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Translation Philosophy

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Scrawly View Post
    How do you feel about NRSV's rendering of Isaiah 7:14: "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel."
    Not one I care for. It's not inaccurate, but AFAIK the connotation is that the term is typically synonymous with 'virgin.'
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

    Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
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    I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

    Comment


    • #17
      A "young woman" having a child wouldn't be much of a sign.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by phat8594 View Post
        One of my favorite lines by Douglas Moo is: "Translation is not as many people think: a matter of word substitution"
        I might respond to this by stating that I agree there will always be a degree of "interpretation" in our Bibles because the interpreter has to decide to some degree what each term means. However, the fact remains that paraphrases have more "interpretation" than other translations. This of course makes paraphrases easier reading because it seems everything is explained. But for that reason, they also will be less reliable, because you only know what the person (as scholarly as he may be) doing the paraphrase thought a particular verse or phrase meant, right?

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
          A "young woman" having a child wouldn't be much of a sign.
          Isaiah uses the term “sign” a number of times. In most cases (with the exception of 38:7) they are ordinary events that symbolize something that God is going to do. E.g. 37:30.

          Comment


          • #20
            In that verse, I think it's saying that the sign is that God is going to turn back the Assyrians -- which was indeed quite miraculous.

            Comment


            • #21
              It is a matter whether or not the translators respect the word of God. While God and His word is inerrant. We the readers of it, the transmitted copies and the translations are not what is inerrant.
              . . . the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; . . . -- Romans 1:16 KJV

              . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: . . . -- 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 KJV

              Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: . . . -- 1 John 5:1 KJV

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by Scrawly View Post
                I might respond to this by stating that I agree there will always be a degree of "interpretation" in our Bibles because the interpreter has to decide to some degree what each term means. However, the fact remains that paraphrases have more "interpretation" than other translations. This of course makes paraphrases easier reading because it seems everything is explained. But for that reason, they also will be less reliable, because you only know what the person (as scholarly as he may be) doing the paraphrase thought a particular verse or phrase meant, right?
                The idea that ALL translations involve interpretation is absolutely correct. That being said, the idea of some translations being a 'paraphrase' while others are not, is really is misnomer, IMHO. That is why I prefer to refer to the different translation theories as formal equivalence and functional equivalence.

                That being said, the idea that paraphrases have 'more interpretation' (and thus less reliable) is really a misunderstanding (or half story) when one understands the nature of languages and the nature of translation.

                Real problems arise when we begin to get into the nitty gritty of translation so to speak: different languages have different grammar, words with different semantic ranges, different idioms, etc. This is why Moo points out that "Translation is not as many people think: a matter of word substitution."

                So, to get back to the subject at hand, we want a reliable translation, correct? So, to answer that question, we must first ask "What is a reliable translation?".

                Is it one that keeps that always keeps the same word order, always uses the same English (or whatever receptor language word), and tries as little as possible to remove any sort of 'interpretation'? Or is it one that most accurately communicates what was said in the native language into the receptor language?

                I think we would all affirm (or at least should affirm) that the latter constitutes what we should consider 'reliable'. After all, if the person in the receptor language doesn't understand what is being said in the native language, then the point of translation is completely lost.

                So that being said, we now come to creating a reliable translation (which is easier said than done). And now the question arises if holding to a strictly formal equivalent translation theory produces more 'reliable' translations...and to which, I would say that no, it doesn't.

                The reason I say this, is because the idea of holding to a formal 'word for word' approach places an arbitrary limitation on the translator -- that, while meant to reduce 'interpretation' -- actually limits the ability of the translator to effectively communicate what was said in the native language into the receptor language. And when you limit the ability of the translator to do this, you can actually miscommunicate the original message -- usually through stilted language, odd word order, different vocabulary, etc.

                And so, while the goal of translating word-for-word is a noble one -- the reality is that holding to a strict 'word for word' may actually miscommunicate what was originally intended. And although it may 'limit interpretation' -- that is exactly what makes it 'less reliable' (if held strictly). It unduly forces grammatical constructs, idioms, word order, phrases etc. of the native language onto the receptor language -- and when that happens, you open up a huge door for misinterpretation, misunderstanding, etc. (This is why no modern popular translation holds to this strictly)


                I think the short video is a good explanation (and probably much clearer than what I have said):

                Last edited by phat8594; 02-09-2015, 12:25 PM.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by phat8594 View Post
                  ..the idea of holding to a formal 'word for word' approach places an arbitrary limitation on the translator -- that, while meant to reduce 'interpretation' -- actually limits the ability of the translator to effectively communicate what was said in the native language into the receptor language.
                  Aren't you presenting somewhat of a caricature here? I don't think any translation utilizes such a strict word-for-word substitution without taking other factors into consideration. The translators strive to reduce interpretation but not at the expense of everything else - communicating the message is still in view and that can go hand-in-hand with a more-or-less word-for-word substitution translation philosophy.

                  And so, while the goal of translating word-for-word is a noble one -- the reality is that holding to a strict 'word for word' may actually miscommunicate what was originally intended.
                  Can you quote a Bible translation that adopts the formal equivalence method - such as the NAS - and give an example where it fails to communicate what was originally intended?
                  Last edited by Scrawly; 02-10-2015, 11:51 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Scrawly View Post
                    Aren't you presenting somewhat of a caricature here? I don't think any translation utilizes such a strict word-for-word substitution without taking other factors into consideration. The translators strive to reduce interpretation but not at the expense of everything else - communicating the message is still in view and that can go hand-in-hand with a more-or-less word-for-word substitution translation philosophy.
                    No -- not a caricature at all. I definitely mentioned that no popular modern translation that I am aware of utilizes such a strict word-for-word substitution -- because doing so would create much confusion. My point was to show that putting the rule of 'word-for-word' doesn't necessarily produce more reliable translations in the sense that it is understood by the receptor language. In fact, placing the word-for-word requirement can actually hinder a good translation.

                    Also, since the translations do not follow a strict word-for-word, how is it determined what should be 'word for word' vs. 'meaning for meaning'? Is it not through interpretation?

                    That being said, as Moo points out - the audience matters when you translate. So while one translation may work fine for well educated scholars - it may be tough sledding for your average reader who reads at a much lower level.


                    Originally posted by Scrawly View Post
                    Can you quote a Bible translation that adopts the formal equivalence method - such as the NAS - and give an example where it fails to communicate what was originally intended?
                    Sure -- and mind you -- I do like translations like the NASB, ESV, NKJV, etc. I also affirm that you should use ones that are both formal equivalence and functional equivalence.

                    And that being said -- the trouble comes usually not from educated readers, but average readers. So while an educated reader might understand - your average reader may totally miss the point, or misinterpret.

                    But onto just a couple examples that show some interesting translations:

                    Amos 4:6
                    But I gave you also cleanness of teeth in all your cities
                    And lack of bread in all your places,
                    Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the Lord

                    Psalm 94:9
                    He who planted the ear, does He not hear?
                    He who formed the eye, does He not see?

                    Acts 21:39
                    But Paul said, “I am a Jew of Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant city; and I beg you, allow me to speak to the people

                    Acts 8:23
                    For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.

                    2 Corinthians 6:12
                    You are not restrained by us, but you are restrained in your own affections

                    Galations 5:14
                    For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

                    Philippians 3:1-2
                    In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.
                    (lit. your pure conduct in fear)

                    1 Timothy 6:5
                    and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.

                    Luke 7:47
                    For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much

                    Romans 11:6
                    But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.

                    Mark 12:20
                    There were seven brothers; and the first took a wife, and died leaving no children.

                    Last edited by phat8594; 02-11-2015, 01:24 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by phat8594 View Post
                      In fact, placing the word-for-word requirement can actually hinder a good translation.
                      If the evidence of this is what you quoted below, then I think that is quite an exaggeration.

                      Also, since the translations do not follow a strict word-for-word, how is it determined what should be 'word for word' vs. 'meaning for meaning'? Is it not through interpretation?
                      Yes, but the 'word-for-word' translations strive to minimize interpretation by producing the 'raw materials' and leave more than necessary interpretation up to the reader.

                      That being said, as Moo points out - the audience matters when you translate. So while one translation may work fine for well educated scholars - it may be tough sledding for your average reader who reads at a much lower level.
                      I agree, yet there is something to be said for when a bible translation reads like a novel - such a translation doesn't seem to motivate serious study, but rather a more casual, surface reading of the text.

                      And that being said -- the trouble comes usually not from educated readers, but average readers. So while an educated reader might understand - your average reader may totally miss the point, or misinterpret.
                      Right, the functional equivalence does have it's place amongst certain readers, I agree.

                      But onto just a couple examples that show some interesting translations:

                      Amos 4:6
                      But I gave you also cleanness of teeth in all your cities
                      And lack of bread in all your places,
                      Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the Lord

                      Psalm 94:9
                      He who planted the ear, does He not hear?
                      He who formed the eye, does He not see?

                      Acts 21:39
                      But Paul said, “I am a Jew of Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant city; and I beg you, allow me to speak to the people

                      Acts 8:23
                      For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.

                      2 Corinthians 6:12
                      You are not restrained by us, but you are restrained in your own affections

                      Galations 5:14
                      For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

                      Philippians 3:1-2
                      In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.
                      (lit. your pure conduct in fear)

                      1 Timothy 6:5
                      and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.

                      Luke 7:47
                      For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much

                      Romans 11:6
                      But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.

                      Mark 12:20
                      There were seven brothers; and the first took a wife, and died leaving no children.

                      Thank-you, and I think that highlights your point that more educated, thoughtful readers ought not have a problem interpreting those verses correctly.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Scrawly View Post
                        If the evidence of this is what you quoted below, then I think that is quite an exaggeration.
                        I don't really see it as an exaggeration at all. In fact, the reasons the 'word-for-word' translations even read ok, is because they don't even follow the 'word-for-word' approach fully. They interpret how much to follow the form and how much to not follow it. Some books (such as Hebrews) are harder than others to actually try to follow the form...it's not a simple pick and choose... or not interpret or interpret. It is impossible to translate without interpretation.

                        And look, I am not completely knocking the formal equivalent approach - I actually like it. Just pointing out that the idea that it somehow 'reduces' interpretation is based on a naive understanding of language and translation in general, IMHO. Rather, it just shifts the 'interpretation' - after all, there are multiple levels of interpretation that go on in translation and comprehension.


                        Originally posted by Scrawly View Post
                        Yes, but the 'word-for-word' translations strive to minimize interpretation by producing the 'raw materials' and leave more than necessary interpretation up to the reader.
                        And although they strive to do this, they don't necessarily 'minimize' the interpretation - they have just shifted it. As soon as you translate a word, you have interpreted. You must interpret not only what each word means in the particular context, but how to effectively translate that word within the full sentence so that it most accurately conveys the message of that word within that sentence.


                        Originally posted by Scrawly View Post
                        I agree, yet there is something to be said for when a bible translation reads like a novel - such a translation doesn't seem to motivate serious study, but rather a more casual, surface reading of the text.
                        It's not about 'reading like a novel', it's about accurately conveying the meaning of the original text. Easier to read doesn't necessitate a novel -- in fact, different genre's within scripture should read differently.

                        I would disagree the notion that the functional equivalent translations don't motivate serious study, while formal equivalent translations somehow do. In fact, this same sort of idea was used regarding some of the original translations out of Latin. One argument was translating it into the native language somehow discouraged serious study.

                        Of course, the opposite happened. Although for some, having a difficult to understand translation (that requires additional study to understand what it is trying to say) may motivate further study -- for most people it just discourages the reading and studying of the Bible in the first place.

                        The reality is that if you are a serious student of the Bible, you should use both a functional and formal equivalent translation as both have strengths and weaknesses - because translating from one language to another is not as simple as going 'word-for-word'.


                        Originally posted by Scrawly View Post
                        Right, the functional equivalence does have it's place amongst certain readers, I agree.
                        I'd argue that it has its place amongst all readers. As noted above, you should use both a formal and functional equivalent version for study. If functional equivalent translations are created by, used by, and heralded by the absolute best in translation scholarship - we should be wary to just toss them aside.

                        I have found that most people who disregard functional equivalent translations are those that know just enough to be dangerous, but don't know a lot regarding translation. (again, look at those that translate the Bible everyday vs. those that know how to look up a greek word in a lexicon)



                        Originally posted by Scrawly View Post
                        Thank-you, and I think that highlights your point that more educated, thoughtful readers ought not have a problem interpreting those verses correctly.
                        Agreed that many people who are 'more educated' can figure it out - but then again, is that the point of a translation? To require additional reading or education outside of the text to understand it?

                        After all, many people make the same argument regarding translating in general. IOW you don't need to translate because scholars not have a problem with understanding the text.

                        However, even so with educated people -- I have seen many people misunderstand Romans 11:6 -- I know I did at one time...



                        Here's a couple more videos about translations from Dr. Mark Strauss:





                        Last edited by phat8594; 02-12-2015, 12:58 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by phat8594 View Post
                          I don't really see it as an exaggeration at all. In fact, the reasons the 'word-for-word' translations even read ok, is because they don't even follow the 'word-for-word' approach fully. They interpret how much to follow the form and how much to not follow it. Some books (such as Hebrews) are harder than others to actually try to follow the form...it's not a simple pick and choose... or not interpret or interpret. It is impossible to translate without interpretation.
                          Yes, we have agreed that all versions involve interpretation.

                          And look, I am not completely knocking the formal equivalent approach - I actually like it.
                          I likewise appreciate the dynamic approach and I think the translators have reached their goals by utilizing that translation philosophy.

                          Just pointing out that the idea that it somehow 'reduces' interpretation is based on a naive understanding of language and translation in general, IMHO.

                          Rather, it just shifts the 'interpretation' - after all, there are multiple levels of interpretation that go on in translation and comprehension. And although they strive to do this, they don't necessarily 'minimize' the interpretation - they have just shifted it. As soon as you translate a word, you have interpreted. You must interpret not only what each word means in the particular context, but how to effectively translate that word within the full sentence so that it most accurately conveys the message of that word within that sentence.
                          Let me quote Bill Mounce here:

                          "But are there dangers of not translating every word? Absolutely. Matt 5:2 can function as an example of the importance of each word. At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, the text says Jesus “opened his mouth and taught them, saying ….” (ESV). Mark Strauss in his paper at ETS last year says that the ESV “missed the Greek idiom, which does not indicate two actions, but one.”

                          But the ESV does not “miss” the idiom; we knew that the text is describing one event. In fact, many functional translations “miss” the fact that there is meaning in “opened his mouth.“ The phrase indicates the solemnity of what Jesus is going to say. D.A. Carson comments that the expression is “found elsewhere in the NT (13:35; Acts 8:34; 10:34; 18:14) and reflecting OT roots (Job 3:1; 33:2; Dan 10:16). It is used in solemn or revelatory contexts” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 8:129). The phrase “opened his mouth” was kept in the ESV because it is part of the meaning of the passage: Jesus is about to give what has become the greatest sermon ever given.

                          The expression is somewhat like the English, “He took a deep breath and said.” These two verbs expressing one basic thought, with an emphasis on the solemnity of the occasion.

                          Now, certainly the ESV and all other translations “miss” things; no one is perfect, but One. But this is one of the dangers of the functional approach to Bible translation; there may be more in the words than we at first recognize. If the functional translator doesn't see the nuance, it is possible that they will skip over the word. On the formal side, there is safety in holding fast to the Greek and Hebrew words since sometimes there is more in a word (or phrase) than a translator recognizes

                          source: https://www.teknia.com/blog/words-an...BA%CE%B1%CE%AF

                          It's not about 'reading like a novel', it's about accurately conveying the meaning of the original text.
                          Judgments about how well or poorly a translation has accomplished its goals will differ. We must keep in mind what the goals were when translating and how well therefore the translators executed their goals.

                          Easier to read doesn't necessitate a novel -- in fact, different genre's within scripture should read differently.
                          Sure.

                          I would disagree the notion that the functional equivalent translations don't motivate serious study, while formal equivalent translations somehow do. In fact, this same sort of idea was used regarding some of the original translations out of Latin. One argument was translating it into the native language somehow discouraged serious study.
                          Well it seems that those who are engaged in a more careful analysis of the biblical text seem to gravitate toward more "literal" translations when studying. Highly dynamic versions are rarely used in such a context - yet that is not to say they don't have a place and/or goal to reach to serve their target audience. Yet I do agree that it is wisest to consult a wide variety of translations when studying.

                          Although for some, having a difficult to understand translation (that requires additional study to understand what it is trying to say) may motivate further study -- for most people it just discourages the reading and studying of the Bible in the first place.
                          I think we should be careful when trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator. If a person has no interest in studying the Bible, I would imagine it's generally not due to issues of language.

                          The reality is that if you are a serious student of the Bible, you should use both a functional and formal equivalent translation as both have strengths and weaknesses - because translating from one language to another is not as simple as going 'word-for-word'.
                          I agree.

                          I have found that most people who disregard functional equivalent translations are those that know just enough to be dangerous, but don't know a lot regarding translation. (again, look at those that translate the Bible everyday vs. those that know how to look up a greek word in a lexicon)
                          I certainly don't think we should disregard the functional equivalent translations, but at the same time, we ought not regard those who prefer to use exclusively formal equivalent translations as naive individuals that no next to nothing about bible translations, because that simply isn't true in many cases.

                          Agreed that many people who are 'more educated' can figure it out - but then again, is that the point of a translation? To require additional reading or education outside of the text to understand it?
                          Again, we have to understand and respect the goals of a translation. If a critic thinks the goals are flawed, he or she will rate the translation accordingly.

                          After all, many people make the same argument regarding translating in general. IOW you don't need to translate because scholars not have a problem with understanding the text.
                          Never heard that one in regards to this debate.

                          However, even so with educated people -- I have seen many people misunderstand Romans 11:6 -- I know I did at one time...
                          Interesting, can you expand on that?

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Scrawly View Post

                            Let me quote Bill Mounce here:

                            "But are there dangers of not translating every word? Absolutely. Matt 5:2 can function as an example of the importance of each word. At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, the text says Jesus “opened his mouth and taught them, saying ….” (ESV). Mark Strauss in his paper at ETS last year says that the ESV “missed the Greek idiom, which does not indicate two actions, but one.”

                            But the ESV does not “miss” the idiom; we knew that the text is describing one event. In fact, many functional translations “miss” the fact that there is meaning in “opened his mouth.“ The phrase indicates the solemnity of what Jesus is going to say. D.A. Carson comments that the expression is “found elsewhere in the NT (13:35; Acts 8:34; 10:34; 18:14) and reflecting OT roots (Job 3:1; 33:2; Dan 10:16). It is used in solemn or revelatory contexts” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 8:129). The phrase “opened his mouth” was kept in the ESV because it is part of the meaning of the passage: Jesus is about to give what has become the greatest sermon ever given.
                            Yes, I think we can both agree that functional and formal equivalent translations have their strengths and weaknesses.

                            To discuss that passage, however, Strauss' point is that the idiom indicates 1 action such as 'he began to teach them' rather than two separate (opening the mouth and teaching). In one sense, it's good to keep the original phrasing so long as it's kept consistent throughout the scriptures (where it is intended to be the same) so that one can compare the uses. And in another sense it does technically indicate two actions -- although it may seem 'nitpicky', this is what translators spend hours discussing; I think much of what they discuss for hours would seem 'nitpicky' but I know that I am glad that they do discuss to this sort of detail the best way to translate the sense of the phrase, the words, the sentences, etc. So Strauss' point was that the Greek idiom would clearly indicate 1 action, while the phrasing in English could indicate two. So, there you have it - strengths and weaknesses to both.

                            The point is that in every translation you miss something. It's impossible to translate the meaning and sense of what someone is saying 'perfectly'. That's why different translations are good, so that you can get a more full sense of the text. As we know, you miss something in functional, and you miss stuff with formal.

                            Originally posted by Scrawly View Post
                            Now, certainly the ESV and all other translations “miss” things; no one is perfect, but One. But this is one of the dangers of the functional approach to Bible translation; there may be more in the words than we at first recognize. If the functional translator doesn't see the nuance, it is possible that they will skip over the word. On the formal side, there is safety in holding fast to the Greek and Hebrew words since sometimes there is more in a word (or phrase) than a translator recognizes
                            This actually cuts both way - not just towards the functional -- and in fact, many 'formal' translations must translate quite 'functionally' just to make sense. Sometimes there is more in a word or in a phrase that 'at first recognized'. And that's why translation is so tough. Sometimes a single word can only translated best by multiple words and vise-versa. And often times there really is no way to translate - so you settle for best. This is because language is iidiomatic in nature - and different languages have different grammar, constructs, strengths and weaknesses.

                            For example, in Mandarin Chinese there is no past, present, or future tenses (all verbs are the same), and there is no gender (he, she, and it are all the same word - you must rely on context). So can you imagine the issues this would bring up for translators?


                            Originally posted by Scrawly View Post
                            Well it seems that those who are engaged in a more careful analysis of the biblical text seem to gravitate toward more "literal" translations when studying. Highly dynamic versions are rarely used in such a context - yet that is not to say they don't have a place and/or goal to reach to serve their target audience. Yet I do agree that it is wisest to consult a wide variety of translations when studying.
                            I have actually seen quite differently. I have seen them use both, and if possible go to the original text. But perhaps this is just because we have different circles?

                            Now to be clear, there are those who are well known who put down any sort of functional translation, but like I said, I have typically found those people to be somewhat naive to the true difficulties of translating, and the limitations / weaknesses of the different approaches.

                            Originally posted by Scrawly View Post
                            I think we should be careful when trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator. If a person has no interest in studying the Bible, I would imagine it's generally not due to issues of language.
                            I was more referring to people who are a little less educated than perhaps yourself who have an interest in studying the Bible -- these people are the ones who have tried many times, only to be discouraged at having a difficult time understanding it.

                            IMO, being difficult to read or requiring additional study to understand the original meaning of the sentence should not be considered merits of a 'good translation.'

                            But yes, there are also many people who just don't want to study -- but that's not who I meant to refer to. Thanks for the clarification.


                            Originally posted by Scrawly View Post
                            I certainly don't think we should disregard the functional equivalent translations, but at the same time, we ought not regard those who prefer to use exclusively formal equivalent translations as naive individuals that no next to nothing about bible translations, because that simply isn't true in many cases.
                            Again, I appreciate you making me clarify.

                            I wasn't referring to people just 'prefer' the formal translations, but rather those speak of functional translations as being unreliable, bad translations, etc. (there are many well respected scholars who will prefer one or the other, or both)

                            Again, the people I have talked to about such stuff (and heard speak about it in public) are more often not very well versed in translation or its difficulties. Most just 'dabble' in Greek -- meaning they know how to look up a Greek word and read a Greek word, but don't know how to read Greek sentences competently (they aren't even close to fluent).

                            Originally posted by Scrawly View Post
                            Again, we have to understand and respect the goals of a translation. If a critic thinks the goals are flawed, he or she will rate the translation accordingly.
                            Well the primary goal of the major translations today is to reliably and accurately convey the meaning of the Word of God. And as we have discussed, even the 'formal' translations are quite 'functional' even though they state a formal approach.

                            For example, (just pulling a random text), if we look at a straight 'formal' -- 'word for word', sticking to the original form, we would read Hebrews 9:2 as

                            "Tabernacle is for constructed the before in which the besides lampstand and the table and the before placing of the breads which any is being said holy."

                            So the syllogism showing this translation is best might read:

                            1. Formal translations are better because they stick to the original form of the text, translate word for word, and reduce 'interpretation' in translating into the receptor language.
                            2. The more formal a translation the better because of (1)
                            3. Therefore the more formal translation

                            'Tabernacle is for constructed the before in which the besides lampstand and the table and the before placing of the breads which any is being said holy.'

                            is better than

                            'For a tent was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence.[b] It is called the Holy Place.'


                            ...because it more faithfully conforms to the original text and removes as much interpretation as possible.

                            Originally posted by Scrawly View Post
                            Never heard that one in regards to this debate.
                            It's not from 'this debate' but from the whether or not the Bible should be translated debate. The argument being that a translation will have errors, and thus pollutes the Word of God. And since there are those who understand it in the original translation, there is no need to translate it.

                            This sort of reasoning goes back to times of Latin translations and Martin Luther.

                            Originally posted by Scrawly View Post
                            Interesting, can you expand on that?
                            Yes, Romans 11:6 as translated in the ESV:


                            Romans 11:6
                            But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

                            This translation may easily be understood to mean that at one time it was on the basis of works. It clearly conveys that message. However, in this case the Greek word 'ouketi' is not being used temporally as translated here, but rather logically. This is where the NIV would convey the meaning better:

                            Romans 11:6
                            And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.
                            Last edited by phat8594; 02-13-2015, 10:47 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Saw this on facebook.


                              ----

                              If All The Bible Translations Had A Dinner Party

                              English Standard Version (ESV): Hey everybody, can I have your attention? Great, thanks. Look, I’m so glad that you’re all here for this reunion of sorts. It sure is great to have all of us translations together in one…

                              New International Version (NIV): Since when did you become the big cheese who gets to tell us what to do? Look, I know you’re the new kid on the block, and that a bunch of pastors are all like, “Rah, rah, ESV, our study Bible can beat up your study Bible.” But just because you’re new and polished doesn’t mean you’re better. Some of us have been around for a long time and have seen a lot of things.

                              King James Version (KJV): Hear, hear! Thou young Bibles have no sense of tradition or languages. Thou goest hither and yon, getting makeovers every three years. NIV, in the last ten years thou hast gotten plastic surgery and thou hast begun dressing like a metrosexual. Thou hast lost thy manhood! I haven’t changed one jot or tittle in over 400 years! [Takes small sip of merlot from a goblet marked “Ebenezer”].

                              NIV: I am not dressing like a metrosexual! These are skinny jeans. They’re supposed to look…skinny. And in terms of my manhood, let me make something…
                              http://theblazingcenter.com/2015/02/...ner-party.html

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by phat8594 View Post
                                Yes, I think we can both agree that functional and formal equivalent translations have their strengths and weaknesses.

                                To discuss that passage, however, Strauss' point is that the idiom indicates 1 action such as 'he began to teach them' rather than two separate (opening the mouth and teaching). In one sense, it's good to keep the original phrasing so long as it's kept consistent throughout the scriptures (where it is intended to be the same) so that one can compare the uses. And in another sense it does technically indicate two actions -- although it may seem 'nitpicky', this is what translators spend hours discussing; I think much of what they discuss for hours would seem 'nitpicky' but I know that I am glad that they do discuss to this sort of detail the best way to translate the sense of the phrase, the words, the sentences, etc. So Strauss' point was that the Greek idiom would clearly indicate 1 action, while the phrasing in English could indicate two. So, there you have it - strengths and weaknesses to both.

                                The point is that in every translation you miss something. It's impossible to translate the meaning and sense of what someone is saying 'perfectly'. That's why different translations are good, so that you can get a more full sense of the text. As we know, you miss something in functional, and you miss stuff with formal.



                                This actually cuts both way - not just towards the functional -- and in fact, many 'formal' translations must translate quite 'functionally' just to make sense. Sometimes there is more in a word or in a phrase that 'at first recognized'. And that's why translation is so tough. Sometimes a single word can only translated best by multiple words and vise-versa. And often times there really is no way to translate - so you settle for best. This is because language is iidiomatic in nature - and different languages have different grammar, constructs, strengths and weaknesses.

                                For example, in Mandarin Chinese there is no past, present, or future tenses (all verbs are the same), and there is no gender (he, she, and it are all the same word - you must rely on context). So can you imagine the issues this would bring up for translators?



                                I have actually seen quite differently. I have seen them use both, and if possible go to the original text. But perhaps this is just because we have different circles?

                                Now to be clear, there are those who are well known who put down any sort of functional translation, but like I said, I have typically found those people to be somewhat naive to the true difficulties of translating, and the limitations / weaknesses of the different approaches.


                                I was more referring to people who are a little less educated than perhaps yourself who have an interest in studying the Bible -- these people are the ones who have tried many times, only to be discouraged at having a difficult time understanding it.

                                IMO, being difficult to read or requiring additional study to understand the original meaning of the sentence should not be considered merits of a 'good translation.'

                                But yes, there are also many people who just don't want to study -- but that's not who I meant to refer to. Thanks for the clarification.



                                Again, I appreciate you making me clarify.

                                I wasn't referring to people just 'prefer' the formal translations, but rather those speak of functional translations as being unreliable, bad translations, etc. (there are many well respected scholars who will prefer one or the other, or both)

                                Again, the people I have talked to about such stuff (and heard speak about it in public) are more often not very well versed in translation or its difficulties. Most just 'dabble' in Greek -- meaning they know how to look up a Greek word and read a Greek word, but don't know how to read Greek sentences competently (they aren't even close to fluent).


                                Well the primary goal of the major translations today is to reliably and accurately convey the meaning of the Word of God. And as we have discussed, even the 'formal' translations are quite 'functional' even though they state a formal approach.

                                For example, (just pulling a random text), if we look at a straight 'formal' -- 'word for word', sticking to the original form, we would read Hebrews 9:2 as

                                "Tabernacle is for constructed the before in which the besides lampstand and the table and the before placing of the breads which any is being said holy."

                                So the syllogism showing this translation is best might read:

                                1. Formal translations are better because they stick to the original form of the text, translate word for word, and reduce 'interpretation' in translating into the receptor language.
                                2. The more formal a translation the better because of (1)
                                3. Therefore the more formal translation

                                'Tabernacle is for constructed the before in which the besides lampstand and the table and the before placing of the breads which any is being said holy.'

                                is better than

                                'For a tent was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence.[b] It is called the Holy Place.'


                                ...because it more faithfully conforms to the original text and removes as much interpretation as possible.



                                It's not from 'this debate' but from the whether or not the Bible should be translated debate. The argument being that a translation will have errors, and thus pollutes the Word of God. And since there are those who understand it in the original translation, there is no need to translate it.

                                This sort of reasoning goes back to times of Latin translations and Martin Luther.



                                Yes, Romans 11:6 as translated in the ESV:


                                Romans 11:6
                                But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

                                This translation may easily be understood to mean that at one time it was on the basis of works. It clearly conveys that message. However, in this case the Greek word 'ouketi' is not being used temporally as translated here, but rather logically. This is where the NIV would convey the meaning better:

                                Romans 11:6
                                And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.
                                Thanks for the discussion mate, we're definitely in agreement on the substance of this issue.

                                Comment

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