I’ve been working away at Bianca-Jeanette Schröder’s Titel und Text for what seems like forever. It’s an excellent book on chapter titles, tables of contents, and the like; but if your German is as limited as mine, it can take a while to get anywhere.
I’ve actually been translating lengthy sections of the book, in order to read it. Over the weekend I realised that, if I continued, I would finish the remaining 40 pages sometime in September. And I would hope to be back among the wage-earners before then!
So I decided to deal with that last 40 pages differently. I took each page in turn, copied it into Google Translate, and hit enter. Then I selected the translation, ragged as it was, and pasted it into a Word document. Then I hit Ctrl-Enter, to throw a new page, and repeated. At the end of this I had a Word document of 40 pages. I already had the 40 pages of German in a photocopy, two pages per sheet.
This morning I sat down in front of the two piles, German and Google-English, and picked up a ballpoint pen. At the foot of each page of ‘English’, I wrote a few bullet-points of what the page said. Then I went on to the next.
Several hours later, I have gone through the whole 40 pages, and now have notes on the lot. I feel a considerable sense of relief, I can tell you. At least there is a prospect of getting my life back!
There is a long appendix in the book which I did translate, containing lots of quotes from ancient authors in the original. I need to post this online, but with the quotes translated. I have been gathering translations, so it may soon be possible to do in a reasonable time.
What I also now need to do is to condense all that I learned from Schröder, and make sure that I know what is being said. I can already seen points at which I don’t agree with her thesis; points where she asserts something which might be so, but equally might not. It is a fine book; but it is not the last word on the subject.
I’ve also spent time with Aelian the Tactician, a very obscure military writer whose work is important for the topic of chapter titles and tables of contents. Alphonse Dain wrote a monograph on the transmission of his work, and I read long sections of it this morning. (Lucky for me that French is a language that I am comfortable with!)
In the mean time I have commissioned a translation of the second Christmas homily of Chrysostom — probably pseudonymous, but historically interesting –, and the translation of Eusebius’ Commentary on Luke continues to progress. It’s all go here.
One day I shall come up for air!