[Sca-cooks] Doing my best

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Fri Mar 2 20:47:05 PST 2007

On Mar 2, 2007, at 10:27 PM, ranvaig at columbus.rr.com wrote:

> I started researching German food because of
> Atlas' translation was available online. Is it
> better to have somewhat faulty information, or no
> information at all?  Cariadoc said "The best
> should not become the enemy of the good".
> This struck home because I am attempting to do my
> own translation of Rumpolt's Ein New Kochbuch. In
> spite of care, it is no doubt peppered with
> mistakes.
> If a "best" translation of Rumpolt was available,
> I'd love to be using it.  I hope someone
> publishes a better translation than my beginner's
> attempt
> If I share my translations, and make something
> available, that was not readily available before,
> does that mean I am "spreading false information"?

Well, that depends. Anybody can make a mistake. What matters is  
whether you respond to a well-intended correction in a manner that  
indicates you're interested in a good piece of work over bolstering  
your own ego. I've had experiences with SCAdians who've done  
translations based on guesswork and a dictionary for a language they  
don't really speak or understand fluently, when a correction was  
offered in good faith by someone who speaks the language fluently  
_and_ has access to dictionaries. The difference is that foundation  
which serves as a "hook" on which to hang the dictionary work.

Alia Atlas (who was once active in the East Kingdom), from my own  
experience , never actively resisted corrections, but her work got so  
widely distributed, and so quickly, that it became difficult to hunt  
down various incarnations and make sure corrections were applied. I  
have a friend who was in the room when Caterina read Adamson's  
comments, and she was utterly devastated, another casualty of a  
brilliant academic whose skillset apparently doesn't include enough  
tact to encourage someone for the greater good and for the sake of  
the spread of enlightenment every academic is supposedly dedicated to.

Most everything Adamson said was true. Her remarks also read to me as  
childish, arrogant, and designed to discourage "amateur" scholarship  
from people without proper academic credentials. There's some  
question whether Adamson would ever have gotten off her butt and done  
her own edition of Ein Buoch von Guter Spise had Atlas not produced  
her flawed version.

> Is it wrong to do the best job you can, on something that no one  
> else has done?

No, not at all. See above. Being afraid to speak, or to have an  
opinion, because someone else may have an opinion better informed  
than, or in disagreement with, yours, is when learning comes to a  
crashing halt.

Hey, I make idiotic statements all the time. I enjoy it. It's like  
serving the ball in a tennis match. Come back to me with something  
better. If you can, we all win. If not, same difference. It's when  
people can't or won't speak because they're afraid of being thought  
stupid, is when we all get a little stupid.


"S'ils n'ont pas de pain, vous fait-on dire, qu'ils  mangent de la  
brioche!" / "If there's no bread, you have to say, let them eat cake!"
     -- attributed to an unnamed noblewoman by Jean-Jacques Rousseau,  
"Confessions", 1782

"Why don't they get new jobs if they're unhappy -- or go on Prozac?"
     -- Susan Sheybani, assistant to Bush campaign spokesman Terry  
Holt, 07/29/04

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