aryanhwy: (face)
I spent a large part of the afternoon on AIM with Amy, discussing with her the right ways to translate principium and principiatum. Principium by itself was easy: It means something like 'origin, beginning' but also 'principle' (as in both the adjective and the noun), and I knew that this was the kind of meaning I wanted. A principiatum, on the other hand, is something depends on a principium (a principium being that which a principiatum depends on). I first had 'of principles', but that wasn't right grammatically or semantically. For a while, I considered 'derivative', because the distinction between 'principle' and 'derivative' is the right distinction, but I didn't like that, because 'derivative' has its own Latin root, and that root isn't principiatum, and if 'derivative' was really the best word in this context, the author wouldn't have used principiatum. Then we toyed with making the pair be 'original' and 'originated', but this was also not the best fit, because the Latin words are nouns, not substantive adjectives. But this was better than nothing. Finally, I decided to see if there was anything useful in the OED s.v. principle. And that was when I saw in the sidebar an entry for the word 'principiate'. That's exactly the word I wanted; the etymology section of the entry even confirms that it's from principiatus, of which principiatum is just the neuter form. And then I read the example quotes in the entry. There's just two, and they're both from the 17th century, and the latter is from Burthogge's 1694 textbook Reason:

"Of Substances some are Principles, some Principiates... By Principiates (give me leave to make an English word of one not very good Latin) I mean substances that are caused or composed of Principles. Principles make, Principiates are made to be."

I love it! I'm not the only one who struggled with how to represent this word in English! And this is exactly the distinction which my author was making in his text.
aryanhwy: (Default)
Tomorrow I'm giving a talk in Bonn (Germany). Arrangements were made for this just over three weeks ago, at which time I had this idea, which I thought would work out, and I rashly said "I'll give a talk on X" where X was that idea. About half of the last three weeks was spent on a translation project for my promotor, which he needed to have by Dec. 1. So my time was split between writing up my thoughts on my idea and frantically translating. Got the translation sent off on Tuesday, was very productive on putting together my talk on Tuesday, thought I had all by the final bit figured the end of Wednesday I realized that over the course of the day I'd deleted everything I had written the day before, my idea didn't work, and I was so frustrated that I was nearly in tears as I tried to explain to Joel why my idea didn't and how I felt like I had nothing new to say in my talk. I talked my way through it, and he gave me some very useful feedback, and helped me regain my perspective, and today I spent 4 hours converting 12 pages of text in 56 slides - for a one hour talk. Something seems a bit disproportionate here...but at least I'm 100% sure that I won't run out of things to say.

And then I'm taking next week off. There's two workshops happening in Amsterdam, one Monday and Tuesday (PALMYR), and the other Wednesday through Friday (COMSOC), both of which I'm planning to attend most of the talks of, which will be a very nice break from frenetic translation and frantic talk-preparation.
aryanhwy: (Default)
I'm currently translating the section on metaphysics in Jacob Lorhard's 1606 book Ogdoas Scholastica. This has been an interesting exercise in various respects - it's my first foray into 17th-century Latin, my first translation which will be used by people other than me (and so I can't leave vague questions and bad grammar in it!), it isn't really a narrative or an argument, but rather one huge complicated flow-chart. (Take a look at the first page.), and it's written by a 17th-century philosopher.

I've run into a number of interesting things.

- There's a couple of places, more than I'd like unfortunately, where I'm not translating anything, because the best corresponding modern English phrase simply IS the Latin. (E.g. the distinction between simpliciter and secundum quid. And sometimes I'm torn between leaving realiter as it is and finding a clunky translation.) I feel a bit weird that there is so much Latin in a text which I'm technically supposed to be translating out of Latin! It'd be like finding filet mignon over and over in a text you're translating from French to English.
- This is crammed full of technical vocabulary where the Latinization is very superficial, and you can basically hack of the ending and have a word. However, it's not necessarily a word that you'd find it common use. I've found myself often heading to the OED to find out "is 'accidentality' a REAL word?" And if I can find a 17th-century citation for the word, even if those are the only citations listed, I'll use it. After all, a translation of a 17th-C Latin word into 17th-C English vocabulary will probably result in something closer to the original, and people who are reading this should be smart enough to figure out what accidentality is.
- On the other hand, because I'm using so many rather antiquated words, I feel like I'm giving the reader silent instruction to "when faced with an unusual or unexpected word, read it as if this was the 17th century". Then I come to things like quasi partes. I want to be able to translate this into a rather nice modern idiom, "virtual parts", but given my implicit instruction to the reader based on my use of other words, I'm afraid that this will end up being read in a 17th-century mindset, too, when what I want is it to be read modernly!

I'm really enjoying all these intricacies and tricky bits. There is a lot more depth and width to translating than I ever realized before I started.
aryanhwy: (Default)
Between Latham's Revised Medieval Latin Word-List and my classical Latin dictionary, I can find pretty much every word I need, or enough info to allow me to guess at the meaning of the new word I'm faced with. But because I like books and I like dictionaries and I wouldn't mind having something more comprehensive, I've been watching Bookfinder for reasonably-priced volumes of the Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources. Most of them seem to be running ~€100-€500, way more than I want to pay, but last spring I was able to get fascicule VII ("N") for around €25.

Since getting it, I came to the realization that there are very few words beginning with that I can't find in my usual sources. So, the book has been very patiently merely sitting on my desk. Until today, when I finally found a word beginning with that wasn't in my classical dictionary or in Latham's wordlist.

And you know what? It's not in the dictionary, either! All this time, waiting for a word to look up in the dictionary, I finally have one, and it's not there! No fair!

Of course, it's not like I can't deduce from context what numerica means, but still, it's the principle of the thing.


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