Antenna (antennapedia) wrote,

  • Music:

Tradduttore, traditore!

As you probably don't recall, for ages now I've been working on a Giles/Ethan pre-series piece that's titled "Broken Vessel". This is an allusion to Psalms 31:12, and the story has a few other more buried allusions to the rest of that Psalm. While working on this I read a handful of translations, because, well, it was fun. Here are six renderings of the verse that inspired me :

Coverdale I am clean forgotten, as a dead man out of mind; I am become like a broken vessel.
KJV I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel.
Book of Common Prayer 1771 As men once dead are out of mind,
so am I now forgot;
As little use of me they find
as of a broken pot.
RSV I have passed out of mind like one who is dead;
I have become like a broken vessel.
BCP 1979 I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind;
I am as useless as a broken pot.
NWT Like someone dead [and] not in the heart, I have been forgotten;
I have become like a damaged vessel;

For me, the prose style contest is between Coverdale and the King James. Both sound good when read aloud. The KJV is so economical, which appeals to my sense of style.

I included the New World Translation a) as an example of how the tin-eared can ruin even great material, and b) because it was the one I was most subjected to as a kid. Read the rest of that Psalm to absorb the full horror.

Which one do you like best as English lit?
Tags: religion, research

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