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Author Topic: Greek Archdiocese approves Christ is Risen in English...  (Read 1030 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: April 05, 2012, 12:15:34 PM »

Its pretty cool to finally hear an English version in the traditional Byzantine Chant....

http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2012/04/approved-english-christ-is-risen-for.html

The audio: http://www.churchmusic.goarch.org/assets/files/Christ%20is%20Risen.mp3
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« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2012, 12:17:02 PM »

April fool's?
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« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2012, 12:19:38 PM »

It's a little late for the fool's.   Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2012, 11:28:48 PM »

It never ceases to amaze me how fluent speakers of both Greek and English make such bad translations.
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« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2012, 11:34:32 PM »

Its pretty cool to finally hear an English version in the traditional Byzantine Chant....

Finally? Some people have been doing it for years.

Quote
It never ceases to amaze me how fluent speakers of both Greek and English make such bad translations.

For real. "By death trampling down upon death" can't even be justified as some tortuous attempt to adhere to the syntax of the original Greek. It's just plain badness. I sometimes wonder how many of our translators ever read English poetry.
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« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2012, 12:10:09 AM »

Critical as I am of the commonly used GOAA English language translations, i.e. Holy Cross, Brookline, and Narthex Press, Belmont, CA., I don't have a problem with this "Christ is Risen," and, although it's 45 years late in coming, I am very happy we'll have it for this year.  Minimal as this accomplishment is, I congratulate Archbishop Demetrios, who is the first GOAA primate to provide any uniform English language translations.

Speaking of lousy translations, how about the "Symbol of Faith," which was endorsed by the Eparchial Synod; "afesin" translated to "forgiveness" rather than "remission?"  But, to their credit, this translation does translate "omologo" as "confess" rather than the common "acknowledge."  Go to the Metropolis of Denver's website to see what Metropolitan Isaiah says about "afesin" as "forgiveness" translation.

I don't know why they don't use grammarians, poets and knowledgeable Byzantine musicians for these translations; I don't think they are utilizing monks, nuns, and retired priests who could serve as valuable resources.
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« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2012, 12:15:38 AM »

What's next? "eonia mnimi?
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« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2012, 12:18:47 AM »

It never ceases to amaze me how fluent speakers of both Greek and English make such bad translations.

For real. "By death trampling down upon death" can't even be justified as some tortuous attempt to adhere to the syntax of the original Greek. It's just plain badness. I sometimes wonder how many of our translators ever read English poetry. 

Bad as in "inaccurate" or as in "unpleasing" (or both)? 

As to "inaccurate:" If someone is coming from the Slavic tradition, then it will seem weird, since the words for "overcome" or "destroy" is what I've seen in Ukranian and Serbian.  But the Greek πατήσας literally means to walk over/stomp underfoot (a notable place it appears: in the title for one of Aesop's fables - the Ass and the Wolf, which in Greek is titled, "The Ass steps on/stomps the thorn and the wolf").

The language actually comes from the Apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus (22:2) - "Then did the King of glory in his majesty trample upon death, and laid hold on Satan the prince and delivered him unto the power of Hell, and drew Adam to him unto his own brightness."  This apocryphal gospel is the source of a few major Paschal traditions, including the icon of the harrowing of Hades, the tradition of using the King of Glory dialogue, and is a support for the the shining of the light (along with the miracle of the Holy Fire).

As to "unpleasing:" There's no accounting for taste.  To each their own.
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« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2012, 12:21:24 AM »

I don't know why they don't use grammarians, poets and knowledgeable Byzantine musicians for these translations; I don't think they are utilizing monks, nuns, and retired priests who could serve as valuable resources.

They do usually utilize specialists when performing official functions.  I know of at least 2 priests with advanced degrees in Liturgics who are being consulted on the upcoming official translation of Vespers, Matins, and the Liturgy.  I cannot imagine that they did not do so with this translation (and the Creed).
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« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2012, 12:22:40 AM »

And by the way, I'm more amazed that Rusyn-Americans (OCA) and Syrian/Lebanese-Americans have much better English language translations of originally Greek texts, than do Greek-Americans. Perhaps that's the problem, the brilliant Greeks think they know better, "This is what is truly meant;"  yea, sure.
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« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2012, 03:17:38 AM »

It never ceases to amaze me how fluent speakers of both Greek and English make such bad translations.

For real. "By death trampling down upon death" can't even be justified as some tortuous attempt to adhere to the syntax of the original Greek. It's just plain badness. I sometimes wonder how many of our translators ever read English poetry. 

Bad as in "inaccurate" or as in "unpleasing" (or both)? 

Some people would complain if they were hanged with a new rope.  Working as a professional translator is difficult.  Preserving all aspects of the original text is nearly impossible when you are dealing with poetry or hymnody like this.  I wonder if either scamandrius or iconodule have ever worked as translators.     

As to "inaccurate:" If someone is coming from the Slavic tradition, then it will seem weird, since the words for "overcome" or "destroy" is what I've seen in Ukranian and Serbian.  But the Greek πατήσας literally means to walk over/stomp underfoot (a notable place it appears: in the title for one of Aesop's fables - the Ass and the Wolf, which in Greek is titled, "The Ass steps on/stomps the thorn and the wolf").

Trample would be an appropriate translation from Slavonic as well.  My dictionary lists it is "наступать на кого-что-л в знак победы" [To step on somebody or something as a sign of victory].  Wheres the modern Ukrainian version is "Христос воскрес із мертвих, смертю смерть подолав, і тим, що у гробах, життя дарував"  My dictionary defines подолати as "преодолеть, победить, пересилить" [to overcome, to be victorious, to overpower] with no hint of trampling in a literal sense.   

As to "unpleasing:" There's no accounting for taste.  To each their own.

Yes and no.  I do agree with iconodule in the sense of I wonder how well versed the translators are in English literature and poetry.  These texts don't sound strained, forced or undignified in the original.  Thus in English they also ought to carry a certain majesty rather than banality. 
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« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2012, 09:06:27 AM »

Heretical Papal language in Holy Right-Believing Hellenic Church?! Is outrage!
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« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2012, 09:30:06 AM »

It never ceases to amaze me how fluent speakers of both Greek and English make such bad translations.

For real. "By death trampling down upon death" can't even be justified as some tortuous attempt to adhere to the syntax of the original Greek. It's just plain badness. I sometimes wonder how many of our translators ever read English poetry.  

Bad as in "inaccurate" or as in "unpleasing" (or both)?  

As to "inaccurate:" If someone is coming from the Slavic tradition, then it will seem weird, since the words for "overcome" or "destroy" is what I've seen in Ukranian and Serbian.  But the Greek πατήσας literally means to walk over/stomp underfoot (a notable place it appears: in the title for one of Aesop's fables - the Ass and the Wolf, which in Greek is titled, "The Ass steps on/stomps the thorn and the wolf").

The language actually comes from the Apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus (22:2) - "Then did the King of glory in his majesty trample upon death, and laid hold on Satan the prince and delivered him unto the power of Hell, and drew Adam to him unto his own brightness."  This apocryphal gospel is the source of a few major Paschal traditions, including the icon of the harrowing of Hades, the tradition of using the King of Glory dialogue, and is a support for the the shining of the light (along with the miracle of the Holy Fire).

As to "unpleasing:" There's no accounting for taste.  To each their own.

ACROD, under the omophorion of the EP for eighty years, has proclaimed Christ is Risen! AND Christos Voskrese! for as long as I recall and I am nearly sixty years old.

It is astonishing to me that this topic exists at this point in history and that only NOW in 2012 that an 'official' translation has been 'approved'.  Wow - perhaps the statistics about church attendance that the Assembly just published have a correlation to the timing of the use of English - ACROD and the OCA have been pretty much 'all' in for English for two generations now.

We have used several translations over that time and we have settled upon in our parish:

Christ is Risen from the dead trampling down death by death and to all those in the tombs, bestowing life.


In the past, we have also used 'by death He conquered death' which also flows better and conveys the intent clearly in English.

I think that this is consistent with Basil's  and Nekatarios' points concerns and does far less injury to English than does the mangled prose of the new official version. I doubt that we will be rushing to change our texts anytime soon - or ever.
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« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2012, 10:35:43 AM »

Guys, the problem isn't with "trampled." Is that really the only possible problem you see? "Trampled" is fine. The problem is the unnecessary verbiage and tortuous syntax. Why not just say "trampling death by death", or even "trampling down death by death," as is already used in many places? "Trampling down upon" is redundant. You don't "trample up against" something.

The full phrase "by death trampling down upon death" is awkward. I'm guessing this was considered a better way of capturing the Greek syntax. But one has to ask if this makes the meaning of the hymn any clearer in English than "trampling down death by death." This seems to me a case where the exact phrasing of the original Greek is afforded some talismanic significance which must be mimicked at all costs, even at the expense of clarity or singability.

Good style and prosody may not be as easy to pin down as, say, grammar, but that doesn't mean it's subjective. The attitude of many of our translators seems to be that a translation is good as long as it is merely "accurate." Our hymn-writers usually had years of training in poetics; many of our translators apparently have none.
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« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2012, 11:28:11 AM »

The problem in all such attempts is two-fold: First, you have to translate it faithfully but in a way that does not produce dissonances. Second, you have to decide how much of the original melody and notes you are willing to keep to fit the new words.

The words produce dissonances in two instances. As Iconodule pointed out, "By death trampling down upon death" is just wrong grammatically and stylistically. I don't know if anyone has noticed it but the last verse also sounds strange "And to those in the tombs He has granted life" versus what is already used by everybody else: "bestowing life." In the second instance, there does not seem to be a grammatical problem but the verb tense is different and the actual phrasing "He has granted life" sounds like what a non-English user would say, translating directly from the original.

I am making all these tedious and nit-picky observations because I am leading up to the next general problem in translating hymns: how do you treat the melody and the notes that folks have been using for generations? I have a feeling that the translators paid too much attention to replicating each note and thus went about finding words for the notes. I will admit right now that I cannot read Greek (of any variety) but I have heard the Byzantine melody since I was a child and it is my impression that all of the notes are there with no change whatsoever. It is as if the folks who were working on this project were afraid to improvise. I will also hasten to add that this is not a problem with Greeks alone. All of us "foreigners" have the same kind of issues; after all, while it is easy to change Western notations, it is much harder to do so with the Byzantine notations.  Also, we must at all costs avoid incurring the ire of the venerable chanters who are used to the original notes and notations.

Bottom line: Congratulations to the GOA and remember that Rome was not built in one day.
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« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2012, 08:28:18 PM »

I think they may have translated that way so they can stay with the original Byzantine Chant.

You kind of have a problem with this when certain Greek words translate into multiple English words and such. Like Panagia to "Most Holy" or "All Holy". Or when the words don't really sound similar at all, like Agiasthito and Hallowed. Or eltheto to "Thy"... Or ofeilimata to debts...

Try to translate:
Η ζωή εν τάφω κατετέθης, Χριστέ, και Αγγέλων στρατιαί εξεπλήττοντο, συγκατάβασιν δοξάζουσαι την σην.
Η ζωή πώς θνήσκεις; πώς και τάφω οικείς; του θανάτου το βασίλειον λύεις δε και το Άδου τους νεκρούς εξανιστάς.
Μεγαλύνομέν σε, Ιησού Βασιλεύ, και τιμώμεν την ταφήν και τα πάθη σου, δι ών έσωσας ημάς εκ της φθοράς.

into this:
In a tomb they laid You, O Christ the Life. The angelic hosts were overcome with awe and glorified Your condescension.
O Life, how can You die? How can You dwell in a tomb? Yet by Your death You have destroyed the reign of death and raised all the dead from Hell.
We magnify You, O Jesus our King. We worship Your Passion and Your burial, for, by them, You have saved us from death.

While also keeping this exact chant:
http://youtu.be/98YlYFKDz98

I'm sure its pretty difficult unless you change the English translation.

This is a nice Byzantine version in English, I just wish the recording was a bit better:
http://youtu.be/R2DpP0EkZ2I

ooh, Boston Byzantine has a nice version in English, but its not Byzantine:
http://youtu.be/ttXyYzXKLUQ
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« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2012, 08:38:33 PM »

And by the way, I'm more amazed that Rusyn-Americans (OCA) and Syrian/Lebanese-Americans have much better English language translations of originally Greek texts, than do Greek-Americans. Perhaps that's the problem, the brilliant Greeks think they know better, "This is what is truly meant;"  yea, sure.

We've got several centuries' more experience in translations.
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« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2012, 08:41:10 PM »

Guys, the problem isn't with "trampled." Is that really the only possible problem you see? "Trampled" is fine. The problem is the unnecessary verbiage and tortuous syntax. Why not just say "trampling death by death", or even "trampling down death by death," as is already used in many places? "Trampling down upon" is redundant. You don't "trample up against" something.

The full phrase "by death trampling down upon death" is awkward. I'm guessing this was considered a better way of capturing the Greek syntax. But one has to ask if this makes the meaning of the hymn any clearer in English than "trampling down death by death." This seems to me a case where the exact phrasing of the original Greek is afforded some talismanic significance which must be mimicked at all costs, even at the expense of clarity or singability.

Good style and prosody may not be as easy to pin down as, say, grammar, but that doesn't mean it's subjective. The attitude of many of our translators seems to be that a translation is good as long as it is merely "accurate." Our hymn-writers usually had years of training in poetics; many of our translators apparently have none.

I know a priest who says, "O Lord, Thou shalt open Thou my lips..." I don't know if he's reading verbatim or if he has it that way in his head.
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« Reply #18 on: April 06, 2012, 09:04:30 PM »


ooh, Boston Byzantine has a nice version in English, but its not Byzantine:
http://youtu.be/ttXyYzXKLUQ

This may also part of the problem. The melody is Byzantine but set for a choir and in English. So, if it is not 100% like a chanter's version, it ceases to be Byzantine?

ADDED:

Here is First Stasis in Arabic (same Byzantine melody):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOYqctNjSPE

Here is the same in Bulgarian (at 0:55)
[url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ut5NNbhDHg4[url]













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« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2012, 09:35:49 PM »


ooh, Boston Byzantine has a nice version in English, but its not Byzantine:
http://youtu.be/ttXyYzXKLUQ

This may also part of the problem. The melody is Byzantine but set for a choir and in English. So, if it is not 100% like a chanter's version, it ceases to be Byzantine?

Byzantine Chant isn't necessarily always solo. The churches I attended in Greece always had it with a group, a "choir" if you will. There are a few times there would be 1 man doing it alone, but only in some parts.
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« Reply #20 on: April 06, 2012, 09:48:56 PM »


ooh, Boston Byzantine has a nice version in English, but its not Byzantine:
http://youtu.be/ttXyYzXKLUQ

This may also part of the problem. The melody is Byzantine but set for a choir and in English. So, if it is not 100% like a chanter's version, it ceases to be Byzantine?

Byzantine Chant isn't necessarily always solo. The churches I attended in Greece always had it with a group, a "choir" if you will. There are a few times there would be 1 man doing it alone, but only in some parts.

True enough. Weren't you able to hear the same Byzantine melody in both versions? There were slight variations in the beginning and the end of each verse, and the scale was altered a bit. But, it was essentially the same melody, the same tune.
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« Reply #21 on: April 06, 2012, 10:11:09 PM »

Speaking of Holy Week hymns, our regional Saint Romanos Chorale (AOCA) sang "Today is Hung upon the Tree" (in English) using this Russian melody. The first time we sang it in Houston at the Rothko Chapel, there was not a dry eye in the house. So, it is quite possible, isn't it to tell the story and glorify God in several different languages and traditions.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ERJKxpRpHw
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« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2012, 08:39:41 PM »

Speaking of Holy Week hymns, our regional Saint Romanos Chorale (AOCA) sang "Today is Hung upon the Tree" (in English) using this Russian melody. The first time we sang it in Houston at the Rothko Chapel, there was not a dry eye in the house. So, it is quite possible, isn't it to tell the story and glorify God in several different languages and traditions.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ERJKxpRpHw

Absolutely, positively true.
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« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2012, 06:19:18 PM »

Speaking of Holy Week hymns, our regional Saint Romanos Chorale (AOCA) sang "Today is Hung upon the Tree" (in English) using this Russian melody. The first time we sang it in Houston at the Rothko Chapel, there was not a dry eye in the house. So, it is quite possible, isn't it to tell the story and glorify God in several different languages and traditions.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ERJKxpRpHw

Thank you for this.  It was much needed amidst the hubbub of Palm Sunday. 
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« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2012, 06:26:25 PM »


The words produce dissonances in two instances. As Iconodule pointed out, "By death trampling down upon death" is just wrong grammatically and stylistically. I don't know if anyone has noticed it but the last verse also sounds strange "And to those in the tombs He has granted life" versus what is already used by everybody else: "bestowing life." In the second instance, there does not seem to be a grammatical problem but the verb tense is different and the actual phrasing "He has granted life" sounds like what a non-English user would say, translating directly from the original.

There is no verb: charisamenos is a participle, which is a verbal adjective.  The use of participles subordinates those actions to those of the main verb which is anesti ('is risen'). 
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