IMC 2005: Sessions

Session 501: Translation in Anglo-Saxon England

Tuesday 12 July 2005, 09.00-10.30

Moderator/Chair:Gabriella Corona, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York
Paper 501-aDoes Literal Equal Slavish in Translation Practice?
(Language: English)
Christine B. Thijs, Independent Scholar, Cambridge
Index terms: Language and Literature - Old English, Language and Literature - Latin
Paper 501-bDating the Metrical Preface to Waerferth's Translation of Gregory's Dialogues
(Language: English)
Thomas A. Bredehoft, Department of English, University of Northern Colorado
Index terms: Language and Literature - Old English
Paper 501-cOld English as a Path towards Latin: The Syntax of Old English Monastic and Clerical Rules
(Language: English)
Maria Artamonova, Linacre College, University of Oxford
Index terms: Language and Literature - Old English, Language and Literature - Latin, Monasticism, Religious Life

Abstract paper a) The paper I’d like to contribute to the session on translation (Mary Swan alerted me that there was one space vacant) will be a destigmatisation of the literal translator, exploring the agenda behind close translations from Latin into Old (and Middle ?) English with an emphasis on the fact that close translations – even if to our taste they are “”awkward”” and “”unidiomatic”” – should not too readily be considered as immature, unconfident, self-conscious writing, but instead as skilfully produced texts with a well defined aim (including instruction in Latin) and clearly targeted audience (including both lay and clerical readers / listeners ?)

Paper b) As the textual notes in the ASPR indicate, the ‘tan’ of ‘Wulfstan’ in line 12 of this poem appear to be written on an erasure. Kenneth Sisam, in a well known essay, suggested that ‘Wulfstan’ stood for an original ‘Wulfsig’, but Dobbie, in the ASPR, does not find the hypothesis very useful. In this paper, I will address potentially datable metrical features of this poem to suggest that it can be dated to the late tenth century or later, and explore the consequences of such a dating, especially in the context of the reading ‘Wulfstan’.

Paper c) The paper examines the way the translators of the Rule of St. Benedict and the Rule of Chrodegang of Metz into Old English have approached their tasks.
Both rules were translated with an educational purpose in mind, not so much as substitutes of their Latin originals, but rather as aids in learning them. A close analysis of the treatment of individual Latin syntactic constructions shows that the translators were keeping close to the original while avoiding slavish literalism, and thus produced useful tools for the education of novice monks and secular clerics.