Friday, 20 January 2012

English to English Translation


File:Zolotas.jpgFrom late 1989 to early 1990 the Prime Minister of Greece was a fellow called Xenophon Zolotas. However, the apogee and apex of his career from the Inky Fool's point of view, was a speech he made to the International Monetary Fund in 1957. It was not a speech that did much in the way of changing the world or any of that rot that politicians waste so much time on. It was, though, a speech composed only of words that derive from Greek. I reproduce it here and follow it with a translation of my own.

I always wished to address this Assembly in Greek, but realised that it would have been indeed "Greek" to all present in this room. I found out, however, that I could make my address in Greek which would still be English to everybody. With your permission, Mr. Chairman, I shall do it now, using with the exception of articles and prepositions, only Greek words.


Kyrie, I eulogise the archons of the Panethnic Numismatic Thesaurus and the Ecumenical Trapeza for the orthodoxy of their axioms, methods and policies, although there is an episode of cacophony of the Trapeza with Hellas. With enthusiasm we dialogue and synagonize at the synods of our didymous organisations in which polymorphous economic ideas and dogmas are analysed and synthesised. Our critical problems such as the numismatic plethora generate some agony and melancholy. This phenomenon is characteristic of our epoch. But, to my thesis, we have the dynamism to program therapeutic practices as a prophylaxis from chaos and catastrophe. In parallel, a Panethnic unhypocritical economic synergy and harmonisation in a democratic climate is basic. I apologise for my eccentric monologue. I emphasise my euharistia to you, Kyrie to the eugenic and generous American Ethnos and to the organisers and protagonists of his Amphictyony and the gastronomic symposia.

Which means, approximately:

Gentlemen, I compliment the heads of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for the uprightness of their axioms, methods and policies, although there is a brief disagreement between the Bank and Greece. With enthusiasm we talk and consider together at the meetings of our twin organisations in which various economic ideas and dogmas are analysed and synthesised. Our critical problems such as inflation cause some agony and melancholy. This phenomenon is characteristic of our epoch. But to get to the point, we have methods that can prevent catastrophe. Also, sincere international economic cooperation is necessary. I apologise for my eccentric monologue. I emphasise my gratitude to you gentlemen, thanks to the well-born and generous American people and to the organisers and key players of this international meeting and dinner.

So Greek government finances are fine by me.

5 comments:

  1. The phrase "Greek to all present in this room" reminded me of this map showing which languages each culture thinks is particualrly foreign: http://bigthink.com/ideas/21415?page=all

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  2. Yo, Zolokas!

    I like to think Yo as used by young folk today directly from Io used as a greeting by the old Greeks. Please don't disabuse me of this illusion.

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  3. Even the english translation seemed "greek" to me

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  4. Not exactly on topic, does anyone have any idea how different ancient Greek and modern Greek are? Like, how much, if any of a modern Greek conversation would someone fluent in ancient Greek understand?

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  5. That made me think that it would be fun to have four versions: Greek, English using only Greek words; your approximate but still quite learned translation and the up to date plain English version. That in turn made me think that a passage in learned English written by an academic octegenarian and translated into everyday modern English would show how the language changes over a couple of generations.

    Thank you for making me think.
    Jane

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