An open translation of Plato’s Protagoras

June 25th, 2010 by Dot Porter

Posted on behalf of Dhananjay Jagannathan:

In response to a recent call from a philosopher for better translations of ancient works online for the sake of his students (http://blog.davidhildebrand.org/2010/06/what-to-do-about-old-translations.html), I decided to launch a digital humanities project which will, I hope, result in a high-quality, freely available translation of Plato’s Protagoras (probably under a Creative Commons license). The basic principle is this: every day for a few months, I will post roughly a page of the dialogue on a blog (http://openprotagoras.wordpress.com/), side by side in Greek, in my own translation, and in Jowett’s classic 1871 translation that appears commonly online. I’ve invited readers to comment and offer suggestions to improve the translation. My goal is to communicate Plato in English the way readers of his would have interpreted his Greek, aiming to capture his range of styles (colloquial conversation on the street, philosophical debate, rhetorical displays, poetic analysis, and so on) in a contemporary idiom. The nature of the project requires a wide readership for its success, so I hope you will pass this along.

Best wishes,
Dhananjay Jagannathan
Balliol College
University of Oxford

Are there other, similar initiatives underway? It seems timely.

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