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How to translate God Learner?

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7 hours ago, Julian Lord said:

Which is exactly what Oriflam did with "Les Érudits de l'Ambigu"

I really don't think that one is broken, whereas any more literal translations would be.

Your knowledge and mastery of the french language is far better than mine and all your points are valid. And you are right, a litteral translation won't work.

As far as "Érudits de l'ambigu" is concerned, you are not wrong, it is not broken. I simply don't like it at all because it does not convey something I want to see in the translation. There is nothing I or you can do about that. Even if it is the better or less worse translation that one could find, I really don't like it. I don't like garlic for example, and you can explain me all its virtues and how much you enjoy its taste, you won't make me eat it.

As far as the french edition is concerned, I must admit that I didn't like the original RQ3 neither. It went too far away from what we had perceived of Glorantha through the rulebook, Cults of Prax and Cults of Terror which were the only books we owned before RQ3 was published. I grew up with RQ2 and RQ3 didn't make it for me. More than the translation, the graphics of the french RQ3 was the worst thing of all. The text was describing a familiar world (though I didn't like the medieval tone of the West, for example) while I had the feeling that the art was describing another setting. It is mainly a matter of perception actually. The problem here was that I knew (or thought I knew) RQ2 before RQ3. The players I knew that started with RQ3 were not disturbed by the art or the translation.

I am far more at ease with the setting since HeroQuest 2 and HeroQuest: Glorantha. These two games actually brought me back to Glorantha.

I still don't know how I will translate "God Learners" to my players but I think I will chose one of the less than perfect translation and make them understand through their encounters that different people and cultures have different takes and use slightly different names when it comes to the God Learners. The ambiguity will come from the different names rather than the direct translation.   ;)

Scott-martin: I agree, the term "savant" is a possibility but in my opinion it would lead to the same problem than "Érudit". "Savant" is listed as a synonymous of "Érudit" in my dictionnary. This is why I didn't stated it in my previous posts.

Jeffjerwin: "divin" as some kind of priest is something I have though about. There is some ambiguity in the term that I like.

Soltkass: considering "Learner" more about "researching" or "understanding" is exactly the lead I would follow if I had to translate "God Learners".

The main problem is with "god" though and I agree with Julian Lord that it should be dropped and replaced by something else in french. By what is the trickier part of the work.   :(

Edited by Corvantir

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I was under the impression that God Learner was not really something that the God Learners called themselves. It is more like something one says about witches or heretics: "burn the god learner!", "do not trust this wicked god learner!" "chain the foul god learner in the darkest dungeon!"  I cannot speak German, French, Latin, or Sehnegi, but I think the translation need to capture something that can be used as a derogatory term. 

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I used the German word "Götterschüler" in a campaign, as a description for people who wanted to learn from the gods in order to become as powerful as gods.

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5 hours ago, KeithN said:

I was under the impression that God Learner was not really something that the God Learners called themselves.

As per Guide, they formed the God Learner Collective in 845 ST in Jrustela. That doesn't sound like using a derogatory term used only by outsiders.

 

5 hours ago, KeithN said:

It is more like something one says about witches or heretics: "burn the god learner!", "do not trust this wicked god learner!" "chain the foul god learner in the darkest dungeon!" 

In German, the term for heretic ("Ketzer") is derived from the neutral word for the Katharian movement in southern France. "Hun" used to be the neutral term for the riders of Attila before world war propaganda projected this on the Germans. "Political correctness" used to be a positive term. "Communist" isn't eponymous with "Enemy of the People" in every culture. Neither is Neo-Conservative or Neoliberal, although they should.

 

5 hours ago, KeithN said:

I cannot speak German, French, Latin, or Sehnegi, but I think the translation need to capture something that can be used as a derogatory term. 

Any term can become poisoned when propaganda gets its ugly claws on it.

Try "Highlander". You can of course turn it into "hillbilly" or similar bad diminutives. Or you can make it into a proud tribal definition to distinguish yourself from those "southerners".

 

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3 hours ago, rust said:

I used the German word "Götterschüler" in a campaign, as a description for people who wanted to learn from the gods in order to become as powerful as gods.

That's a very specific definition of God Learner and doesn't quite describe the Jrusteli researching the Abiding Book, the Return to Rightness crusaders, or Yomili defending the Seshnelan orthodoxy against Halwal's support of older forms of a multifaceted Malkionism, and not even of the Zistorites with their project in the Clanking City even though those are probably who you wanted to describe.

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For a Swedish translation, I would use "Gudalärd", which would essentially back-translate into something like "Gods-Learned", "person knowing a lot about gods". I imagine German would support something like this.

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1 hour ago, Akhôrahil said:

For a Swedish translation, I would use "Gudalärd", which would essentially back-translate into something like "Gods-Learned", "person knowing a lot about gods". I imagine German would support something like this.

Well, this thread got me musing about a possible Norwegian translation, and I ended up with "Gudkyndig" ("God-knower"), from the archaic "kunn(e)" for specialist knowledge, which is related to modern "kunne" and "kan", the part-tense conditional and present tense versions of the verb "can" (with the implication of "to be able to do, to know how to do"). -kyndig is nowadays mostly used in legal contexts (a "sakkyndig" is a legal council or expert), but "fagkyndig" is occasionally used to refer to a highly trained tradesman, craftsman or artisan.

"Lærd" works too, but for some reason I didn't think of it after I read the above post. Makes me wonder if "lærling" (apprentice, but literally "learner-ing" could work too. Kinda implies they're apprentices to the gods though, which doesn't quite sit right with how the God Learners are presented or what they did.

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4 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Well, this thread got me musing about a possible Norwegian translation, and I ended up with "Gudkyndig" ("God-knower"), from the archaic "kunn(e)" for specialist knowledge, which is related to modern "kunne" and "kan", the part-tense conditional and present tense versions of the verb "can" (with the implication of "to be able to do, to know how to do"). -kyndig is nowadays mostly used in legal contexts (a "sakkyndig" is a legal council or expert), but "fagkyndig" is occasionally used to refer to a highly trained tradesman, craftsman or artisan.

"Lærd" works too, but for some reason I didn't think of it after I read the above post. Makes me wonder if "lærling" (apprentice, but literally "learner-ing" could work too. Kinda implies they're apprentices to the gods though, which doesn't quite sit right with how the God Learners are presented or what they did.

Interesting - the English cognate cunning is used for cunning men and cunning women - that is, folk witches, though there's a fair bit of sinister implication in the English word.

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3 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

Interesting - the English cognate cunning is used for cunning men and cunning women - that is, folk witches, though there's a fair bit of sinister implication in the English word.

Duh, can't believe I forgot that connection.

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I may have missed something in the thread here, but to get good translations it may a good idea to see if we can agree (more or less) upon what God Learner means in English. Should 'Learner' be read as meaning both 'Teacher/Master' and 'Student' at the same time, or is it just the 'Student' part that applies?

What other English terms could have been appropriate? Pupil, beginner and apprentice capture the student aspect, while scholar can be both a student and a teacher. 

-Terry

 

Edited by TerryTee
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38 minutes ago, TerryTee said:

I may have missed something in the thread here, but to get good translations it may a good idea to see if we can agree (more or less) upon what God Learner means in English. Should 'Learner' be read as meaning both 'Teacher/Master' and 'Student' at the same time, or is it just the 'Student' part that applies?

What other English terms could have been appropriate? Pupil, beginner and apprentice capture the student aspect, while scholar can be both a student and a teacher. 

It's more like Researcher or Studier, maybe Knower.

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3 hours ago, soltakss said:

It's more like Researcher or Studier, maybe Knower

I'm trying to get a feel for the status maybe… A Researcher will by many be seen as person with a high-ish status, and Knower seems to convey the same. Studier points more or less directly to student and sound more like a humble status.


Are there ranks in the God Learner Collective? Apprentice, Journeyman, Master? If so, then I guess God Learner is not a tile or a station of a person, and does need to convey as much concrete meaning. Then it is more of an organizational name, but also used collectively about all members of the organization regardless of station within the organization. "He is a God Learner" might be comparable to "He is a Templar". You know that he belongs to that order but not if he is high or low in that order.

46 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

It's probably debatable whether people in Glorantha would be able to give a good answer on that, even.

Agreed, but if the name was coined by the organization itself, then that meaning is relevant in order to understand and translate the name.

 

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Another important point with respect to the interpretation of the term God Learner is probably, if they called themselves God Lerner, or if the term has been created by non-members of this group (with kind of derogative meaning maybe).

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From the Guide, we have the following references that I spotted with specific regard to the name "God Learners":

p.135 - "... the heirs of these wizards, popularly called  God Learners ..."

p.412 - "... the home of the sorcerous movement that became known as the God Learners".

p.465 - "The Jrusteli sorcerors, often called the God Learners ..."

p.503 - "The investigators in this process were commonly known as the God Learners".

 

All these references, particularly the "commonly known" and "popularly called" ones, make it seem probable that "God Learner" was an external name applied to these people, and we don't have a reference for what they called themselves (perhaps nothing initially, and they adopted the externally-given name as it seemed appropriate?

 

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I view the God Learners as a well-intentioned research project with, in the end, some perhaps unfortunate characteristics.

  • Turning from religion to theology and then to comparative mythology. Perhaps the term God Learner soured along with this progression away from worship. (Hence, I'd translate the term as theologian.)
  • Figuring out 'underlying principles' and using them in a rather disrespectful, even a-theistic, manner. Yet can we say with certainty that Gods are more than blimp-scale spirits? It always seemed more parsimonious to unify these concepts. 
  • Questioning and systematizing the fundamentals of many popular myths. 
  • Figuring out the God Learner Secret. 
  • Fundamentally, exploiting Gods instead of worshipping them. While some of us may argue at the Remnant Faculty meetings about whether there was something more directed behind the disasters than just 'nature' or 'Glorantha' rising up, it does fit the paradigm. In the blue sub-hell, they had a sorcerer named Simon who did the same sort of things, crucially with the same attitude, and came to a sticky end too. I suppose we should have seen that coming. 
  • Finally, I have the feeling that Someone made an example of us because of our unconventional ways. Men are not intended to behave as we did. Not that I'm bitter, but apparently resurrecting old Chaos creatures and turning them into makeshift deities is still just fine, over and over again. Not us though. 

Yet it should also be noted that we did realize, write down and explore some quite useful and beneficial concepts that have certainly not been tried by the public since back then. 

Edited by The God Learner
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5 hours ago, Steve said:

From the Guide, we have the following references that I spotted with specific regard to the name "God Learners":

p.135 - "... the heirs of these wizards, popularly called  God Learners ..."

p.412 - "... the home of the sorcerous movement that became known as the God Learners".

p.465 - "The Jrusteli sorcerors, often called the God Learners ..."

p.503 - "The investigators in this process were commonly known as the God Learners".

 

All these references, particularly the "commonly known" and "popularly called" ones, make it seem probable that "God Learner" was an external name applied to these people, and we don't have a reference for what they called themselves (perhaps nothing initially, and they adopted the externally-given name as it seemed appropriate?

 

Is the Second Era stuff published by Mongoose still canon/applicable? I remember seeing a number of references to different groups that were thought to be either precursors to the God Learner Collective, or the larger denomination that they were a part or, or possibly the formal name of them - this is from the wiki, as I do not have access to any of that stuff myself.

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7 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Is the Second Era stuff published by Mongoose still canon/applicable?

The Mongoose material isn't "all wrong" because a lot of it was based on work by Greg (published in Revealed Mythology and The Middle Sea Empire), but there are concepts which have been abandoned, like the entire "church" approach to Malkionism. If you are looking for canon, the Mongoose publications aren't the best place. If you are looking for ideas and inspiration, you could do worse, but there are a number of blaant deviations from canon (even at the time of publication) in the material.

 

7 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I remember seeing a number of references to different groups that were thought to be either precursors to the God Learner Collective, or the larger denomination that they were a part or, or possibly the formal name of them - this is from the wiki, as I do not have access to any of that stuff myself.

That is based on the two Stafford Library books I mentioned above.

The most official use of the term God Learner is the formation of the God Learner Collective in 845 ST in the timeline box on p.135. At least at this time the God Learners must have applied the name to themselves. They take credit for the Goddess Switch, though not for the side effects.

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On 8/22/2018 at 5:57 PM, scott-martin said:

Love it [Lærd]. It's like a hinge (or henge) swinging between lords and lore.

It's cognate with "lore" and "learn".

Etymology Online: 

lore (n.)

 

Old English lar "learning, what is taught, knowledge, science, doctrine; art or act of teaching," from Proto-Germanic *laisti- (compare Old Saxon lera, Old Frisian lare, Middle Dutch lere, Dutch leer, Old High German lera, German Lehre "teaching, precept, doctrine"), from PIE root *lois- "furrow, track;" compare learn.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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On 8/23/2018 at 6:27 PM, The God Learner said:

Turning from religion to theology and then to comparative mythology. Perhaps the term God Learner soured along with this progression away from worship. (Hence, I'd translate the term as theologian.)

That would be a mistake, IMO, as that word is very heavy with RW connotations that would IMO be detrimental to the fantasy ...

Anyway, I don't think that the God Learners were anything like being theologians -- probably more like Time Bandits.

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22 minutes ago, Julian Lord said:

Anyway, I don't think that the God Learners were anything like being theologians -- probably more like Time Bandits.

That may be a little harsh. The Seven Explorers of Eradinthanos - cited as the first early "God Learners" - were sorcerers who applied passages from the Abiding Book into their spell research, which then produced the magic that burnt down much of the Vralos forest just three years after the revelation of the Abiding Book. They did not rampage through the stories grabbing whatever artifacts they might have happened upon. Instead they manipulated the material reality with their spells, in the best (or worst) tradition of sorcery.

The discovery of myths as source of artifacts and other exotic magic only followed the fall of the Stygian Autarchy and the theft of that magical landscapes introductory book to the Hero Planes.

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14 hours ago, Julian Lord said:

That would be a mistake, IMO, as that word is very heavy with RW connotations that would IMO be detrimental to the fantasy ...

On the contrary I find it apposite, since the term denotes a change from worship to knowledge (and then implied to develop in perhaps regrettable ways), a course which, as the final days of many of the God Learners amply demonstrates, is not permitted in Glorantha. 

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8 hours ago, The God Learner said:

On the contrary I find it apposite, since the term denotes a change from worship to knowledge (and then implied to develop in perhaps regrettable ways), a course which, as the final days of many of the God Learners amply demonstrates, is not permitted in Glorantha. 

Maybe Theologician might be the Greek-ish version.

 

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