Archives for: February 2008, 20

02/20/08

Permalink 12:01:28 pm, by Chris Jones Email , 305 words, 1834 views   English (US)
Categories: Announcements, Lost in Translation, My Own Latin

Boring Latin

I’m often asked by folks–usually those who can’t afford a full-priced translation–to translate Latin documents. One I’m working on now is De Anno et Ejus Partibus, an edict from the Ecumenical Council of Trent describing reforms to the calendar; text is from the Roman Missal. Several Latin copies of this document can be found on-line, and certainly the methods described in this document for, say, calculating the date of Easter are well-known. But in my search I was surprised to find no one has posted (maybe even published) an English translation (though the last link above does have a side-by-side German translation).

Someone has asked me to translate it, and while the Latin is pretty straightforward (aside from some odd vocabulary), the text itself is rather dull and repetitive. Take this section describing the “Golden Number cycle” as an example:

Cyclus decennovennalis Aurei numeri est revolutio numeri 19. annorum ab 1. usque ad 19., qua revolutione peracta, iterum ad unitatem reditur. Verbi gratia: anno 1577. numerus cycli decennovennalis, qui dicitur Aureus, est 1., anno sequenti 1578. est 2., et ita deinceps in sequentibus annis, uno semper amplius, usque ad 19., qui Aureus numerus cadet in annum 1595., post quem iterum ad unitatem redeundum est, ita ut anno 1596. Aureus numerus sit rursus 1., et anno 1597. sit 2. etc

The entire document is over-amplified with examples like these; I think it’s enough to say the 19 Golden Numbers cycle once every 19 years. I don’t doubt it was important to spell things like this out in the 16th century, but it sure makes for boring reading now.

I’ll be working on these 20 pages over the coming week, and will likely post my translation to the web so anyone interested in this at a later date doesn’t have to plow thru the same agony. So I don’t know how much posting I’ll be doing in the meantime–duty calls.

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