Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Translating the Utras
One of the challenges translators face is illustrated by this example. Leaving the term untranslated and referring to Utras might capture that this is a technical term, but it also leaves the translator feeling as though they have simply failed to translate. But other options - angels, aeons, spirits, powers - seem either too broad, or too specific, or too loaded with specific connotations from other traditions.
Those of us involved in this project will be having ongoing discussions about this and other similar translation issues, and we'd love input from people who work on Aramaic, ancient religious texts, and other related fields. But we'd also love input from those who read translations of ancient texts, about how you feel when a word is simply left untranslated with a footnote, and conversely, when it is translated and a footnote indicates that there isn't a precise correspondence with the English word used.