Jona et Piscis Grandis – A Big Fish Translating Adventure

From the time students start learning their first vocabulary words and noun declensions, they are itching for a translating adventure—something to translate from Latin into English. The challenge is that even once they've spent years soaking up the grammar, it can still be very challenging to head to a text originally written in Latin and feel confident about translating it. Andy struggled with that when he first started trying to translate Caesar's writings about his battles. In hopes of helping others hurdle this obstacle, he's worked up a practice story that you just might be familiar with...

Jonah translating adventure

Two Challenges When Translating Caesar

We found we faced two challenges when we started attempting to translate Caesar's battles. First, we were unfamiliar with the story. The names, places, and events were foreign to us, so figuring out what was being said in the midst of trying to figure out what was even happening was a huge challenge.

Secondly, there is a big gap between the literal translation and the artistic translation. You've probably experienced this when you meet someone who is not a native English speaker. They use strange constructions and foreign-sounding usages of English vocabulary that can sometimes make you scratch your head in wonder. What exactly are they trying to say?

The same thing happens when trying to translate something into English that wasn't originally written in English. Sometimes the constructions are odd, and you have to shift those words into the best way to say the idea in English—thus, an artistic translation.

A Big Fish Story Solution

Andy noticed that the book of Jonah is a great place to start if you're interested in a translating adventure from the Vulgate. However, even with its simplicity, some challenging grammatical constructions can trip up the Latin translating enthusiast. Therefore, Andy simplified the Latin a bit for beginner translators. He also included notes to help identify the tricky spots. Additionally, since students are most likely to be familiar with the story of Jonah, it should be fun to try to discover the story in Latin.

Jonah translating adventure

You'll enjoy his awkward "literal translation" of the story as a way to track if you're headed the right direction, and then read his artistic translation of the concepts.

One great way to approach this resource is to track new vocabulary as you go. Writing the vocab down in a personal dictionary is a great way to solidify new words in your mind. Here's a FREE one to get you started!

Free Latin Dictionary Printable

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    Jona et Piscis Grandis PDF

    What to expect in the Jona et Piscis Grandis PDF download:

    • 31 pages
    • A simplified version of the book of Jonah in Latin
    • Notes on translating
    • A vocab word bank for the whole resource
    • Andy's literal translation
    • Andy's artistic translation
    Jonah translating adventure

    Other resources you might enjoy that are all available in a Latin with Andy membership:

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