Last Sunday I drove down to start a new contract on the Monday. It’s quite interesting adapting back to life on the road. Sleeping in hotels is an art! I did manage to get some sleep on Thursday night! The manager who recruited me to the new client is trying to cheat me, which is not good news. I also had one of the staff dent the passenger door of my car. He left no note, so there was no indication who did it. Sadly for him, earlier that day I had taken a photograph of my car (entirely accidentally) which happened to show his car and the number-plate. The office manager did the rest and sorted him out. I suppose the world is full of scoundrels; but every so often we get a reminder.
While I was away, a new copy arrived of Matti Moosa’s translation of the chronicle of Michael the Syrian. Dr Moosa did send me a complimentary copy, but it went missing in the refurbishment of my house last year. Reluctantly I bought another. For when they are sold, they are sold. I wish that I had bought the copyright.
A little pile of volumes is accumulating on the side, for conversion into PDFs. Among them is a guidebook to the archaeology of Rome, that ought to be very interesting but is really dull. Also a few duplicate copies of paperbacks that I already possess, bought for pretty much nothing, which I can dismember and scan.
An unusual query from an Athonite monk; could he do some translation work? I have replied, and perhaps we will do some more of the St Nicholas of Myra stuff. I really wish that a complete version of the Life compiled by Simon Metaphrastes was online. And … it still strikes me as funny that, for a figure venerated worldwide, it is little old me who is funding the translation of the literature. All the princes, publishers, philanthropists and funding bodies… do nothing. Perhaps it is ever so.
I ought to do a little shredding. So very hot here this evening.
4 thoughts on “From my diary”
It is funny – you’d think between Anrich’s work and now the number of people both interested and not fluent in Latin and Greek would create a demand…
You would, wouldn’t you!
In the 19th c. there were a lot of “amateur” and semi professional (clergy-men and upper middle class women with time of their hands) and professional academic translators who were translating Greek, Latin and Coptic texts.
Then in the 20th c. translating became “not the thing” , and in the academic milleau translators were vilified.
A mere translator is not going to advance up the academic ladder as quickly as someone who generates reams of meaningless post modernist babble (try parsing anything from a recent liberal arts journal, you will find most of it has NO meaning, it is just pages and pages of word salad (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Word_salad). Don’t want to put that much work into it? Then just use an on line translation program to translate it into any modern Western European language and then translate it back into English, what you end up with is nonsense.).
I think this is due to the professional academics wanting to operate a closed shop, and not wanting their “work” scrutinized by outsiders, ie scientists who have a reality based system of analysis.
As long as the academic-in-crowd write about works that have remained untranslated, they can write any drivel they care to and have it published, since only other members of their club will have access to it.
The job of the liberal arts academician is more about social jockeying, brown snooting, departmental sponsored coprophagia, tea time in-fighting, maintaining political correctness,keeping current on the social signalling rites de jour, and using ones contacts to claw ones way up the tenure ladder, than about producing a body of work that is even remotely grounded on reality.
For example, there is a tax supported university professor in the USA who is publishing papers on the racial and sexual discrimination imposed by the insanely violent, genocidal, neo fascist, white rape culture, oppressively paternalistic society on an invasive species of colored rodent (the fact that the rodent in question may carry plague, causes economic damage, and is driving the native species to extinction appears not to have registered with the author who i has apparently has no credentials in biology or any other :hard; science. Her only real skills appear to be in torturing rhetoric).
Anyway, from my own observations, there was an academic (who shall remain nameless) who had a semi monopoly prolifically pontificating about a particular 4th/5th c. Latin text, until a translation of the text was posted on the internet, revealing that most of her work did not stand scrutiny, once the text became generally accessible,.
The other factor contributing to the dearth of translations, is that translation involves actual work, while writing reams of post modernist babble, takes almost no effort at all, and can be done while stoned or drunk.
I think we’ve all seen crappy papers and thought ruefully how much more useful a translation would be. But we must never forget that good scholarship does indeed involve serious work; it is bad scholarship, not scholarship, that is the waste of resources.