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Thread: It just took me a little while to find a suitable alternative

  1. #1
    Senior Member Theseus's Avatar
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    It just took me a little while to find a suitable alternative

    Can I ask for help on a point of English usage? In the above sentence, requiring translation into Ancient Greek. A submission from one of the specialists was οὐκ ἐδεήθην χρόνου πρὸς εὕρεσιν ἄλλου τινὸς ἐπιτηδείου [= I needed no time to find another alternative]. This rendering was modelled on a 4th orator, Themistius.

    To the translator, who, in an amicable discussion, was convinced that the English meant 'in no time at all.' I replied that it is very important in U.K. English where you put the 'just', since he argued that in US English it could always only mean 'straightaway'. My contention was, and is, that, if you were to say 'it took me just (=only) a little while, the sentence means 'it didn't take me long'. 'In 'it just took me a little while', the meaning is 'it simply took me quite a long time/a longish time' &c. The sentence, if it means 'in no time at all' is, imho, thus poorly, indeed sloppily, constructed. The position of 'just' is crucial. I had no quibble with his translation except that as it stands, I would omit the οὐκ before εδεήθην. The translator disagreed.

    My own translation was Χρόνος δὲ δή (= the fact is) μοι ἐνῆν οὐκ ὀλίγος εὑρεῖν ἄλλο τι ἐπιτηδειότερον: (παρὰ τῷ δρᾶματι/ τῇ βίβλῳ:-Τα Δαπανηρὰ Φορεῖ ἡ Ἐρινύς). I put the title of the film/book [The Devil Wears Prada] which was not asked for, because it presented several challenges of translation into Classical Greek. Δαπανηρά has the letters of Prada in it & Ἐρινύς not only has the narrow vowels of 'devil/devilish' but seemed to me to be a possible Classical equivalent: the Wolf in Chic clothing--a pun nearly worthy of 'Man...
    What are the more objective opinions of lexilogist colleagues? It might help if a translation into Modern Greek of this expression might be given offered.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Earion's Avatar
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    I prefer your translation, Theseus.
    Άλλο πληροφορία, άλλο γνώση· άλλο βία, άλλο δύναμη.

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    Senior Member Theseus's Avatar
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    I always value your judgement, Earion. Thank you. I was tempted to put πλείων for ούκ ὀλίγος i.e.quite long/rather long. What would it be in Modern Greek?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Earion's Avatar
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    You did well to resist the temptation. There's a small difference of style, for the discerning user, between "not a little" (ούκ ὀλίγος) and "much" (πλείων). Your sentence in Modern Greek would be something like that: Μου πήρε κάμποσο χρόνο να βρω πιο ταιριαστή επιλογή.
    Άλλο πληροφορία, άλλο γνώση· άλλο βία, άλλο δύναμη.

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    Senior Member Theseus's Avatar
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    Thanks for all your help, Earion. It's invaluable.

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