Monday, August 14, 2006

Now about those Tongues

After ten years of talking about the French translation of the Course, which finally arrived this spring, I finally did my first introductory workshop at the Gallery of my friend Samuel Augustin ( on Saturday 08/12/2006. In the process I've started to read the book in French just to get "tuned in" to the French word choices, in order hopefully to make my usage consistent with the translated Course, rather than making it up from English and risk causing confusion.

Like always, this undertaking turns out to be a gift to myself, for suddenly even the first few chapters of the Course are hitting me with a fresh power that really blew my mind. I guess it is easier to read right over what it says in English for you think you know it already. And so, right from the outset,this experience seems to be offering a new twist on the idea that you teach what you need to learn.

I have not yet dared to really start reading the Course in my native Dutch. Something is holding me back, it just seems odd or too pedestrian in Dutch.

Having said that, I am profoundly impressed with the fact that translating is impossible, and would recommend to any foreign language students that if they can do it at all they should consult the English text from time to time. From the notes in all the foreign editions it is clear that the greatest sacrifice is the link to the KJV of the Bible, which seems so organic with the Course in English, but is lost in the translation to any other language.

Other interesting issues turn up as well, such as the fact that Dutch does not really have a viable word for "mind," and so a neologism was created for the purpose of the translation. I'm sure that my further work with the translations will lead to some interesting new observations from time to time.

Copyright, © 2006 Rogier F. van Vlissingen. All rights reserved.
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