saluete omnes!

Hello everyone! I decided to create a blog on here, because I’m always rambling in my Youtube video descriptions and viewers don’t notice the lyrics underneath my numbered trivia about the translation process.

Also, since the publication of this article, which absolutely stunned me (I had my name mentioned in the same context as Pope Benedict XVI! And the title! AAAAHHHH!), my utterly harebrained idea has acquired about 50 new subscribers, and I thought that I should perhaps have something to say to you all. Plus I have more space for my ramblings, of course. And it’ll prompt me to finish the main website.

So, for those of you who don’t know, my name is Olivia. I like Latin. I also like Greek, and there will be Greek on this blog as well, but this is primarily a Latin website. I’ll get to the Greek, eventually. (Isn’t there a film called Get Him to the Greek? I have no idea what it’s about. I hope I haven’t just said something really odd.)

My main claim to fame is my Youtube channel on which I translate Disney songs into Latin and Greek. I’ve been thrilled by the modest but enthusiastic reaction to this. Thank you to all of my subscribers; I really hope you enjoy my videos and that they encourage you to study Latin and Greek.

I’ll explain how the Youtube channel came about on the website, but for now let me clarify that these are translations and lyric adaptations. I don’t just churn out the exact words in Latin (or Greek) and try to fit them in. I adapt the lyrics into Latin/Greek that sounds nice, that makes sense, that fits the rhythm, that rhymes (or is at least assonant, e.g. ‘as’ rhyming with ‘at’ or ‘am’) and above all, that is as Latin/Greek as I can make it. This is one of the most enjoyable parts of translation into any language: you have to decide what the original text means, and think of other ways to express more or less the same thing. Compare ‘the lonely road through the wood’ and ‘the secluded forest path’. Both evoke very similar images but for a lyricist, they’re two different kettles of fish.

One major snag: I cannot sing. I can hold a tune, but that’s about it. I’ve heard worse though, and I’m content with that. After all, I never claimed to be a singer! I’m a translator; and I’ve been lucky to receive comments from several Youtube users who compare foreign dubs of Disney films, complimenting the adaptation! So I’m not unlistenable, at least, if they got that far.

This blog, then, will be about the experience of translating modern songs into Latin, and other similar adventures: my ups and downs as a student, travels, my thoughts on classical-related issues, reviews, etc. It will probably be esoteric in places. My aim is to prompt discussion of Classics in today’s world, encourage classical studies, and find my own niche as a modern classicist.

The title of this blog is sed antiquitas quidem obscura, which means ‘but ancient history is hazy’. I hope I can make a humble contribution to de-mist-ifying it!

2 Responses to "saluete omnes!"

  1. Hello! I have listened to some of your translations of Disney for a while, but I recently discovered this blog and spent a good hour or so parsing through some posts XD. I am very excited about this site and the thought of learning more about Classics by it. As a Classics minor I am very interested in the topic and its application in today’s world. I also think it’s wonderful that you’ve chosen to share your impressive knowledge as a classicist.
    Another thing I must say is that I am absolutely enamored by languages. They are truly an obsession for me so your translations are what excite me the most. I myself have just finished my second year of Latin, so I am still a beginner XD. That said, I wholeheartedly agree that the art of translation is about more than merely reproducing exact words, but of really truly immersing yourself in the language of the text to be translated and translating it in a way that retains its original meaning and essence while also matching with the language it is translated into. A thorough understanding of both languages is required in order to produce high-quality translations. I feel that the whole process is as much artistic as it is technical.
    At any rate, I had better end it here before I digress too far XD. Thank you for the effort you put into your work! Tibi gratias ago!

    • livia

      Wow, what a lovely message! And a lovely start to the year! You’ve hit on every single possible aim I have in producing my videos, which is very encouraging. And I’m so happy that you’ve enjoyed reading the blog – I know most people will be happy with my ‘manageable’ translations on the subtitles, but I write these posts on the off-chance that some people are equally as fascinated by the composition process, so it’s wonderful to hear that you are!! Thank you very much :) I’m very touched that you’re impressed although there is still so much for me to learn – but that’s a good thing!
      The translation is definitely my favourite part – God knows I can’t sing XD. I think it’s really important to ‘think’ in a language when you’re translating and I truly believe that’s possible in Latin and Ancient Greek. (Certainly not to the level of a native, but we can make it our own.) So this post makes me very happy ^^ I certainly feel my approach is more technical than artistic but I hope that they have artistic effect too.
      Haha, that’s no problem – please feel free to quiz me on anything in any of the posts! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment – I hope you continue to enjoy the videos :) I’m in the process of revamping the main site so with any luck you’ll find some things of interest there too in the near future.

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