German, Dutch, Hebrew, English

Dena

“It is inconceivable that something is lost forever.”
— Advice from Šuruppag to his son, Zi-ud-sura, ca. 2500 BCE

Bilingual in Hebrew and English since early childhood, I have spent my life chasing words and meaning. Translating officially since 1989, and unofficially since childhood, I have translated more than twenty-five books, reams of evidence for civil and criminal trials, and what seems like an unending stream of medical files and informed consent documents.

When I'm working for clients, I prefer the technical, legal, medical fields. They're clearer and more straightforward. For fun, though, I like to translate poetry, with a special emphasis on 11th century North African love poems. I balance out my workload with an ongoing commitment to pro bono translation, helping journalists and individuals for whom a Hebrew/English translation makes a difference. 

My culminating project at Goddard College was ‎Linguistic and Narrative Aspects of Textile Production and Consumption As ‎Represented in Late Bronze Age Mythological Texts of the Ancient Near East, and touched on some of the fascinating aspects of how textile was represented in Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, Assyrian/Babylonian, and Sumerian (the last of which is the only one on that list that is not a Semitic language.) It was a fun project and gave me a taste for much more academic work, which I may do someday, when I retire from translation.  It would be fun to focus on Sumerian grammar and read Šuruppag's excellent advice in its original language.  

 What I ask about colors before going out the door in the morning is: did I miss any?

What I ask about colors before going out the door in the morning is: did I miss any?

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Fiber work inspires and informs my view of language.

When I was studying Sumerian wisdom literature I came across some advice, given to the Sumerian flood-survivor (their equivalent of the Biblical Noah) by his father, Surupag. He wrote the words that appear at the top of this page in a language that would soon disappear under the sands of time and be covered by physical sand. "It is inconceivable," he said, "that something should be lost forever."

Centuries passed after this was written, and became millennia. A military man rappelled down the Behistun Stone and made rubbings of the words that would someday make it possible to understand those words.

In my mind's eye I can see Šuruppag, with a twinkle in his sage eye, saying a sort of Sumerian "I told you so." His words were not lost forever. That would be inconceivable. And I came across this while looking for fiber, textile, poetry, and words.

Dena Bugel-Shunra

Translator | Interpreter | Hebrew | English | Writing | Art

 

 Joy is the natural side-effect of a life lived intensely.

Joy is the natural side-effect of a life lived intensely.

 I'm not sure which  of the features was more extraordinary: the braided tree or the outsized doors. 

I'm not sure which  of the features was more extraordinary: the braided tree or the outsized doors.