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Author Topic: Texts with parallel translation  (Read 5691 times)

David Dodds

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Texts with parallel translation
« on: July 11, 2017, 03:48:49 PM »
I've been working my way through Bill Griffiths' text and translation of "The Battle of Maldon" (Anglo-Saxon Books recently and enjoy having the line by line translation on the opposing page to the original text. I find that working my way through the text a line or two at a time, attempting a translation and then comparing it, seems to suit my addled brain rather well.


I've been searching for editions of other OE texts in a similar format, but unfortunately most on-line bookshops provide very little information about content or format.


Can anyone help with suggestions of editions in this format? I'm interested in historical prose documents as well as poetry.

Linden

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Re: Texts with parallel translation
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2017, 04:17:38 PM »
Hello David - welcome to the Gegaderung. 

Two inexpensive books in this format are John Porter's Anglo-Saxon Riddles and Beowulf published by Anglo-Saxon Books.  The translations are not elegant - they are not meant to be; instead Porter attempts to provide a more 'word-for-word' rendering of the generally accepted sense of the poems.  It is a helpful approach for anyone starting out on the task of tackling OE poetry especially if you also use a dictionary to get a deeper sense of the Old English texts.

I can't help you with advice on side-by-side editions/translations of the prose - I specialise in the poetry and the Exeter Book in particular.  However, most of the prose is much more straightforward than the poetry.  It is usually not ambiguous, makes little use of metaphor and the syntax/grammar is much easier to follow.  Having said all that -there are probably numerous exceptions to this sweeping generalisation. Perhaps someone else can help you with some suggestions for texts to start with.

Cræft biþ betere ðonne æhta

Phyllis

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Re: Texts with parallel translation
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2017, 07:47:22 PM »
Hi David

I believe Bill Griffiths did a separate book on the Battle of Maldon - I'm not sure if the full text is in the book you have?

http://asbooks.co.uk/oetexts-maldon-battle.htm

Generally AS Books may have some others, although I can't think of any off hand. However, they do at least tell you. They do sell the Beowulf edition by John Porter that Linden mentions, and it's really useful!

Wes hal!

Phyllis

David Dodds

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Re: Texts with parallel translation
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2017, 07:58:11 PM »
Thanks to both of you - I've ordered those two from AS Books. I've promised myself I won't read Beowulf until I'm reasonably competent at the language - though I suspect my will-power will give way! A prose book with parallel PDE text would be a useful learning tool, but I guess there's less demand for that than for poetry.


Phyllis - that is the copy of "The Battle of Maldon" I have - its very nicely presented.

Roseberry

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Re: Texts with parallel translation
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2017, 01:55:56 AM »
Hello and welcome David,

As already stated, John Porter's translation of Beowulf is pretty much word for word, which can be useful, but it doesn't sound very poetical. And Beowulf, after all, is an epic heroic poem. Seamus Heaney's translation is highly regarded and, as you would expect from a poet, he manages to deliver a translation that invokes a real sense of the original's rhythm. Unfortunately, it sacrifices some of the meaning in doing so.

Generally, because you will be reading translations, you will tend to find that the scholar will either focus on the language - metre, alliteration, rhythm, etc. - and sacrifice some of the meaning, or he will focus on the meaning (usually prose versions of the text) at the expense of the poetry.

The only other dual-language text on Beowulf, to my knowledge, is by Howell D. Chickering, Jr. In this version, the OE text is on the left-hand page, and its translation is on the opposite page. He also includes a guide to reading aloud. It is worth reading his Preface and Introduction for advice on reading and understanding the text. This book might help you, if used alongside John Porter's translation.

In addition, Magnus Magnusson praises Michael Alexander's translation for capturing the 'poetic power and eloquence of the original' (Penguin Classics, 2001). Also, a really good prose translation can be found in the Everyman book, called Anglo-Saxon Poetry, trans. and ed. by S. A. J. Bradley (Orion Publishing Group, 1982). My favourite, however, is Professor Tolkien's translation (I admit to being biased), which conveys an old-fashioned grandeur that is well suited to Beowulf. His understanding of OE is renowned, so it is well worth reading. If you want more insight into Beowulf, you could also take a look at his essays on this text, which can be found in The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays, written by the man himself.
(All the above can be bought on Amazon)

Now, as for other OE texts, Stephen Pollington includes a number of OE texts (in OE) in his book, First Steps in Old English, which can be purchased together with the CD (better to get both) from Anglo-Saxon Books. You can read them whilst listening to them on the CD. Listening to OE is a great way of familiarising yourself with the language. Don't panic, if it sounds like gobbledygook at first. The more that you listen to it, the less 'foreign' it sounds. You will gradually start to recognise words, and listening to OE will help you get a 'feel' for the patterns of speech. There are also lots of videos on YouTube. Matt Love has done some really good ones. Best of luck!





Roseberry

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Re: Texts with parallel translation
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2017, 01:59:31 AM »
The book titles were in italics, but they have not shown up. Whoops!  :-[