The primary reason to study Ancient Greek, is to be able to translate Ancient Greek documents into English.

Before we start, keep in mind what’s the goal here: you desire to translate an article into modern English. The final translation should sound like it was written in English in the first position: it has to be eloquent and pleasant, not in some “bad-old-looking-odd-sounding” form of modern English.

For this reason, it is really significant to learn how to translate an Ancient Greek text or book in a productive and effectual way. There is a virtually scientific method for that: you just have to pursue these steps.

Prepare the Text for Translation

Before talking about the translation procedure, itself, we should point out the concepts that are essential to translate correctly:

Awareness of pronouns and their definition. Just like prepositions and conjunctions, pronouns are found in large amounts, so knowing what they mean will let you not to waste time looking them up on the dictionary.

Knowledge of ordinary syntactic structures: you should be able to readily identify structures with infinitives and participles such as the absolute genitive.

Knowledge of words’ roots: it’s much better to learn roots rather than sole words since from one root generally originate in several nouns, adjectives, adverbs and verbs. Surely, it’s not always easy to distinguish the root from a word: for that you should have a essential knowledge of returning phonetic phenomena.

Analyzing the Greek Text 

First of all, don’t search right away on the dictionary! No dictionary for a start!

If there’s any, read the heading of the text to investigate it and try to commemorate anything you know on the topic (it’s normally philosophy, a legend, some historical event, etc…). If you haven’t got any title see if inward the text there are some names of historical or mythical character and places that you know about. This expedition will save you from doing big faults while you’re translating.

Eventually, you can now read the text a few times to distinguish major sentences and notions.

Preparation for Translation

Try to divide each sentence and clause and focus on syntactical phenomenon’s so that you can translate each section as a single “object” (you might make some errors: never suppose you’ve got it all right!).

Then translate what you know and comprehend without a dictionary and write a first draft using the most general meaning possible for every word and without concerning if it sounds horrible English-wise.

How to use a Dictionary for your Translation 

Your first draft is seemingly written in terrible English and has a complete vague meaning but should have an accurate syntactical and grammatical structure. It’s time to adjust these issues by using the dictionary this time.

You could write a second draft: look up the words you don’t know or you’re unsure about and select more specific and suitable meanings for each term while keeping an eye on the background of the text.

When you finish, leave the dictionary and read your second draft; look for incongruences and correct them.

Create the Last Version

You should write your second draft in a sort-of-ok English but it may still be a little too straightforward or too archaic-sounding: maybe your sentences are exceedingly long or you’ve used bizarre expressions and words that you will never find in an English book written a couple of years ago… time to write the final version!