1.  Inserting subjects

An important difference between Greek and English is that English requires a subject to be expressed for each finite verb.  If the subject is not there, then the reader will look back until they find a grammatically possible one.

Here is an original Greek sentence with a proposed English translation.

η μπογιά έφυγε με τον καιρό και τα κάγκελα άρχισαν να σκουριάζουν

The paint came off the railings and started to get rusty.

Can you see what the problem is with the English translation?

Discussion

There are two problems:  (i) the structure of the English clauses, and (ii) the lack of any translation for με τον καιρό.

  On (i), the translator has shifted the subject of the second verb in Greek so that it has become the object of the first verb in English.  In principle there may be nothing wrong with this, but the continuation in English only allows us to interpret paint as the subject of started.  There are a number of possibilities which avoid this trap, most of which remain closer to the Greek clause structure.

On (ii), there might (in a longer text) be a justification for the omission of the information, but it is hard to see here what the motivation might be for any such omission.

Possible alternative renderings :

Over time, the paint came off, and the railings began to rust.
Over time, the paint peeled off the railings, which then started to become rusty.
The paint gradually peeled off, and the railings began to go rusty.
etc.

What is your opinion of these?

 

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