At times too, he abandons the notion that certain cultural refrences are not easily translated and so must be left intacked. In many ways the outcome of translating such text is one of 'restoration'. The language in its linguistic forms has become extinct and it needs to be re-assembled using moderm, current language. Ideally words free from any existing, specialised implications. Ones derived from the simplest and most basic experiences rather than those which are secondary abstractions. As it stands I can see that various parts of my English rendering can be difficult, but such 'difficulies' are largely inherent in the text itself. I do not mean in terms of conceptual ideas which I believe to be rendered more simplistically, but linguistic ones to do with concept ordering. But, as mentioned about, the text is liturgical, not a piece of prize winning contemporary fiction.

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