[Sca-cooks] Fadalat translation

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Sat Sep 8 15:09:30 PDT 2007

> Elise Fleming wrote:
>> Urtatim wrote:
>>> >Again, i know i'm being rather literal, but i want this to sound like
>>> >a Medieval recipe, not a 21st C. recipe. Since Medieval English
>>> >recipes say to "cast" ingredients into pots, that's what i've used
>>> >instead of a more "modern" term.
>> Well, if I may add an alternate view... The only reason medieval
>> recipes sound "medieval" is because they were written so long ago.
>> They didn't sound "antique" to the people of those times. I would
>> propose putting a translation into more current language with the
>> medieval word perhaps in parentheses. While we might understand "cast"
>> and other similar words, not everyone will. And, word order reversed
>> sometimes is which confusing might be to readers. Perhaps two versions
>> could be offered? A more literal one with the punctuation as in the
>> original and a modernized version with more appropriate wordings and
>> modernized punctuation?? Alys, quibbling
>    To each his own. Obviously Lilinah and I have two different points
> of view. I am not familiar enough in Middle English to make an attempt
> to use it when translating. Using the word "cast" instead of "put",
> "add" or whatever sounds affected to me. My point is to make what I have
> to translate understandable to the reader, no more. Too Granja did not
> translate Fadalat into old Castellan so why should I throw in Middle
> English words?
>    I would like to take this opportunity to thank those of you and
> Lilinah in particular who  correct my errors. Its such a privilege to
> have people interested in my work and able to correct me the way you do.
> Suey

Meanings and usage often change over time, so there may be a precise meaning 
to the original choice of words that does not translate correctly into the 
modern context.  That, to my mind, is the best reason for maintaining the 
original terms.  It is also why a copy or a transcript of the original 
recipe should be included with any translation, so that the reader may 
compare the translation to the original text to better grasp the meaning.

In this case, we are dealing with modern Spanish translation of an archaic 
Arabic text that, in turn, is being translated into modern English.  Without 
a Latinized alphabet transcript of the original (or a copy of the original 
and access to a good Arabic linguist), we have no way to evaluate the 
precision of either translation, so any "medievalization" of the recipes is 
an affectation which may cause problems for future researchers.

I gotta go with Suey on this one.


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