Contemporization is the process of pouring over a dated work and attempting to translate the work and separate it from it's original language and culture without distorting the intended meaning.
See also On text localization
Potentially, it can greatly clarify the original work, aiding in understanding. When used as a tool for clarity, later study of the original work would be made much less difficult.
This process is very different from having notes next to a work, or from a summary work. It is even different from having a mentor aid in the study of a work. It is a metamorphoses of the previous structure and ideas into a new work. This new work may be valid enough to stand on it's own, but it is most valuable if used as an aid to understand the original work.
Unfortunately, the act of contemporization, being most successful when pursued by one "transliterator" at a time, often subtly introduces additional bias and variations on the existing bias. Keeping this potential in mind, one must consider a contemporized work to be merely another viewpoint on the topic.
Some may understand the motivations to contemporize as changing a work to improve it's readability, and others will feel that it is the bastardization of a perfectly good piece. Still others will feel that contemporization may actually twist the meaning of the original text. It is, in fact, a great assumption that the contemporizer is able to find enough Meaning in the original writing to be able to re-author it with satisfaction. However, the intention is not to distort the underlying meaning of the original work, but to make the work more readable and more universally contemporary.
It is hoped to be possible to write in a voice that may be more easily re-contemporized in the future. A certain way of writing could exist which one can hope would be easier to read, understand, and speak for contemporary readers, than the method of language used by an original author. It is further hoped that attention to the contemporization and aspiration to a cleaner writing style will leave bare the ideas of the original work such that they may be more easily re-contemporized into an additional work in the future, with less effort.
Such a process is not mean to be a challenge to the literary skill of an author, but a complement to the necessity of making obvious the ideas presented in a work. The colloquial expressions or writing style which would have been considered appropriate or even necessary in the author's day could be presented in a different, and hopefully clearer, voice in a contemporized format. Again, the desire is to render the text into a more easily digested work.
Language evolves over time. The very meaning of words and their combinations will be interpreted differently by different generations. Recognizing this, one also sees that an old text, even written by a masterful hand, will be difficult to truly comprehend by a later reader. While a reader may themselves become as masterful (or more so) than the original author, somehow this seems dangerous. Translating a work in bulk at one time by one person is a much more effective means to distribute the intent of ideas and the knowledge contained in the work, rather than having it internally contemporized and re-contemporized in the minds of each new reader. Less time could thereafter be spent on arguing grammar and syntax meanings and more could then be spent on fruitfully discussing the root ideas contained in the contemporized version.
A great assumption of skill would be assumed if an author aspires to contemporize a work to have it become attractive to all future readers. Realistically, the goal must be merely to make the ideas more easily remembered and expressed for that re-author only. That others could benefit from the work should be considered to be but a side-benefit. There is still the danger that the re-author would make the original text less attractive or less readable in it's new form. Again, the intent must not be to replace the original work but to supplement it in another voice.