I’m reading last year’s updated reissue of N.G. Wilson’s From Byzantium to Italy: Greek Studies in the Italian Renaissance. In a slight digression into early approaches to translation – important since using bilingual Latin/Greek texts was a valid learning method for many scholars – Wilson quotes a letter of Leonardo Bruni’s on his approach to rendering Plato’s Phaedo into Latin:
I am keeping close to Plato. I call up a vision of him, one that speaks Latin, so that he may judge, and I will ask him to bear witness to the translation of his own work. I translated him in a way that I understand will give him most pleasure. So first of all I preserve every statement without the least deviation from its meaning; then if a word-for-word rendering is possible without oddity or absurdity, this is most welcome; when it is not possible, I am not so timid as to fear accusation of lese-majeste if I depart a little from the working while preserving the sense, always avoiding absurdity. This is what Plato by his speeches obliges me to do; being the most elegant of writers in the Greek, he will not wish to appear lacking in taste in Latin.