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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Leet speke

If you are interested in learning more about the slang used in the previous post you might check out this Wikipedia article about Leet, the ancestor of LOLCat.

What impressed me about the 1 Timothy 1 passage was the use of FTW and pwn. This is creative and idiomatic use of language and required a thought process on the part of the translators to express an ancient concept in modern parlance. Another interesting thing that I noticed was the words and concepts that weren't changed. This points toward concepts which are so alien that the translators didn't have a way to express them in modern slang. Does that happen in any other translations? You bet it does.

Should this translation be added to the sidebar at BBB? And does it minister to a community that isn't touched by traditional translations? I think the answer to both questions is yes. It's a big world out there and this is a niche translation for a part of it that until now I didn't know about.

10 Comments:

At Tue Jun 03, 03:48:00 PM, Blogger Iyov said...

Sure, it works great with cute things like a brief epistle. Let's see how tolerable or useful it is for translating Chronicles.

(PS: If you feature this effort, I trust you will also feature translation efforts into other artificial languages such as Esperanto, Klingon, and so forth. I think it is much more interesting to translate into a natural language because that is where the deep problems arise.)

 
At Tue Jun 03, 03:54:00 PM, Blogger J. K. Gayle said...

As a n00b, I don't know whether to say Huh? or w00t!

You do impress with you über insights:

This is creative and idiomatic use of language and required a thought process on the part of the translators to express an ancient concept in modern parlance. Another interesting thing that I noticed was the words and concepts that weren't changed. This points toward concepts which are so alien that the translators didn't have a way to express them in modern slang.

I think your sensitivity to "a community" of people and its language savvy is pretty remarkable.

Do you know Larry Wall, Alison Randal, and the PERL culture of the last tagmemicists on the planet (besides a few of us wannabes)? They're interested in people using computer language as a natural language with all the deep problems that Iyov alludes to.

Are there any open seats in your translation classroom in Mozambique?

 
At Tue Jun 03, 10:18:00 PM, Blogger David Ker said...

Iyov, I see a difference here. This is an English dialect used by a sizable population at least in writing. For us as outsiders, it is difficult to ascertain what ftw and pwn mean which is exactly the position a translation consultant ends up in.

 
At Wed Jun 04, 02:25:00 AM, Blogger Glennsp said...

Sizeable population!! I very much doubt that. Maybe a few diehards.
It is a modern parlance for the lazy when sending texts on a mobile phone or the like.

 
At Wed Jun 04, 03:03:00 AM, Blogger David Ker said...

Glennsp, please stop commenting on my posts. Your comments are always negative and add nothing to the conversation. By definition that makes you a troll on this blog and I don't have any time or patience for trolls.

 
At Wed Jun 04, 08:10:00 AM, Blogger Nathan said...

> This is creative and idiomatic use of language and required a thought process on the part of the translators to express an ancient concept in modern parlance.

Agreed! That's why I've bookmarked the "Cotton Patch Version" on my page. Check it out!

 
At Wed Jun 04, 08:11:00 AM, Blogger Nathan said...

that link contained a stray character. Try this:

http://rockhay.tripod.com/cottonpatch/index.htm

 
At Wed Jun 04, 10:19:00 AM, Blogger J. K. Gayle said...

Really, it's the people thing, and thus the natural language thing, and the collaborations that make what yall are talking about so interesting, so valuable.

Nathan,
At first glance, the Cotton Patch thing is no such collaboration. But then I just love how Clarence Jordon writes for people, with an ear to others:

So in making the translation, I have kept in mind the little people of great faith who want to do better in their discipleship but have been hindered by big words they don't understand or by ancient concepts they don't grasp.

Of course, one can never make a perfect translation even from one contemporary language to another, simply because words seldom have precise equivalents in a different language. It is even more difficult when the two languages are also separated by thousands or even hundreds of years. Then add the barriers of culture and space and the task is indeed formidable. I readily admit, then, that my attempts to find present-day equivalents to many New Testament expressions and concepts are often strained, crude and perhaps even inaccurate. For example, there just isn’t any word in our vocabulary which adequately translates the Greek word for "crucifixion." Our crosses are so shined, so polished, so respectable that to be impaled on one of them would seem to be a blessed experience. We have thus emptied the term "crucifixion" of its original content of terrific emotion, of violence, of indignity and stigma, of defeat. I have translated it as "lynching," well aware that this is not technically correct. Jesus was officially tried and legally condemned, elements generally lacking in a lynching. But having observed the operation of Southern "justice," and at times having been its victim, I can testify that more people have been lynched "by judicial action" than by unofficial ropes. Pilate at least had the courage and the honesty to publicly wash his hands and disavow all legal responsibility. "See to it yourselves," he told the mob. And they did. They crucified him in Judea and they strung him up in Georgia, with a noose tied to a pine tree.

 
At Wed Jun 04, 02:48:00 PM, Blogger Glennsp said...

So if someone disagrees they are a troll....that's convenient.
Maybe if you didn't make such wide sweeping, unsubstantiated claims I wouldn't have to point it out.
Don't worry David, I'll leave you in peace to overstate your case.

 
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