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Thread: Loading Screen Mistake

  1. #1

    Default Loading Screen Mistake

    I noticed on one of the loading screens is Caesar's famous remark as he crossed the Rubicon, "alea iacta est". It is translated as "Let the dice fly high". Not only did Caesar actually say it in Greek (according to our source, Plutarch) but even had he said that in Latin, the translation isn't right. It just means "the die is cast". There's no "dice" since it's singular, and I don't know where "let...high" comes from since there's no trace of the word "high" and it's not subjunctive. Besides, iacere doesn't mean to fly but to throw.

    I know it's a super-small quibble, but it would do my OCD-ridden heart good to have that minor error fixed eventually. Sorry if I appear to be splitting hairs- but it seems shameful for a mod as accurate as EB to be burdened by silly errors like that slipping through the cracks.
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    Voluntary Suspension Voluntary Suspension Philippus Flavius Homovallumus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    "The Die is cast" means something completely different in English, however.

    Die = Mould

    Cast = Set

    I.e. colloquially it means "The paths is set/There's no turning back" While that is a totally appropriate remark when crossing the Rubicon it's not what Caesar said

    The literally translation is "The gamble thrown is" or more colloquially "The gamble is made/the die has been thrown."

    "The die is cast" is no longer an appropriate rendering into English, while "Let the dice fly high" is not a literal translation it preserves both the sense and meaning of the remark where "The die is cast" does not. The translation is unacceptably ambiguous.

    Welcome to the problems of translation, it has been said that every translation should be overhauled at least every fifty years, if you want an extreme example of why that is so you need only turn to the King James Bible.

    Many traditional translations of classical texts are no longer satisfactory and to be honest many never were.
    Last edited by Philippus Flavius Homovallumus; 09-04-2007 at 15:47.
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    Member Member hoom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    Colloquially it has the double meaning in English specifically because Caesar said it.
    It was a gamble to cross the Rubicon and having done so, he had to continue with his intent to march on Rome.
    maybe those guys should be doing something more useful...

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    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    Quote Originally Posted by hoom
    Colloquially it has the double meaning in English specifically because Caesar said it.
    It was a gamble to cross the Rubicon and having done so, he had to continue with his intent to march on Rome.
    Perhaps, though the ambiguity has more to do with the fact that English has shifted, die is hardly ever used now to represent the gaming piece.

    In any case it's an unacceptable translation because there was no ambiguity in the origninal Latin.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    "Let the dice fly high"

    Yes, it doesnt sound as though it pertains to fate.

    I rather get the feeling that im going to the casino with Caesar.

    Maybe he'll hit jackpot and make it rain on some ho's

  6. #6
    Carthalo or Karali Member KuKulzA's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardL
    "Let the dice fly high"

    Yes, it doesnt sound as though it pertains to fate.

    I rather get the feeling that im going to the casino with Caesar.

    Maybe he'll hit jackpot and make it rain on some ho's
    I heard he was a whore-monger...

    a soldier, pimp, and conquerer... ridin' down mofos in Gaul... yeah Julius!


  7. #7

    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    I'm sorry but I have to disagree. The expression "the die is cast" is perfectly understandable in modern English, and is the correct translation. If it were something like "cast, the die art" then I would agree it needs to be redone, but there is no such problem. I don't think anyone would read that line and think "how can a die be part of a film production team?" That's silly.

    Besides "Let the dice fly high" is 100% wrong. Look here:
    Let: in English this means the expression is in the present subjunctive. The Latin is in the perfect indicative, so the verb is already completely wrong
    The dice: alea is singular, so there is only one die not many dice.
    fly: there is no verb here meaning "fly". iacta means "cast" or "thrown"
    high: this is just garbage. There is no reason to add "high" since there isn't anything of the sort in the Latin and adds almost nothing to the meaning.

    Not a single word in the present translation is accurate. Besides that, there is no reason to justify such a gross departure from the actual Latin. "The die is thrown" or "The die is cast" are both perfectly understandable translations. Both also capture Caesar's meaning exactly- the die is cast, or thrown. He is taking a gamble, and now there is no going back.

    In one sentence: We're looking at a translation that is completely and unforgivably wrong, and the new translation is not, in any way, an improvement over the standard, correct translation in terms of common understanding or historical reference. It's just a bad translation.
    Last edited by Imperator; 09-03-2007 at 03:55.
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    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    No "cast" as in "To cast bronze"

    In English "The Die is cast" means both "The gamble is taken" and "The pattern is set"

    There is no such ambiguity in the original Latin, therefore the tradional translation is unacceptable. We will not, under any circumstances be reverting to the tradional translation for that reason, and that reason alone.

    Now, allow me to quote from Robin Campbell, himself a translator of Latin prose.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robin Campbell
    Translations, and the aims and methods (when they are venturesome enough to profess the) of individual translators, are seldom hard to criticize. But however far men of letters may find themselves from agreement on the principles of translation from a classical author, the intelligent reader can no longer be satisfied with either a litteral rendering - on the painful model of the old-fashioned school crib - or n inspired paraphrase - however attractive the result has sometimes benn when poet has rendered poet. Somewhere between these two kinds of offering lies the ideal translation, the aim of which I should define as the exact reproduction of the original without ommision or addition, capturing its sound (form, style) as well as its semse (content, meaning).
    It was not I who rendered the current translation therefore I have no personal stake in this.
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    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    Both sound cool :-D I never knew that the die was 'dices.' Everyone uses it as "the mold is set." Its cool all the stuff you learn.
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    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    Quote Originally Posted by antisocialmunky
    Both sound cool :-D I never knew that the die was 'dices.' Everyone uses it as "the mold is set." Its cool all the stuff you learn.
    Die is the singular of Dice, which is plural. As you have just demonstrated though few people use it in that sense today.

    The popular translation was probably coined by someone who wanted to be clever and make a play on words. As a mod that strives for historical accuracy and authenticity we needed to remove the ambiguity.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    Let me try and restate my position. I am, by no means, trying to expound literalism as the single most important value in translation. Nor am I denying that the expression "The die is cast" can have more than one meaning.

    What I am saying is that the current translation is downright wrong. It in no way resembles the original Latin. The point of translation is to express AS ACCURATELY AS POSSIBLE the meaning of a line or story. Therefore, when choosing between different translations (assuming all are comprehensible, good English) it is best to favor that which mimics the original, not that which "gets the idea across" while abandoning the real meaning. If the rough meaning is all that matters, why not translate it as "I'm taking a gamble here, guys."

    Moreover, while my proposed translation does have two possible meanings, it is absurd to claim any line with two possible meanings is too convoluted to understand. Can you understand these lines?
    I love pizza.
    This pizza is cool.
    But that lady is hot.
    All of these lines have a probable, and improbable meaning. I could be IN love my frigid pizza, and worry that the lady is overheating, but only a literalist or someone desperate for an argument would claim those statements are too ambiguous to understand.

    Your quote from a professional translator is completely true. But we're not dealing with a tricky Horace poem. We're looking at an EXTREMELY simple line, which is expressing an EXTREMELY simple idea. All Caesar said was "The die has been thrown". In modern (American) English you'd say "The die's been tossed" (or that's what I'd say anyway ) In many Latin works we have to "fudge" the meaning a bit to make it good English, but that isn't a problem here.

    As a mod that strives for historical accuracy and authenticity we needed to remove the ambiguity.
    So EB strives to remove ambiguity by screwing over accuracy? I hope not. The present translation is 100%, patently, unforgivably, unnecessarily, wrong. If ambiguity is worse than inaccuracy, maybe we should add back some shiny faction colors so the barbarians don't look similar in sprite form, and add some cool 2000 BC Egyptians to the Ptolemaioi so they don't look so much like other Hellenic factions, right? That way no one would get the Ptolemaioi confused with Makedonia, and the Gauls will be totally distinct on the battlefield!

    Accuracy comes first, in my book. And this translation is totally inaccurate, so we should replace it with an accurate one. How is this a tricky question? This one is wrong, but this one is right. The second has two meanings, but I think most people can screw up enough brainpower to decide if Caesar was talking about die-manufacturing or gambling.
    Last edited by Imperator; 09-03-2007 at 18:33.
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    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    Congratulations, you have constructed a straw man.

    "That Lady is Hot" has a litteral and a figurative meaning. "The die is cast" has two litteral meanings in English and one in Latin, it's also a classic crib litteral translation. Interpreting "The die is cast" has nothing to do with brainpower but common usage. Common usage leans very heavily towards the fixed fate meaning and away from the chance meaning. Further, there is nothing in the translation to indicate a bias.

    I say again; the tradtional translation is unacceptably ambiguous and also somewhat awkward in modern English in its intended meaning.

    So let's break this down.

    Alea: noun definition, a gamble, game of chance, or a gambling piece.

    In this case we can assume Ceasar means the latter because of the verb but he's refering to a gambling piece rather than any other sort of gaming piece so we translate it as die because that's a singular gambling piece.

    There's a problem here though, die is hardly ever used today unless you need to explain the rules of a game of chance; many, including some here, don't even realise that die is the singluar because dice are usually paired when we use them. So we use the plural because although not litterally correct it immidately conveys what Ceasar is saying to a modern reader without changing the meaning. The number of dice is totally irrelevant to the remark. The action of throwing one or two dice is exactly the same in this instance, a gamble.

    Iacta, from Iacto: verb definition: to throw, scatter; to shake, toss about: (mind) to disquiet: (ideas) to consider, discuss, mention; etc.

    This is traditionally translated as "cast" which is again fairly litteral because "to cast" i.e. "to cast the runes" is an accurate rendering of what Caesar is saying.

    To why have we chosen "Fly high"? The problem with "The die is cast/tossed/thrown/shaken", or even "The dice are tossed" which changes the meaning of the remark not at all because they aren't litteral dice, is that none of these convey in English that the dice have yet to land. That is the reason for the change, the current translation conveys Ceasar's acknowledgement that his gamble has yet to play out for good or ill. To make it clear that this is an event under way. Your own proposed translations indicate you suffer from this confusion, you have suggested "The die's been tossed" i.e. past tense, wrong tense.

    So now we have "The dice fly high", why the "let"? to compensate for the shift in meaning, where previously we had a statement about an action perfomed now we have a statement about an event underway. By adding "let" you bring it back to Ceasar's original meaning by indicating the remark is linked to his actions and decisions and not just about fate.
    Last edited by Philippus Flavius Homovallumus; 09-04-2007 at 15:46.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    Well in the US, most people know what a die (dice) is...
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    Mechanical dies aren't molds, they are means of cutting or (more normally) bending a material- normally sheet metal- into a shape defined by the die.

    People would be very unlikely to read 'the die is cast' as being about the creation of such a tool. I always thought he was being fatalistic 'it is already done, let us see what fortune gives us.'

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    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    That's not exactly true, a die is the name given the tool used for minting coins; such a die is (today at least) cast. In any case the sense is the same. Whether those in US use the word die often or not those in UK do not.

    People here have admitted to interpreting it in wrong (in the sense of the Latin) way.
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    EB annoying hornet Member bovi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    Personally, I haven't before known more interpretations of die than a single cubic gambling tool, and ceasing to live. I don't even know what a mold is, apparently. I thought that was dirt.

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  17. #17
    Amanuensis Member pezhetairoi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    I think what Americans spell as mold, British spell as mould. Which should be the shape into which molten metal is poured. Caesar could have meant 'now things are going to take shape.'

    ...wait, mold and mould are still both dual-meaning regardless of spelling. Oops. Anyway, bovi, mold's that stuff growing on that loaf of bread you left next to your CPU last week...


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  18. #18

    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    I work in custom book making. There are 2 types of die that we use. One is for hot stamping names and designs into covers of books (it is a reverse image engraved into a block of copper or magnesium) . The other is used for cutting shapes (think a cookie cutter).

    In ancient terms I think that both a gambling die as well as a stamping die (for making coins) would have been used and be equally applicable. When you cast a die (gambling) you have made your gamble and there is no going back. When you cast a die (in stamping), the metal is engraved and there is no altering it later. Even today when we send artwork to have a stamping die made it is said that the die is cast.

    Also, die-cast metal is used in toy cars. It simply means that there is a mold used to cast the metal into a shape...
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    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    NO, NO, NO!

    Alea iacta est means litterally "The gambling piece is thrown" in Latin it has exactly one, precise meaning with no ambiguity.

    The traditional English has two meanings and many people today take the second, incorrect one.

    Now, I am going to say this once more: Ceasar was talking about his gamble, there is NOTHING in the Latin to refer to moulds, metal casting or the fixed nature of fate. Just gambling.

    No, excuse me while I go back and fix my spelling mistakes so that my Dyslexia causes no more confusion.
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  20. #20

    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    Lets just go with "The dice are cast" or "The dice have been thrown"

    ok looks good, print it

    end of conversation :P

  21. #21

    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    I believe I have found the source of our disagreement. I find it impossible to believe that most people read the word "cast" and think of hardware construction as opposed to throwing. Same goes for "die" and "mould". But then I'm from Houston TX (spend a lot of time in Boston too though) and God knows there's more than one way to speak English. Sorry for the misunderstanding, if there was any.

    While the current translation gets the idea across well enough, surely you agree that its gross inaccuracy should be an issue? So perhaps you find my suggested translation unacceptable. Fine. But surely we can figure out a better one? So let's reject "The die is cast" because it isn't the only accurate one, and you are clearly opposed to it. How about this one:

    "The die has been thrown"

    There. That's clear AND accurate. To "throw a die" means "to launch from one's hand a cube-shaped gambling toy". You don't throw a mould, unless you're a nut-job, so most people won't assume "die" here means "mould" any more than they'd assume it means "to expire". No room for misunderstanding, unless one is a complete language-Nazi.

    I'm not trying to push any one translation, but I am trying to get rid of the present translation. If it were the only one which could preserve the meaning, then I'd be all for it. But since there are lots of other translations which are many times more accurate AND preserve the meaning just as well, it has to go.
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    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    I think the confusion into which this thread has decended is proof, if proof were required, that the traditional translation is too ambiguous. I certainly agree that there is more than one way to speak English and as an English scholar I am constantly bemouning the degradation of the language that leads to confusions like this.

    "has been" isn't any better than using "fly high" though. Since this clearly bothers you so much, and it is a valid point of debate I will raise the topic internally.

    I make absolutely no promises, however.
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  23. #23
    EB TRIBVNVS PLEBIS Member MarcusAureliusAntoninus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    Quote Originally Posted by bovi
    Personally, I haven't before known more interpretations of die than a single cubic gambling tool, and ceasing to live. I don't even know what a mold is, apparently. I thought that was dirt.
    I'm with bovi, when I hear die I immediately think of the singular form of playing dice (or death, but die is not the noun form of death). When I heard cast however, I think of metal casting. I guess nobody around here uses cast for throw. However, in the context The die is cast, I know it means thrown, but it give a more perminent feel than thrown would.

    (die = any of various tools or devices for imparting a desired shape, form, or finish to a material or for impressing an object or material [Merriam-Webster])
    (mold = a cavity in which a substance is shaped [Merriam-Webster])


  24. #24
    EB annoying hornet Member bovi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    My understandings of cast:

    To use a spell (roleplaying games)
    Throw the lure in fishing
    ***Throw in general
    Medical contraption for keeping limbs from moving while recuperating

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    EB TRIBVNVS PLEBIS Member MarcusAureliusAntoninus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    Quote Originally Posted by bovi
    My understandings of cast:

    To use a spell (roleplaying games)
    Throw the lure in fishing
    ***Throw in general
    Medical contraption for keeping limbs from moving while recuperating
    There are also metal casting ("Cast Iron") and 'to be in a cast of a film or play'.

    I looked it up http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/cast(click on the noun version too) and it has tons of meanings I never even heard of. Astrological meaning, hunting dog meaning, vomitting... (Crazy English language! )


  26. #26

    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    I think the confusion into which this thread has decended is proof, if proof were required, that the traditional translation is too ambiguous. I certainly agree that there is more than one way to speak English and as an English scholar I am constantly bemouning the degradation of the language that leads to confusions like this.
    "has been" isn't any better than using "fly high" though. Since this clearly bothers you so much, and it is a valid point of debate I will raise the topic internally.
    I make absolutely no promises, however.
    With all due respect, the reason this thread seems confused is because most people haven't heard of the more obscure definitions of "cast" or "die", not because they don't relate those words to "throw" and "gambling tool" respectively.

    But regardless, I should thank you for bringing it up in the dev forum. If any team members haven't read this thread by now, they sure will now.

    But what is wrong with "has been"? As far as I can see, that's right- behold:

    ALEA------ "The Die" (singular noun)
    IACTA EST- "has been thrown" (perfect passive indicative third person singular)

    THE DIE---------------------------singular noun, therefore correct
    HAS BEEN TOSSED/THROWN/CAST--perfect passive indicative third person
    singular. That one's right too.

    The two match perfectly. Where is the grammar error? I don't expect you to expound my opinion to the team (as if they don't have better things to do). Just bring up the fact that the present one is wrong, and "The die is thrown" or "the die is cast" happens to be right, and while some confusion MAY exist around the second one, the first is clear and perfectly accurate. I don't see why the team would say no to that. As far as I can see the EB team is actually quite good at recognizing, isolating, and quickly repairing their errors.
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  27. #27

    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    If I may...

    quit the metal & dictionary games you are playing...

    it confuses people.

    Back on topic: I do think that while "The die has been thrown" is a valid solution. However, the main thing here is "how do you interpret Caesar's remark?". Was he speaking in a matter of fact tone: "well, the game is on"? Or did he really want to emphasise the importance of his decision to cross the Rubicon "well, we better have some luck else we'll have our heads on pikes in no time"?

    The first calls for a matter of fact translation: "The die is thrown"/
    The second calls for a more emphasized translation: "[Well,] Let the dice fly high!" = "Hope this is my lucky day...".
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    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    "Has been" is in the past tense.
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  29. #29

    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    "iacta est" is the perfect tense, which is the same as the past tense.

    EDIT: Wow...we must have gotten so carried away parsing all the words, that we forgot the biggest problem: CAESAR SAID IT IN GREEK. Apparently he was quoting Menander, although as I under stand it the quote hasn't come down to us from any Greek plays. It's in Plutarch. So if we ever wanted to argue the grammar, we ought to be arguing over the Greek stuff. My Greek is uber-bad, so I won't even pretend to be able to translate that line. Maybe a Greek buff could?

    Anyway, until someone comes by and corrects the Greek (the translation is probably less accurate to the Greek than the Latin) why not go with something like this for the loading screen:

    Ἀνερρίφθω κύβος," [anerriphtho kybos]
    The Die is Cast/Thrown
    ~Gaius Iulius Caesar, about to cross the Rubicon and declare open Civil War

    instead of:

    Alea iacta est
    Let the dice fly high
    Gaius Iulius Caesar

    Honestly, I don't see where the debate is. The present one is wrong to the core. Why the resistance? Just replace the quote, which is recorded in the wrong language and poorly translated with the RIGHT language and a more correct translation, even if it isn't mine. Just fix it, for God's sake, it's a minor problem, but if EB wants 100% accuracy, then the least they could do is translate Caesar's famous quote right.
    Last edited by Imperator; 09-05-2007 at 16:08.
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    Default Re: Loading Screen Mistake

    You are vering very close to trolling now. Despite what you might think these few are not simple to translate in either Greek or Latin. Nor do we know if Ceasar actually said them in Greek. Regardless of where the remark came from Ceasar could concievable have said it in either language in the same way as I quote him in English.

    As to "has been" yes, it is correct in a strict sense but it doesn't really work in English in this sense because although it's the perfect tense it conveys a finality in English which isn't in the Latin or Greek. In the Latin, and even more so in the Greek, the dice are still in play.

    At this point I'm going to stop commenting until we have reached a decision.
    "If it wears trousers generally I don't pay attention."

    [IMG]https://img197.imageshack.us/img197/4917/logoromans23pd.jpg[/IMG]

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