Yes, as a person who speaks, reads, and writes several contemporary languages, I have to agree that no translation of ANYTHING is ever completely accurate.

Every word in every language is a complex combination of denotation and connotation that changes constantly with the context and culture of conversation.

I enjoy translating lyrics of French pop songs into English. And as close as French and English cultures are to one another, I am faced with the unhappy fact that my translations into English must always lack something. They can’t ever carry the complete sense of the French original.

Just imagine, then, translating between languages separated by vastly different, millenia-spanning cultures. The task isn’t just difficult, it’s impossible. Understanding ancient texts will always be a quest, and will always only be approached (but never fully achieved) by those willing and able to study rigorously.

No translation will ever suffice to carry full meaning to lay people.

Written by

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot.

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