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Could somebody help me with translation of the following sentence.

留守を預かる者として、主の家を汚した蒙昧――八つ裂きにされようと文句は言えぬ。

Text:

理屈など通用しない。 ただ一人でも、どんなに卑小な者だろうと、名誉と忠誠に反した愚者を、黒円卓に存在させた罪は罪。 故に罰。 留守を預かる者として、主の家を汚した蒙昧――八つ裂きにされようと文句は言えぬ。

Some sort of translation:

An ignorance of staining master's house, as a person taking a charge of it during his absence --

Context: The master of a some sort of group is not present for some long period of time, so he entrusted the control of the group to his subordinates. However one of them done something bad, so the master is punishing all of his subordinates.

  • I found the image here ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/… extremely helpful for understanding the last sentence. But I can't piece it together completely (I'm having some trouble with the specific grammatical role of されよう). – virmaior Oct 17 '14 at 15:58
  • @virmaior I think that されようと has the same meaning as されても. Here for example, you can read more information about it. – renchan Oct 17 '14 at 17:34
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+50

I tried my hand at a free translation, because I couldn't figure out how to translate it preserving the meaning or sentence structure precisely:

Utter nonsense. The crime of allowing even one fool who has gone against honor and loyalty at the black round table, no matter how low they might be, is nonetheless a crime. And so, there must be punishment. Such foolishness, to have defiled your lord's house so while it was left in your care―it would be only just were you rent limb from limb.

Unfortunately, this doesn't match up perfectly with the original. I'll try to comment on your translation and the original sentence:

留守を預かる者として
as a person taking a charge of it during his absence

You seem to understand the literal meaning of this part fairly well. But the master entrusted it to an entire group, right? So it's "people" rather than "a person". For people who were left in charge of the master's house while the master was gone . . .

主の家を汚した蒙昧
An ignorance of staining master's house

My comments:

  1. In this case, I think 汚した is figurative (as it often is), so I chose to translate it with "defile" instead. Their crime of allowing even one such person, no matter how low their station, to be at the black round table has defiled their master's house, and so they must be punished.

  2. Translating 蒙昧 is hard, and I had to rely on dictionaries to figure this out. I think it's figurative, literary language, in which the metaphor is light as knowledge or intellect, and darkness as the lack thereof. The word 蒙昧 represents that lack, and I've chosen to translate it as "foolishness".

  3. I don't think "An ignorance of" really makes sense or captures the relationship between 蒙昧 and the rest of the sentence. I think that grammatically the entire clause is a gapless relative that modifies the following head noun 蒙昧. Basically, 蒙昧 "sums up" the clause. (I think it's what Martin calls a "summational epitheme" in his Reference Grammar of Japanese.)

    That is, for people who were left in charge, defiling the lord's house (with their crime) was utter foolishness.

This text, by the way, uses a rhetorical device called 体言止め several times. It adds force to the original by ending on a noun (e.g. 罪 or 罰). In this sentence, the last word is 蒙昧, but it's followed by a long dash, after which the speaker elaborates with another sentence, "It would be only just (or literally 'You could not complain if') you were torn limb from limb", which is a comment on that foolishness.

So basically, the lord/master guy is pretty cheesed off.

  • For point 2, how about "for the ignorance of defiling your lord's house, the punishment of tearing limb from limb could not be questioned"? – Oskar Lindberg Oct 20 '14 at 10:22
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Maybe something like:

As deputy in his absence, one cannot question the tearing of limb from limb for the ignorance of defiling the house of the Lord.

主{ぬし} (おも, あるじ) bears the meaning of "lord", "chief", "master" and similar. 主 is also used to reference "the Lord" in Christian writings, such as the Bible, e.g. Colossians 3-23 and コロサイ 3:23-24. Given the context of someone involved in 主の家を汚した蒙昧, I concluded that "the Lord", as in "God", would be the proper translation, rather than "his lord", as in some "master" person in general.

The phrase "defiling the house of the lord" (or similar) is common in the same context of Christianity.

A 留守{るす}を預{あずかる}かる者{もの} is someone left in charge when the usual person of authority is not present (see for example コトバンク). I'm not sure if "deputy" is the best translation, but to my mind and ears it fits both the meaning and context of the source. People who debate matters of Christianity and do Bible studies sometimes refer to for example Jesus as being the "deputy of the Lord".

I found this Wiki entry describing how to properly "tear a person to pieces", as in 八{や}つ裂{ざ}き.

Maybe this approach was wrong all together. Is this actually some アニメ or 漫画 related stuff? If so, I still think that the original aims to mimic the kind of language used in religious contexts, but the reference to "the Lord" in my translation would be wrong, of course.

Edit: I found the response made by @snailboat very enlightening, and as a result, I propose a new translation:

What ignorance, defiling the house of your lord while acting his deputy ―― Drawing and quartering could not be questioned!

The technical term for 八{や}つ裂{ざ}き is probably "quartering" in English. I think Robert-François Damiens was among the first to be subjected to this gruesome treatment in real history. (As "drawing and quartering" seems as a "set procedure", and because I felt the flow of the sentence was nice, I included both in my translation rater than just the one.)

The "――" part I now interpret as a pause during which the speaker contemplates the gravity of of the situation, before finishing of with illustrating his (or her) sentiment by proposing a suitable punishment.

Leaving all of my old translation untouched for reference.

Edit: I feel the phrase "could not be questioned" is somewhat awkward. Maybe this is better:

What ignorance, defiling the house of your lord while acting his deputy ―― Drawing and quartering would not be disputed!

Even the literal translation of 文句{もんく}は言{い}えぬ is quite open, including vocabulary such as "complaint", "grumbling" and "objection" for 文句. I think this new version sounds better, while still conserving a slightly archaic, stubby tone.

Depending on the context, alternatives for "deputy" include such words as "delegate", "representative" or even "legate". (Of course, if the culprit responsible for the alleged act of desecration, is a group of people rather than a single person, these can all be pluralized, as in "deputies".)

  • Thank you for your reply! Maybe I'm mistaken but I think ―― is split up this sentence in two parts. Maybe something like this "For the ignorance of defiling the house of the Lord, as deputy in his absence -- one cannot question the tearing of limb from limb"? – renchan Oct 19 '14 at 17:10
  • Sure. I think it was a difficult sentence to translate, especially not knowing the full context. I don't get the ―― part at all and did not know what to make of it. I think it's hard to tell if the 留守を預かる者 is the accused party, or the one carrying out the punishment, or what. – Oskar Lindberg Oct 20 '14 at 5:52
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    @OskarLindberg he's the one who watched the house and cannot complain about receiving the punishment. – virmaior Oct 20 '14 at 9:03

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