Want to decide whether the translation you're reading of Ovid's Metamorphoses is a good one? Here's a sample verse for you to test out!
It's from Book 3, the story of Narcissus being chased by Echo. Echo, we're told, would chattily keep Juno distracted when Zeus was off diddling his ladies. Juno, miffed, cursed her so that she could only repeat the last bits of what people say. (You know, like an echo does?) Or as Ovid puts it:
'huius' ait 'linguae, qua sum delusa, potestasIn super-awkward translation style: "[Juno] said: 'Of this your tongue, by which I was duped, little power will be allowed you, and of your voice the littlest use.'" Except that the grammar is relatively clear, for Latin poetry, and not awkward and stilted like that English crib.
parva tibi dabitur vocisque brevissimus usus,'3.366-7
What to look for: The lines end with their own echo: "-us usus". There might be a precursor to this with "tibi dabit-" and certainly a connection with the us in "delusa" (duped). But the speech ends with this little echoing effect; it's the culmination of this mini-scene. It is, arguably, the main point of providing these few lines of backstory.
So how does your translation handle it?
Arthur Golding's translation from 1567:
This tongue that hath deluded me shall doe thee little good:("Good" rhymes with the previous line, and "have" with the next one, if you were wondering.)
For of thy speech but simple use hereafter shalt thou have.III.456-7
Joseph Addison's translation (finishing up what John Dryden left unfinished at his death) from 1717:
And then she cry'd, "That tongue, for this thy crime,A.D. Melville's translation from 1986:
Which could so many subtle tales produce,
Shall be hereafter but of little use."
...'Your tongue', she said,So... it looks like none of our translators reproduced the effect. Hunh.
'With which you tricked me, now its power shall lose,
Your voice avail but for the briefest use.'