In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

237 CHAPTER ELEVEN Translation Kaarina Hollo and Thomas Rutledge Into Scottish Gaelic If we wish to consider translation and Gaelic during this period, we must keep in mind the linguistic situation as discussed in Chapter 1. There were multiple ‘Gaelics’ in use in Scotland – Classical Gaelic (the lingua franca of the pan-Gaelic learned classes), vernacular Gaelic as spoken (of which we have no exact record), and compromises between the two.1 There is the additional complication of the employment of two different orthographies within Scotland, one inherited and also used in Ireland, and the other based on that of Scots; when the latter is employed it can be difficult at times to determine which form of the language (classical or vernacular) is being represented. Two different scripts are used to write Gaelic during this period as well – the traditional manuscript hand and typefaces based upon it (‘corra-litir’), also used in Ireland, and the Roman script (as used for the writing of Latin, Scots, and English). The linguistic and cultural complexity of Scotland during the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries presents us with particular challenges in the consideration of translation activity. Among the types of translation to be considered are those from other languages into the target language of Gaelic, from the source language Gaelic into other languages, and from one form of Gaelic to another (arguably intralingual translation ). Also important in the Scottish context are the translations that occur when a written text in a source language is translated/interpreted in either written or non-written form, and delivered orally to audiences in the target language (in this chapter section, Gaelic). Although not translation in the strictest sense, the use of more than one orthography for Gaelic and the employment of different manuscript hands and print types, as mentioned above, are important considerations.2 238 kaarina hollo and thomas rutledge The discussion here is structured in a broadly chronological fashion, starting with earlier translations of secular texts and then moving on to Reformation scriptural and catechetical material. But first we must address some general considerations relating to the nature of the Gaelic manuscript tradition shared between Scotland and Ireland. How do we distinguish between a Scottish text in a Scottish manuscript, an Irish text in a Scottish manuscript, a Scottish text in an Irish manuscript, and an Irish text in an Irish manuscript? Does a Scottish scribe make a manuscript Scottish, even if he is working in Ireland? How relevant are the terms ‘Scottish’ and ‘Irish’ in this context? The definition of ‘a Scottish manuscript’ is in itself rather slippery. Ronald Black, who has devoted a lifetime of research to Scottish Gaelic manuscript studies, puts it like this: It will be clear […] that what I call ‘the classical Gaelic manuscripts of Scotland’ simply represent the Scottish end of a tradition held in common by the Gaels of Scotland and Ireland […]. It should be borne in mind however, that with few exceptions the ‘Gaelic manuscripts of Scotland’ either originated in Scotland or at least passed through the hands of Scottish poets or physicians who were as much part of the Gaelic tradition as those who originally wrote them […]. It would be impossible to separate the classical Gaelic manuscripts of Scotland from the classical Gaelic manuscripts of Ireland.3 This commonality of tradition must be kept in mind in considering any aspect of Scottish manuscript culture, including the transmission of translations of literary texts. Well before the period under consideration here, a considerable number of classical literary texts had been translated into Gaelic. By the end of the twelfth century there were Gaelic prose or prosimetrum versions of the Alexander saga, the De excidio Troiae attributed to Dares (Togail Troí), Lucan’s Pharsalia (In Cath Catharda) and Statius’ Thebaid (Togail na Tebe) as well as a looser reworking of the Odyssey.4 In the course of the twelfth century a Gaelic prose translation of Vergil’s Aeneid was also produced, Imtheachta Aeniasa; this is the earliest known translation of Vergil into a vernacular.5 Although Imtheachta Aeniasa has survived in only three fourteenth- or fifteenthcentury manuscripts, none of them of an obviously Scottish provenance, others of the classical translations are found in Scottish manuscripts from our period, including Togail Troí, In Cath Catharda, and Togail na Tebe. Although these were translated several hundred years earlier, they 239 translation continued to be copied into fifteenth- to seventeenth-century manuscripts and form an integral part of the prose literature of our period...


Additional Information

Related ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.