and what is “translate truthful to the time it was written” even supposed to mean like there’s no way a translation now in the US could be read the same way it was a couple thousand years ago in Greece when english didn’t even exist yet
Yep, in the original Odyssey, in the scene where Telemachus murders the slaves who were “sullied by” Penelope’s suiters, he refers to them with a word that roughly just means “the female ones”, however most translations will use words like “whores”, “sluts” and “creatures”, these were all choices of the translators. The original text did not refer to them that way. Dr. Wilson refers to them instead as “girls”, to highlight their age and the brutality of the action.
She also fixed all the times the previous male translators dodged around the existence of slaves in the text. Where they call slaves anything but slaves (housemaid, nurse, cook, ect.) Dr. Wilson’s translation correctly calls them slaves as in the original texts. It’s really a great translation, it doesn’t soften anything, and lays bare the reality of the story.
One thing she did too, was she refused to make the descriptions of the women in the story more palatable to modern western beauty standards. The original text, for example, describes
Penelope’s hands as “thick”. Most male translators change this to “steady” but Dr. Wilson’s translation calls them “firm, muscular hands” to correctly portray the original intent, that Penelope, as a character who weaves every day and every night undoes her weavings, has strong hands, as weaving does make one’s hands more muscular, and that was clearly what was originally intended to be said given the context of her character and the weavings.
Of Odysseus himself, the original epic calls him “polytropos” poly, meaning many, and tropos, meaning turn. Some male translators used this to say the story itself had twists and turns, other ignored the word completely to write in a way that made Odysseus seem as though a straight up hero, a man “skilled in all ways of contending”, but Dr. Wilson uses it to mean “complicated”, because Odysseus isn’t a straight up hero, he does some really shitty things.
So her translation got a lot of men very very mad, because they said that her being a woman has caused her to translate with bias since her translation is so different to others. She pointed out that perhaps people should have suggested that bias in the inaccurate men’s translations.
Anyway, go read Dr. Wilson’s version of The Odyssey. It’s very good.