While it is beginning to seem clear from the continuing defensiveness of your responses that perhaps there is little fruit to be had in terms of the hope for an open and constructive critique of this work with you as its author/translator, I trust it will nonetheless remain helpful to others to read some engaged reflections and responses on these matters. With that in mind, it is worth returning to some of the criticisms vis-a-vis English usage, and the responses to these that have since been made.
In response to the comment that '....neither the global spread nor the changes and developments that come from regional variations in the language, provide a 'carte blanche' for simply re-writing or re-creating the language in one's own ideological image, nor to abandoning the grammatical rules for the functioning of the language itself', Mr Papoutsis wrote:
That is exactly what is happening to English. for example Greek was developing naturally and quite well until the after Greek War of Independence and then the Greek intelligencia wanted to purify the language and created the artificial Greek Language of Kathirevousa that has done nothing but confuse and bewilder modern Greeks to this day.
I'm afraid that, the flat claim to the contrary notwithstanding, it remains true that this is not what is happening in English, and that the actual phenomenon (which happens in all languages) of the organic development of expression, style and form does not provide a 'carte blanche' for simply re-writing or re-creating the language in one's own ideological image, as I indicated before. The attempt to use the observation of a genuine, organic development of language to provide oneself with a supposed authenticity in simply making up one's own linguistic usage and calling it 'English', is simply neither authentic, nor appropriate, nor English.
When I speak of a defensiveness encountered in the response to careful critique and criticism, I am thinking for example of such exchanges as follow: I pointed out in my first comments on this translation, that the confusion of second-person singular and plural forms between personal pronouns and verb conjugations had riddled the translation with bizarre mistakes of non-English (a point repeated in my more recent summary). When this was essentially denied to be a flaw, and argued instead as a kind of development of English, I replied with a post in which I noted that this is a misunderstanding and misuse of the concepts of linguistic development, and in point of fact amounted to a linguistic absurdity. As an example, I provided a parallel. Here is precisely what I wrote:
'Without wishing to sound too facetious, this is comparable to someone simply saying, 'I am going to conjugate all forms of the first person with third person plural verb forms "for reasons of dignified expression" -- hence "I are going to Church", "I are happy to see you"', etc. Whatever the personal motivation for the usage may be, the end-result is simply nonsense.'
Unfortunately, rather than engage with the actual issue, the response given was simply defensive and dismissive:
Again a complete over exaggeration as I have not done this nor ever translated this. I have never written "I are going to Church." So set up a stray man arguement and expect me to fall for it. No thank you.
It is very clear from my words that I was not suggesting you have written 'I are going to Church' -- my comments very specifically indicated that your misuse of verb forms 'is comparable to someone simply saying' that they will conjugate in such a manner. The absurdity of those phrases in my example ('I are going to Church', 'I are happy to see you') are equally as absurd as the phrases that occur in the translation we are discussing.
In that translation, we do not find 'I are going to Church', no; but we do find the following, equally as absurd phrases:
- 'And God said to him, Who told the that thou was naked...' (Gen 3.11)
- 'And the Lord God said to the woman, Why has thou done this?' (Gen 3.13)
- 'And wherever thou dies, I will die...' (Ruth 1.17)
- 'Why calls ye me Noemin...?' (Ruth 2.21)
- 'Thou shall herd them with a rod of iron; Thou shall shatter them...' (Psalm 2.9)
- 'Arise, O Lord, save me, O my God, for Thou has struck all who without a cause are mine enemies' (Psalm 3.8)
- 'Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings have Thou perfected praise...' (Psalm 9.3)
- 'And Jesus fell on his face upon the earth, and said to Him, Master, what commands thou thy servant?' (Jesus 5.14)
It is disheartening to hear such little interest in learning from constructive criticism, when quite demonstrable and obvious faults are pointed out in a spirit of cooperation and correction; however, this seems to be something of the standard faire. When it was pointed out that others have also made, out of ignorance, etc., the same errors of English usage when attempting to utilise the distinctions of older second-person forms without fully understanding how they work, the response was as follows:
So English-Speaking Orthodox did not understand and driffed off into confusion and heresy? I do not believe so. This is somehwhat hyperboly and put too fine a point on it. Basically you are canning people stupid. English-Speaking People are NOT stupid.
I'm afraid this kind of reply demonstrates a marked failure to have read the criticism as offered. The point was not to suggest that everyone has used the language incorrectly 'and drifted off into confusion and heresy' (which was never even hinted at!); the point was precisely to point out that the vast majority of English writers and translators who have worked with the older second-person distinction have done so correctly, since these are forms that can and should be used properly, but that there have also been some who have not understood these principles and have made, in a far less widespread way, the kinds of errors that are rather systematic in your project. You are not the only person to have been confused by the forms and used them incorrectly; however, you are the first who I have encountered who has done so deliberately in such a widespread way.
As to the comments in the latter portions of your recent reply, I'm afraid that -- despite the claim to the contrary made in them -- they are simply defensive retorts that don't engage with the actual issues. Despite the strange claims there written, my assertion has never for a moment been that 'English speakers are ... stupid or dense'; quite the opposite. My claim has been that the non-English employed in this translation is immediately apparent as precisely that to the vast majority of English speakers, which is precisely why this translation will have so limited an appeal and value to the vast majority -- because English speakers aren't stupid or dense, and will immediately recognise this as something that isn't correct.
What is the real issue here? The attempt to create a style that is reverent yet accessible has unfortunately been carried out by a dramatic misuse of the grammar of English, yielding a translation that, to native English speaking ears (even those who aren't studied in older grammar) sounds odd and, frankly, comical. To my mind, this makes the translation essentially unreadable -- though obviously some might find it interesting nonetheless. However, as a translator concerned with texts and language, it is clear that this is a serious issue of non-English usage that should be corrected. Such a large-scale project deserves to be presented widely and employed -- something that has the potential to happen with this project, but only if such mistakes are corrected.
INXC, Hieromonk Irenei