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# In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work th

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In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work th  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 14 Sep 2018, 04:41
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In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work that, taking him seven years until completion, and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced the greatest translation in any language.

A. his translation of the Illiad, a work that, taking him seven years until completion, and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced

B. his translation of the Illiad, a work that took him seven years to complete and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced

C. his translation of the Illiad, a work that had taken seven years to complete and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced it is

D. translating the Illiad, a work that took seven years until completion and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced it as

E. translating the Illiad, a work that had taken seven years to complete and literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced it

Verbal Question of The Day: Day 174: Sentence Correction

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Originally posted by chunjuwu on 20 Feb 2005, 00:29.
Last edited by Bunuel on 14 Sep 2018, 04:41, edited 2 times in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: QOTD: In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a  [#permalink]

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08 Dec 2017, 02:37
35
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I can think of plenty of official GMAT questions that are harder, but this one seems to generate a disproportionate amount of pain. Most of you have probably heard me preach about this sort of thing before, but if you’re able to be really really strict and literal with the meaning of the sentence, this question is much, much easier.

Let’s start by lining (A) and (B) up side-by-side, because that will make it easier to see the problem with one of them.

Quote:
A. his translation of the Illiad, a work that, taking him seven years until completion, and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced
B. his translation of the Illiad, a work that took him seven years to complete and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced

Notice the nice parallelism in (B): “a work that took him seven years to complete and that literary critic Samuel Johnson… pronounced….” No problem: we have two nice, parallel phrases that describe the word “work.”

In (A), that first modifier makes less sense: “…a work that, taking him seven years until completion…” Huh? Why not just say “a work that took him seven years to complete”? There’s no good reason to stick “taking him seven years…” into a separate little modifying phrase, wedged between more commas. Plus, you could also argue that “seven years to complete” is a more elegant phrase than “seven years until completion.”

Clearly, (B) is better than (A), so let’s hang onto (B), and ditch (A).

Quote:
C. his translation of the Illiad, a work that had taken seven years to complete and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced it is

The lowest-hanging fruit here is the use of the past perfect “had taken”, which doesn’t make any sense at all.

In general, a verb in past perfect denotes an action that happens in the “distant past”, before some other past action or “time marker” in the past – in most cases, a second action that is in the simple past tense. We have one of those here: “in 1713, Alexander Pope began translating…” But if we think about the verb tenses literally, the sentence is saying that the work “had taken seven years to complete” BEFORE Pope began translating it. And that’s nonsense. (More on past perfect and other verb tenses in this webinar.)

The other problem is with the pronoun “it.” The referent is clear enough: “it” must refer to “a work.” But there’s no reason to include “it” in the middle of a phrase that modifies the word “work” to begin with: “a work that… literary critic Samuel Johnson… pronounced it as the greatest translation…”

Huh? There’s no reason for the “it” there. If you aren’t totally convinced, try completely stripping out the modifiers for a moment, and replace “it” with “the work”: “… a work that Samuel Johnson pronounced the work as the greatest translation…” Fail.

For those two reasons, we can get rid of (C).

Quote:
D. translating the Illiad, a work that took seven years until completion and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced it as

There are two serious problems with (D). The first one is the same as in (C): the use of the word “it” makes no sense at all. See the explanation for (C) above for more on that issue.

The second problem is a little bit more subtle. The beginning of the underlined portion now uses the phrase “translating the Illiad”, instead of “his translation of the Illiad.” Neither of those things are inherently wrong by themselves, but the phrase is followed by a description: “a work that took seven years…” The sentence is trying to say that Alexander Pope took seven years to write the translation, but (D) is literally suggesting that the Illiad itself is “a work” that took Pope seven years to complete. And that’s nonsense: the Illiad itself wasn’t “a work” completed by Pope; the Illiad was written by Homer, and the translation is Pope’s actual “work.”

Finally, the phrase “a work that took seven years until completion” would be much nicer if it said “a work that took seven years to complete”, but the version in (D) isn’t WRONG, exactly. But the other two issues are a pretty big deal. (D) is out.

Quote:
E. translating the Illiad, a work that had taken seven years to complete and literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced it

(E) basically just combines all of the worst errors that we saw in the other answer choices. The use of the past perfect “had taken” is wrong, for the same reasons as in (C) -- see above for a full explanation. The use of “it” is also wrong for exactly the same reasons as (C), and “translating the Illiad” is wrong for exactly the same reasons as (D).

Those three things give us more than enough reasons to eliminate (E), and (B) is the best we can do.
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Re: In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work th  [#permalink]

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20 Feb 2005, 05:58
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Between (B) and (D), I will choose (B)

(B): In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Iliad, a work that took him seven years to complete and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Popeâ€™s contemporary, pronounced the greatest translation in any language.
1. "a work": correctly modifies "his translation"
2. that(work) took him seven years to complete: correct use of Simple past
3. (after restructuring..) literary critic Samuel Johnson, Popeâ€™s contemporary, pronounced (work) the greatest translation in any language.

(A): In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Iliad, a work that, taking him seven years until completion, and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Popeâ€™s contemporary, pronounced the greatest translation in any language.

"that and that": wrong
"until completion": (of what)

(C) ....his translation of the Iliad, a work that had taken seven years to complete and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Popeâ€™s contemporary, pronounced it as....

"had": since Independent clause is in Simple past, and "intended job" in dependent clause is complete, we should use simple past for dependent clause.

(D): In 1713, Alexander Pope began translating the Iliad, a work that took seven years until completion and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Popeâ€™s contemporary, pronounced it as greatest translation in any language.

"it": seems redundant.
"until completion": not ok.

(E): same as (C)
##### General Discussion
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Re: In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work th  [#permalink]

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29 Nov 2013, 11:27
10
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Hi Abid,

Thanks for posting your query here.

The noun "work" in this case does not refer to the original Iliad, but to Pope's translation of it. So, for the modifier to be correct, it should modify "translation", not "Iliad". It is not the Iliad that took Pope seven years to complete, but his translation of the Iliad. So, the correct answer should have the noun "translation".

I hope this helps!

Regards,
Meghna
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Re: In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work th  [#permalink]

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22 Jul 2014, 10:52
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shivdeepmodi wrote:
Per the OG, option D and E are incorrect because 'The appositive phrase a work ... incorrectly refers to the Iliad
How does the appositive phrase 'a work' refer the Ilaid? Why can' t the phrase refer to 'translating the Iliad' ?

Hi shivdeepmodi,

You ask a question that I am sure confuses a lot of test takers. So let's understand why in Choice D and E, "work that..." does not refer to "translating the Iliad".

The Noun + Noun modifier which you call the appositive phrase = a work that...

Now "a work" is a Noun Entity that must refer to another Noun Entity. Now, "translating" is an action word. It denotes not a conventional noun but actually the action of translating something. This is the reason why "a work" fails to modify "translating". Now, "the Iliad" follows "translating", and this is a conventional Noun Entity. This is the reason why in Choices D and E, the Noun + Noun Modifier modifies "the Iliad" and not "translating".

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work th  [#permalink]

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13 Jun 2008, 12:22
5
1
lexis wrote:
In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work that, taking him seven years until completion, and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced the greatest translation in any language.

A. his translation of the Illiad, a work that, taking him seven years until completion, and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced
B. his translation of the Illiad, a work that took him seven years to complete and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced
C. his translation of the Illiad, a work that had taken seven years to complete and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced it is
D. translating the Illiad, a work that took seven years until completion and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced it as
E. translating the Illiad, a work that had taken seven years to complete and literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced it

A,C, E --> out because of verb tenses (taking him, had taken)

It should be between B and D
"seven years to complete" vs "seven years until completion"
First one sounds better for me.

I pick B.
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Re: In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work th  [#permalink]

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29 Jun 2008, 06:24
4
guess I am late...I narrowed it down to between B and D. Initially D seemed right because of the use of 'it' at the end referring to Illiad, but on closer investigation, the use of 'that' in the answer choices weeds out the need for 'it' at the end.

'and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced' clearly refers to the Illiad hence use of 'it' again at the end would be redundant and GMAT hates redundancies ...

so thats the way I would have narrowed down to B. Honestly I didn't even look at the usage of 'took him seven years to complete' and 'took seven years until completion' but yea the former is the better use of words.
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Re: In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work th  [#permalink]

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15 Jun 2008, 11:03
2
Can anyone explain why is "had taken" wrong in this? Isn't past perfect required here? (two events...)
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Re: In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work th  [#permalink]

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15 Jun 2008, 13:38
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Quote:
Can anyone explain why is "had taken" wrong in this? Isn't past perfect required here? (two events...)

My attempt to explain why C and ‘had taken’ is wrong.

In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work that, taking him seven years until completion, and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced the greatest translation in any language.

C. his translation of the Illiad, a work that had taken seven years to complete and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced it is (We usually use past perfect when we have some action which occurred before a certain event in the past. Here, we have ‘began translation’ – action described in simple past – and smth that happened after that, not before that; so to use past perfect would be wrong. Also, C is wrong not only because of ‘had taken’, but also because of improper use of ‘it’ here.)
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Re: In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work th  [#permalink]

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08 Jul 2014, 11:49
2
Error Analysis:

-In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work (here the correct tense began is used)
- that, taking him seven years until completion, and ("that" here correctly refers to "the work". "Taking" is not a verb since verb-ing needs to be preceded by is/are/was/were/be and thus this is a SV error)
- that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced the greatest translation in any language. ("That" here again refers to the "the work")

Choice Analysis:

A. his translation of the Illiad, a work that, taking him seven years until completion, and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced (SV error as explained above)
B. his translation of the Illiad, a work that took him seven years to complete and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced (Correct use of the verb "took" and "Pronounced". Both the verbs are connected correctly with "and")
C. his translation of the Illiad, a work that had taken seven years to complete and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced it is ("Had taken" is incorrect tense. "Pronounced it is" is incorrect verb)
D. translating the Illiad, a work that took seven years until completion and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced it as ("work" here now refers to Illiad instead of the "Translation". Also, the use of "it" is ambiguous)
E. translating the Illiad, a work that had taken seven years to complete and literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced it (same issue with "translating" as above. "Had taken" is wrong tense. Use of "it" again is ambiguous)
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Re: In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work th  [#permalink]

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23 Jul 2014, 08:08
1
shivdeepmodi wrote:

Yes. It makes sense.
Translation - noun
Translating - verb

Hi shivdeepmodi,

It is not correct to call "translating" a Verb because it has neither any tense nor any voice. Grammatically, they are Noun Entities, but they are not our regular nouns because they denote an action. And not every action word is Verb. Calling "translating" a Verb is incorrect.

Thanks.
SJ
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Re: In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work th  [#permalink]

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21 Oct 2017, 13:42
1
BinhFantasia wrote:
I still dont understand why many comments above said: "it" is redundant?

Hello BinhFantasia - Lets first understand what 'it' in this case refers to? And as you might have guessed the pronoun 'it' is referring to 'work' here.

Now lets replace the underlined portion with the option C

With Pronoun 'it'

In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work that had taken seven years to complete and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced it is the greatest translation in any language.

Replacing pronoun 'it' with a noun

In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work that had taken seven years to complete and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced work is the greatest translation in any language.

If you replace 'it' with 'work' you can see that we are unnecessarily repeating or rather referencing the word 'work' here - the word 'that' already refers to 'work' and hence the usage of 'it' is redundant here.

Hope this helps!
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Re: QOTD: In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a  [#permalink]

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08 Dec 2017, 02:58
1
In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work that, taking him seven years until completion, and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced the greatest translation in any language.

A. his translation of the Illiad, a work that, taking him seven years until completion, and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced
1. Not a complete sentence 2. taking should be parallel to pronounced

B. his translation of the Illiad, a work that took him seven years to complete and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced
Correct

C. his translation of the Illiad, a work that had taken seven years to complete and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced it is
1. past perfect is not required 2."pronounced it is" --> it is not required (breaks parallelism)

D. translating the Illiad, a work that took seven years until completion and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced it as
1. "pronounced it is" --> it is not required (breaks parallelism) 2. I am not really sure about the usage of until completion; it is making the sentence convoluted unnecessarily

E. translating the Illiad, a work that had taken seven years to complete and literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced it
1. past perfect is not required 2."pronounced it" --> it is not required (breaks parallelism)
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In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work th  [#permalink]

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29 Mar 2019, 23:23
1
Gmatprep550 wrote:
First I eliminated C, D, and E for marked reason then was confused bett A and B and highlighted part in A doesn't sound right to me and B looked better, hence selected B.
It's good that you were able to take three of the four incorrect options out. From there, it's just one more (small) step to remove option A:

... a work
that, taking him seven years until completion,
and
that literary critic Samuel Johnson pronounced...

There are two thats joined by an and, but after the first that, we have... nothing, as taking is not a verb. For example, these phrases are possible:
something that took a lot of time
something that was taking a lot of time
something that has been taking a lot of time

However, this one is not possible:
something that taking a lot of time
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Re: In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work th  [#permalink]

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24 Feb 2020, 10:38
1
Hi firsttimenoob.

Yes, past perfect can be used with parallelism markers only if both verbs take the past perfect and there is a third verb that would act as the second action. Otherwise it cannot be used.

Please feel free to reach out for any other gmat verbal related questions.

Posted from my mobile device
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Re: In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work th  [#permalink]

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26 Nov 2013, 06:34
chunjuwu wrote:
In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work that, taking him seven years until completion, and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced the greatest translation in any language.

A. his translation of the Illiad, a work that, taking him seven years until completion, and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced
B. his translation of the Illiad, a work that took him seven years to complete and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced
C. his translation of the Illiad, a work that had taken seven years to complete and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced it is
D. translating the Illiad, a work that took seven years until completion and that literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced it as
E. translating the Illiad, a work that had taken seven years to complete and literary critic Samuel Johnson, Pope’s contemporary, pronounced it

For Option D, As per OG it says a work ... incorrectly refers to illiad.
but a work that took.... is a noun phrase and it can modify previous clause or any noun in the previous clause.
So why it is wrong here?
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Re: In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work th  [#permalink]

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22 Jul 2014, 03:17
Per the OG, option D and E are incorrect because 'The appositive phrase a work ... incorrectly refers to the Iliad
How does the appositive phrase 'a work' refer the Ilaid? Why can' t the phrase refer to 'translating the Iliad' ?
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Re: In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work th  [#permalink]

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23 Jul 2014, 05:21
egmat wrote:
shivdeepmodi wrote:
Per the OG, option D and E are incorrect because 'The appositive phrase a work ... incorrectly refers to the Iliad
How does the appositive phrase 'a work' refer the Ilaid? Why can' t the phrase refer to 'translating the Iliad' ?

Hi shivdeepmodi,

You ask a question that I am sure confuses a lot of test takers. So let's understand why in Choice D and E, "work that..." does not refer to "translating the Iliad".

The Noun + Noun modifier which you call the appositive phrase = a work that...

Now "a work" is a Noun Entity that must refer to another Noun Entity. Now, "translating" is an action word. It denotes not a conventional noun but actually the action of translating something. This is the reason why "a work" fails to modify "translating". Now, "the Iliad" follows "translating", and this is a conventional Noun Entity. This is the reason why in Choices D and E, the Noun + Noun Modifier modifies "the Iliad" and not "translating".

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
SJ

Yes. It makes sense.
Translation - noun
Translating - verb
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Re: In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work th  [#permalink]

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23 Jul 2014, 23:23
egmat wrote:
shivdeepmodi wrote:

Yes. It makes sense.
Translation - noun
Translating - verb

Hi shivdeepmodi,

It is not correct to call "translating" a Verb because it has neither any tense nor any voice. Grammatically, they are Noun Entities, but they are not our regular nouns because they denote an action. And not every action word is Verb. Calling "translating" a Verb is incorrect.

Thanks.
SJ

Hi SJ,

I was thinking along the lines...

I am translating Gita from Hindi to English --> am translating --> action.
The translation of Gita from Hindi to English is a monumental task --> translation --> noun.

Regards,
Shivdeep
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Re: In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work th  [#permalink]

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24 Jul 2014, 00:24
shivdeepmodi wrote:
I was thinking along the lines...

I am translating Gita from Hindi to English --> am translating --> action.
The translation of Gita from Hindi to English is a monumental task --> translation --> noun.

Actually an apples to apples comparison will be:

Translating Gita from Hindi to English is a monumental task --> translating used as a noun
The translation of Gita from Hindi to English is a monumental task --> translation clearly a noun

In the sentence that you have stated (I am translating Gita from Hindi to English), translating is a participle (an adjective form of the verb translate), while in the example that I have stated (Translating Gita from Hindi to English is a monumental task), translating is a gerund (a noun form of the verb translate).

p.s. Our book SC Nirvana discusses gerunds Vs participles, their application and examples in significant detail. If you can PM you email, I can send you the corresponding section.
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Re: In 1713, Alexander Pope began his translation of the Illiad, a work th   [#permalink] 24 Jul 2014, 00:24

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