I’m at the finishing touches with MN10 into Estonian in two versions (one “academic”, the other recitable, made possible by the structure of the target language and an existing ancient memory technique using rhyme and rhythm conditionally comparable to the meter used in MN10) after a longer pause.
There are a few things I keep obsessing about. One amongst the many is the “long breath” translation.
The question: Are there serious caveats in going with “deep breath” instead? It really makes sense in the target language. But, it is unorthodox compared to the dominating discourse across the majority of adoptions in different languages.
(Background: I took the approach of also comparing at many different language translations, comparing their solutions to adaption problems to the bits of personal experience, and the way the target language actually operates. Over the years I have always had trouble understanding what the anapana instructions of “long breath” and “short breath” really mean, explained any which way. Yes, I’ve heard the explanations, and yes, I heard the words, and yes, I sat, but they made relatively little sense compared to other alternatives running around in one’s head.
However, deep and shallow do seem to make sense, almost instantly. Both experientially and the way some languages talk about the breath nowadays. Also, in my language a doctor will never tell anyone to take a long breath whilst they are conducting auscultation with a stethoscope, for example. They will say: “Please breathe in deep, take a deep breath”.)
Just now I noticed that the MN10 English translation in the sutta section here also prefers ‘deep’, which also comes to life given the metaphor of the carpenter:
It is like a skilled carpenter or carpenter’s apprentice: when making a deep cut they would clearly know ‘I am making a deep cut’, and when making a shallow cut they would clearly know ‘I am making a shallow cut’.
As opposed to Bodhi’s:
Just as a skilled turner or his apprentice, when making a long turn, understands: ‘I make a long turn’; or, when making a short turn, understands: ‘I make a short turn’;
And I’m really leaning towards deep and shallow myself as well. But. Many if not most translations seem to be going for a literal “long” and “short”. So I’m looking for arguments on either solution. I’m not a native English speaker so I cannot speak of the “feel” of Engish, but I can speak of the “feel” of my native tongue.