[tlhIngan Hol] woe unto you scribes and pharisees, hypocrites

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Sun Mar 7 15:19:45 PST 2021

I’ve read from several sources about the difficulty of translating ANY ancient Greek text into ANY other language because of the many subtle emotional nuances that are simply not represented by other languages.

This brings me to the psycholinguistic concept that language shapes one's thoughts (and feelings) as one uses language to express them. Languages tend to evolve to express the ideas and feelings that a people find a need to express through sufficient repetition to develop the vocabulary and grammar to express.

You can’t teach the number 5,384 to a person whose language has only the number words for 1, 2, 3, many. This is like that.

Combining these, I’d like to suggest that it might be impossible to create a perfect translation because Klingons, whose feelings are by necessity shaped by their language, may simply fail to have the feelings that someone translating an ancient Greek passage seeks to translate. Those subtle feelings may simply be too alien for a Klingon to understand. 

It’s not just that the words aren’t there. The feelings and the ideas aren’t there.

This leaves you with the option that you try to prioritize the subtleties that you wish to express working from the emotional vocabulary of the Klingon language, and perhaps decide between the subtleties that Klingon offers that might have been missing in the original Greek relating to some of the Klingon affixes that get less emphasis in Greek.

A Klingon will never understand all that you wish to express, but he, she, or they might be able to understand the most important point of the passage, so long as that point fits within the emotional expressions his, her, or their language has evolved to hold within its limited boundaries.

charghwI’ ‘utlh
(ghaH, ghaH, -Daj)

> On Mar 7, 2021, at 8:46 AM, mayqel qunen'oS <mihkoun at gmail.com> wrote:
> SuStel:
> > Since you're signing with the quote in
> > Greek, the Klingon translation isn't too
> > important to get right, but I thought I'd
> > comment anyway. 
> I'm glad you took the time to share your thoughts; I always look forward to reading your comments.
> SuStel:
> > This seems quite clearly an optative
> > sentence. -jaj would be good here. I also
> > interpret woe unto you to mean a wish
> > that you experience sorrows, not
> > necessarily agony (which could
> > metaphorically imply sorrows, but it isn't
> > restricted to that). So instead of lIloS bep
> > agonies await you, I would say Subepjaj
> > may you suffer.
> Translating the "woe unto you", has been quite a pain for me.
> I can *feel* the old Greek word used in the original text, and I can understand the modern Greek word used in the official translation.
> But (and here's where things get weird), the old Greek word doesn't translate 100% in modern Greek, and none of these two words (old and modern Greek) can be 100% translated in English, let alone Klingon.
> Go figure..
> So I chose the {lIloS bep} because of the context of that sentence..
> ..Which is that Jesus states the fact that the Scribes and Pharisees will eventually experience the agony of those who will not be saved.
> SuStel:
> > QaqwI'pu' falsely honorable ones strikes
> > me as slightly off the mark for hypocrites
> > (it's concerned with honor instead of
> > truth), but I can't think of anything better.
> Yes, I agree with you 100%. Initially I thought of using {tojwI'pu'} but I didn't *feel* it expressing the "hypocrites". Then I thought of using one of the verbs {lIl}/{ghet}, but none of these verbs are anywhere even close with the context of "hypocrisy" since they're used for role-playing.
> So, for lack of a better alternative, I went with the {QaqwI'pu'}, thinking that the original scribes/pharisees acted the way they did with their main concern being to receive honor they didn't deserve.
> But yes, you're right; I too *feel* that the {QaqwI'pu'} isn't the most accurate word for "hypocrites".
> ~ Dana'an
> woe unto you scribes and pharisees hypocrites
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