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An Analysis of "The Histories" translation

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Introduction

An Analysis of "The Histories" translation The first translation of "The Histories" was written in 1910, and so had many archaic words and constructions that are archaic, but most of the changes made in the 1998 translation are stylistic changes. An example of the second passage being changed to sound better, rather than make more sense to the modern reader, is the use of shorter, simple sentences, rather than the long sentences in the 1910 version, containing many clauses. While the earlier passage has only five sentences over sixteen lines, the 1998 version has been broken up into six sentences, over 12 lines. The reason these alterations have been made by the author of the later passage is that he or she is writing for a more modern audience. In the 88 years that have passed between the writing of the two passages, none of the words have become obsolete, but some of the lexis has become archaic, and so the author of the 1998 text has changed some words, either semantically or morphologically to accommodate his audience. ...read more.

Middle

Other words have been changed semantically, as the author of text B has translated the word from the Latin text differently to the author of text A, which explains "fix war" being replaced by "wage war". Other lexical changes have taken place to alter the meaning of the sentence; "since it was" has been replaced by "it looked", the first text describing the pass in a factual way, while text B describes the appearance of the pass. "guard" has also been changed to "defend", which has a slight semantic shift too. One lexical change was carried out in order to reduce the length of the text: "fleet and army" has been changed to "forces". In this instance, the author of text B has conveyed the information stated in text A in a more concise way. The first text appears to be more of a transliteration than a translation, as the syntax is often complex, containing several impersonal constructions, such as the passive voice and the subjunctive mood. ...read more.

Conclusion

The author of text B has removed these subjunctive verbs, as they are not commonly used by modern English writers and speakers of. Some clauses seem to be a transliteration of the original text, as the syntax is non-standard. In the sentence beginning with "this path then" begins with the object, which does not usually happen, as English has only a few inflected endings on particular words to indicate case and number. Sometimes this construction appears in verse, as word order does not often adhere to prescriptive syntactical rules in poetry. In this sentence, the subject of the clause is "they", as the Greeks "determined" that "they should guard" the pass. This is another example of the use of the passive voice in text A, where it has been changed into the active and the word order has been restructured to subject, verb, object in text B. ...read more.

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