ἐγὼ δὲ τούτοις [317a] ἅπασιν κατὰ τοῦτο εἶναι οὐ συμφέρομαι· ἡγοῦμαι γὰρ αὐτοὺς οὔ τι διαπράξασθαι ὃ ἐβουλήθησαν—οὐ γὰρ λαθεῖν τῶν ἀνθρώπων τοὺς δυναμένους ἐν ταῖς πόλεσι πράττειν, ὧνπερ ἕνεκα ταῦτ’ ἐστὶν τὰ προσχήματα· ἐπεὶ οἵ γε πολλοὶ ὡς ἔπος εἰπεῖν οὐδὲν αἰσθάνονται, ἀλλ’ ἅττ’ ἂν οὗτοι διαγγέλλωσι, ταῦτα ὑμνοῦσιν—τὸ οὖν ἀποδιδράσκοντα μὴ δύνασθαι ἀποδρᾶναι, ἀλλὰ καταφανῆ εἶναι, πολλὴ μωρία καὶ τοῦ ἐπιχειρήματος, [317b] καὶ πολὺ δυσμενεστέρους παρέχεσθαι ἀνάγκη τοὺς ἀνθρώπους· ἡγοῦνται γὰρ τὸν τοιοῦτον πρὸς τοῖς ἄλλοις καὶ πανοῦργον εἶναι. ἐγὼ οὖν τούτων τὴν ἐναντίαν ἅπασαν ὁδὸν ἐλήλυθα, καὶ ὁμολογῶ τε σοφιστὴς εἶναι καὶ παιδεύειν ἀνθρώπους, καὶ εὐλάβειαν ταύτην οἶμαι βελτίω ἐκείνης εἶναι, τὸ ὁμολογεῖν μᾶλλον ἢ ἔξαρνον εἶναι· καὶ ἄλλας πρὸς ταύτῃ ἔσκεμμαι, ὥστε, σὺν θεῷ εἰπεῖν, μηδὲν δεινὸν πάσχειν διὰ [317c] τὸ ὁμολογεῖν σοφιστὴς εἶναι. καίτοι πολλά γε ἔτη ἤδη εἰμὶ ἐν τῇ τέχνῃ· καὶ γὰρ καὶ τὰ σύμπαντα πολλά μοί ἐστιν— οὐδενὸς ὅτου οὐ πάντων ἂν ὑμῶν καθ’ ἡλικίαν πατὴρ εἴην —ὥστε πολύ μοι ἥδιστόν ἐστιν, εἴ τι βούλεσθε, περὶ τούτων ἁπάντων ἐναντίον τῶν ἔνδον ὄντων τὸν λόγον ποιεῖσθαι.
καὶ ἐγώ—ὑπώπτευσα γὰρ βούλεσθαι αὐτὸν τῷ τε προδίκῳ καὶ τῷ Ἱππίᾳ ἐνδείξασθαι καὶ καλλωπίσασθαι ὅτι ἐρασταὶ [317d] αὐτοῦ ἀφιγμένοι εἶμεν— τί οὖν, ἔφην ἐγώ, οὐ καὶ πρόδικον καὶ Ἱππίαν ἐκαλέσαμεν καὶ τοὺς μετ’ αὐτῶν, ἵνα ἐπακούσωσιν ἡμῶν;
πάνυ μὲν οὖν, ἔφη ὁ Πρωταγόρας.
βούλεσθε οὖν, ὁ Καλλίας ἔφη, συνέδριον κατασκευάσωμεν, ἵνα καθεζόμενοι διαλέγησθε;
ἐδόκει χρῆναι· ἅσμενοι δὲ πάντες ἡμεῖς, ὡς ἀκουσόμενοι ἀνδρῶν σοφῶν, καὶ αὐτοί τε ἀντιλαβόμενοι τῶν βάθρων καὶ τῶν κλινῶν κατεσκευάζομεν παρὰ τῷ Ἱππίᾳ—ἐκεῖ γὰρ προϋπῆρχε τὰ βάθρα—ἐν δὲ τούτῳ Καλλίας τε καὶ Ἀλκιβιάδης [317e] ἡκέτην ἄγοντε τὸν πρόδικον, ἀναστήσαντες ἐκ τῆς κλίνης, καὶ τοὺς μετὰ τοῦ Προδίκου.
ἐπεὶ δὲ πάντες συνεκαθεζόμεθα, ὁ Πρωταγόρας, νῦν δὴ ἄν, ἔφη, λέγοις, ὦ Σώκρατες, ἐπειδὴ καὶ οἵδε πάρεισιν, περὶ ὧν ὀλίγον πρότερον μνείαν ἐποιοῦ πρὸς ἐμὲ ὑπὲρ τοῦ νεανίσκου.
from Burnet's (1903) Oxford Classical Text, courtesy of the Perseus Project
An original translation
“But I don’t put any stock in the method used by all these men, because I don’t think they achieved what they wanted. It never escaped the powerful people in the cities what these disguises were in service of. Of course, the common people barely notice anything and just recite the handful of things the powerful tell them. Now, running away, but not managing it and getting caught red-handed is really stupid and makes people even more hostile, so it’s not even worth trying. They just end up thinking that a guy like that is a crook on top of everything else. So, I’ve gone the totally opposite way: I admit that I’m a sophist and educate people, and I ﬁnd that making the admission is better protection than denial. I’ve taken other precautions besides this, too, so that, god willing, nothing awful happens to me because I admit to being a sophist. What’s more, I’ve spent quite a few years in the business, and, as you can see, I’m pretty old: there’s not a single man here too old for me to be his father. That’s why I’d prefer to make my speech about these things, with your permission, in front of everyone in the house.”
I suspected he wanted to put on a show in front of Prodicus and Hippias and bask in the fact that we had come as big fans of his. I said, “OK, why don’t we call over Prodicus and Hippias and the others they’re with to come and listen to us?”
“By all means,” said Protagoras.
“If it suits you,” Callias added, “shall we draw up the chairs council-style, so you can have the discussion sitting down?”
We thought that was a good idea. Since we were so glad that we were going to get to listen to wise men, we helped with the chairs and couches ourselves. We set up by Hippias since the chairs were around him. Meanwhile, Callias and Alcibiades came together leading Prodicus – they’d managed to get him out of bed – and his entourage.
When we were all sitting down together, Protagoras resumed, “Now, since everyone’s here, could you repeat what you told me a moment ago on the young man’s behalf.”
Jowett's translation (1871)
But that is not my way, for I do not believe that they effected their purpose, which was to deceive the government, who were not blinded by them; and as to the people, they have no understanding, and only repeat what their rulers are pleased to tell them. Now to run away, and to be caught in running away, is the very height of folly, and also greatly increases the exasperation of mankind; for they regard him who runs away as a rogue, in addition to any other objections which they have to him; and therefore I take an entirely opposite course, and acknowledge myself to be a Sophist and instructor of mankind; such an open acknowledgement appears to me to be a better sort of caution than concealment. Nor do I neglect other precautions, and therefore I hope, as I may say, by the favour of heaven that no harm will come of the acknowledgment that I am a Sophist. And I have been now many years in the profession-for all my years when added up are many: there is no one here present of whom I might not be the father. Wherefore I should much prefer conversing with you, if you want to speak with me, in the presence of the company.
As I suspected that he would like to have a little display and glorification in the presence of Prodicus and Hippias, and would gladly show us to them in the light of his admirers, I said: But why should we not summon Prodicus and Hippias and their friends to hear us?
Very good, he said.
Suppose, said Callias, that we hold a council in which you may sit and discuss.-This was agreed upon, and great delight was felt at the prospect of hearing wise men talk; we ourselves took the chairs and benches, and arranged them by Hippias, where the other benches had been already placed. Meanwhile Callias and Alcibiades got Prodicus out of bed and brought in him and his companions.
When we were all seated, Protagoras said: Now that the company are assembled, Socrates, tell me about the youngman of whom you were just now speaking.
Compare Lamb's (1924) translation at the Perseus Project