A Skopos Version of John 17

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by John of Japan, Mar 5, 2015.

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  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    With this thread I am going to translate John 17 for you using a Skopos Theory perspective. You may read a brief introduction to this theory of translation here: http://paroikosmissionarykid.blogspot.com/2011/02/skopos-theory-in-bible-translation-by.html

    First of all, in Skokos terminology, my brief is pedagogical, and I'll be translating from the New Testament in the Original Greek (Byzantine Textform, 2nd ed.). Christiane Nord defines brief: "Definition of the communicative purpose for which the translation is needed. The ideal brief provides explicit or implicit information about the intended target-text function (s), the target-text addressee(s), the medium over which it will be transmitted, the prospective place and time and, if necessary, motive of production or reception of the text" (Translating as a Purposeful Activity, p. 137).

    The main goal of this translation being pedagogical, I hope to use it in the future to teach missionary Bible translation methodology. Opportunities in that area are lurking ahead in my career. As I have time, I'll translate one verse a day during the week. Because of my Skopos, the translation will be word-for-word as per allowed in the theory, but not interlinear. "The Skopos of the translation determines the form of equivalence required for an adequate translation" (ibid, 36). "Adequacy" in Skopos theory
    refers to the appropriateness of a translation to the brief.

    "For a word-for-word translation, where the purpose is a faithful reproduction of the words and structures of the source text, the translator chooses, one by one, the target-language words and structures corresponding exactly to those of the source-language with regard to meaning and, if possible, style" (ibid, 36). This is actually the best definition of word-for-word as I conceive it that I've seen.

    I'm also aiming for a philological translation: "If a documentary translation reproduces the source text rather literally but adds the necessary explanations about the source culture or some peculiarities of the source language in footnotes or glossaries, we may speak of philological or learned translation. This form is used frequently in the translation of ancient texts (such as Homer), in Bible translation or in translations from distant cultures" (ibid, 49).
     
  2. John of Japan

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    1Ταῦτα ἐλάλησεν (aor. act. ind.) ὁ Ἰησοῦς, καὶ ἐπῆρεν (aor. act. ind.) τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν, καὶ εἶπεν, Πάτερ, ἐλήλυθεν(per. act. ind.) ἡ ὥρα· δόξασόν (aor. imperative) σου τὸν υἱόν, ἵνα καὶ ὁ υἱός σου δοξάσῃ(aor. subj. ind.) σε· (Joh 17:1 BYZ)
    1. Jesus said these things, and raised His eyes toward Heaven, and He said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify You,


    Note that the first and second verbs are aorist active indicative, meaning an undefined action in the past. John is relating an historical event.

    Then it says that He "raised His eyes toward Heaven. This is not an idiom, so it is translated literally here. A freer translation would say, "He looked up towards Heaven."

    The next verb is a perfect active indicative, meaning an event in the past with lasting results. So, Christ was looking at the hour which had come as being very significant.

    Christ next says with an aorist imperative, "Glorify your son." In Greek, this imperative is an imperative of entreaty, not a command from the Son to the Father per se. In a language with "respect language" such as Spanish or Japanese, this imperative of entreaty would need a respectful form. A freer translation in English that wanted to show the respect might say, "Please glorify...."

    The final verb is an aorist subjunctive, thus the "may glorify." This is a clear example of the aspect of the Greek aorist. The verb is referring to a future event, as yet not clearly defined.
     
  3. Deacon

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    I don’t believe i’ve never heard of the Skopos translation theory and had to do a bit of research.
    I can see why your son mentioned that it wasn’t commonly applied in bible translation:

    Skopos in Practice: Building an Appealing Brand Image in the Translation of Soft News [LINK]



    Two questions for you:

    1) Do you think there would there be a significant difference between an individual translators work over that of a translation team?

    2) It’s been observed that much of our OT has gone through an editing process as the Hebrew language and culture changed over the ages. The NT still sites Moses as the “authorial authority” in his translated writings. Assuming Moses’ writings were edited, do you believe the translators and those who inserted plus’s were inspired as well?

    Rob
     
  4. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Things may heat up now, since last year a translation by Nord was published for the first time of the seminal work by Hans Vermeer and Katherine Reiss, Towards a General Theory of Translational Action: Skopos Theory Explained. I have it on order. My son wants me to write an article for the journals on skopos for Bible translators. We'll see. There is a new dissertation out about it (http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/3547/), and Christiane Nord has an article about it, but little else.

    A translation done by a team is always better than an individual translator's work. It is too easy to make mistakes when you are working on your own. Ideally, even the translator of a one-man version should be getting lots of input and have someone to compare his or her work to the original. Just the other day I was going over our team's work on a chapter in Luke and found something we had just blown it completely on--in the third draft, and done by a team!


    Well first of all the idea that much of the OT has been edited is not borne out by OT textual criticism. There are no mss which document said editing. Here's one textual critic's view: "It is...amazing that we have an excellent copy of the text preserved in the Masoretic Text. It s important to remember that the Old Testament text has been in continuous circulation since the time of its initial writing. Its text is far better attested than any other document of comparable age" (Old Testament Textual Criticism, by Ellis R. Brotzman, p. 168).

    Furthermore, what is inspired is not the writer as your post suggests, but the term "inspired" refers to process by which the original text is given, so that the text itself is inspired (2 Tim. 3:16-17). There is nothing in the divine record to suggest that translators are inspired. Concerning any editors (a totally unproven idea), if for example an author other than Moses wrote the passage about his death, then yes, that was inspired.
     
    #4 John of Japan, Mar 6, 2015
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  5. John of Japan

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    2. Just as You gave Him authority over all flesh, so that He might give eternal life to all people who you have given to Him.
    2 καθὼς ἔδωκας (aor. act. ind.) αὐτῷ ἐξουσίαν πάσης σαρκός, ἵνα πᾶν ὃ δέδωκας αὐτῷ, δώσει αὐτοῖς ζωὴν αἰώνιον. (Joh 17:2 BYZ)

    This verse is a continuation of the sentence in v. 1. The first verb is another aorist, so I translated it as a simple past. The word "flesh" is a little problematic. The NIV translates "people," but for the skopos of this translation I stuck to "flesh," which is actually a one word idiom. In fact, in the second half of the verse (a "hina clause") I have rendered "people" since "flesh" doesn't appear there, simply "all," which according to Greek syntax leaves the translator able to supply a word if he wishes.

    The first verb in the "hina purpose clause" is the same as the first verb in the sentence, but this time it's a perfect active indicative, indicating an action with lasting results, but that is not very easy to render into English. "have given" is the best we can do.

    A "hina clause" most often has a subjunctive verb, but in this case it is a simple future, "You will give."
     
    #5 John of Japan, Mar 6, 2015
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  6. John of Japan

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    3. Now this is that eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ Who You sent.
    3 Αὕτη δέ ἐστιν ἡ αἰώνιος ζωή, ἵνα γινώσκωσίν (subj.) σε τὸν μόνον ἀληθινὸν θεόν, καὶ ὃν ἀπέστειλας (aor. act. ind.) Ἰησοῦν χριστόν. (Joh 17:3 BYZ)

    The first clause is direct and self-explanatory, with no difficult grammar. The word “now” is the particle de, which is postpositive (always the second word in the sentence), usually meaning “and, but,” and sometimes untranslatable. I translated with “now” simply because it seemed to be better English in this context and has the meaning of contrast given in BAGD.

    The second is another “hina clause” showing purpose, with a subjunctive verb. The final verb is the aorist active indicative of apostello (a,poste,llw), showing undefined action in the sending of Jesus Christ. This word is a little bit special, the verb cognate of the noun apostolos (avpo,stoloj, apostle) showing a sending with a mission or purpose.

    You may notice that I said "who" instead of "whom," which many feel is more proper English. The Eng. 101 textbook I taught from last year even says so! However, "whom" is only used in formal English nowadays. Even Time Magazine quit using it a few years ago. So I went with "who" to avoid the disconnect some may feel on reading "whom."
     
    #6 John of Japan, Mar 9, 2015
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  7. Van

    Van
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    The purpose of JOJ posts in this thread is to teach how to translate scripture using a word for word translation philosophy method.

    Apparently not being "interlinear" the word order is rearranged according to English sentence sequence.

    Thus "these things spoke the Jesus" becomes "Jesus said these things."

    In trying to convey the grammar, rather than altering the wording, i.e. "After Jesus spoke these things" textual notes are added, the verb "said" refers to something that occurred in the past, thus John is relating an historical event.
     
  8. John of Japan

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    4. I glorified You on the earth; I have completed the work which You gave Me to do.
    4 Ἐγώ σε ἐδόξασα ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς· τὸ ἔργον ἐτελείωσα ὃ δέδωκάς μοι ἵνα ποιήσω. (Joh 17:4 BYZ)

    The grammar in v. 4 is fairly straightforward. The first verb is an aorist active indicative, so is translated as a simple past. The second is also an aorist in the Byz, "I completed...." However, the critical text has an aorist participle here, explaining why translations based on critical texts translate as "having completed.... (NASB, etc.). Metzger's textual commentary gives no reason for the difference.

    The third verb, "you gave," is another aorist. Then we have another "hina clause," a fairly simple one translated usually with an English infinitive, a perfectly valid rendering for this hina clause, as a good lexicon will show. (See BAGD, p. 377, meaning II.)
     
  9. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    A Greek teacher friend wrote me that I should use "whom" here. I replied that he has a good point in that John 17 is not a colloquial document.

    What is your opinion? In a Bible translation should we use "whom" or just "who"?
     
  10. Rippon

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    Why did you put caps on who? I think it gets a little unwieldy to do the cap bit too much. The ESV is a conservative translation and it is restrained in that regard.
     
  11. Rippon

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    The whole gospel of John was written in Koine, not Attic, right? It was written in the common vernacular; was it not?
    Well, as it pertains to John 17, the NIV uses it only in verse 3.

    But in older versions like the 1948 revision of Goodspeed's New Testament, he uses it in verses 2,9 and 24.

    "Whom" has lost its appeal these days. The word "who" does nicely in most cases.
     
  12. Rippon

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    The Occurrence of "Whom" In O.T. And N.T.

    NIrV : 27
    HCSB : 134
    NLT : 202
    NIV : 374
    CEB : 415
    NABR : 672
    ESV : 687
    Lex : 698
    NASB : 707
    KJV : 715
    Darby : 717
    NRSV : 770

    The NRSV is the most conservative of the lot. It's positively old school. The NIV and CEB remain in the middle of this pack.
     
  13. Van

    Van
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    The NASB presents the phrase "whom you have given me" several times in John 17. But the word seems extraneous, thus "those you have given me conveys the same message without creating a bunny trail in the mind, i.e. why whom and not who?

    For the purpose of style, often translators do not translate some words, and in John 17, it would seem whom is unnecessary. To use "who" might be a distraction, i.e. why didn't the translators use "proper" English?
    So either whom or who would not be in accordance with the "brief."
     
  14. jonathan.borland

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    Greek font

    I like the Greek font you're using. What is it? How did you format your post for it to come through like that on BB? Or is it just automatic?
     
  15. jonathan.borland

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    "Jesus said these things, and raised His eyes toward Heaven, and He said,"

    I'm new to the Skopos technique. Usually in English when connecting clauses, we only put "and" with the last clause. Would Skopos technique allow for that, or should every "and" be rendered?

    "Jesus said these things, and raised His eyes toward Heaven, and He said,"


    I'm curious about the introduction of the personal pronoun here. It seems unnecessary.

    "Glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify You,"

    The KAI before "son" does not seem to be rendered, but I was wondering if there was a reason why it wasn't. Likewise, the SOU after "son" doesn't seem to be rendered, but perhaps for a similar reason? I'm not sure.
     
  16. jonathan.borland

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    Just as You gave Him authority over all flesh, so that He might give eternal life to all people who you have given to Him.

    "so that He might give"

    If it's a purpose hINA, I wonder if simply "to give" is adequate.

    "to all people who you have given to Him."

    Given the other capitalization of theistic pronouns, perhaps also "you" should be capitalized here? Next, if the "whom" is really annoying to modern ears (I'm not sure it is or not, but just for the sake of argument), in some cases at least it might be dispensed with as in colloquial speech, e.g., "all those You have given . . . ." Also, does the Skopos technique ever use contractions? It seems that if the more proper grammatical rules of "who" and "whom" are dispensed with, probably the use of contractions would be encouraged in the technique, but I'm not sure.
     
  17. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Two reasons:

    (1) Personal preference.

    (2) In line with the skopos, it will hopefully generate discussion among students in regards to the possibilities in their proposed target language.
     
  18. John of Japan

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    The contrast I meant was not between contemporary and classical (Koine and Attic), but between colloquial and formal. Most languages have a formal style for certain documents or occasions: contracts, weddings, etc.

    I tend to agree with you. But in Eng. 101 textbooks it is still being taught as proper. My take is that it is proper for formal language, so the translator must decide which is appropriate for his skopos.
     
  19. Van

    Van
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    Lets take a look at John 17:2 - even as you gave him authority over all flesh, he will give eternal life to all whom you have given him. (WEB)

    John 17:2 - Just as You gave Him authority over all flesh, so that He might give eternal life to all people who you have given to Him. (JOJ)

    Even as (G2531) you gave (G1325) Him (G846) authority (G1849) over all (G3956) flesh (G4561) that (G2443) He will give (G1325) eternal (G166) life (G2222) to them (G846) you have given (G1325) to Him (846).

    Thus wandering into the who/whom quagmire is unnecessary.
     
  20. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    I copied and pasted out of BibleWorks9, so when I checked, the font is SBL Greek, though I thought it would be Bogrkl.

    I find that for the BB, it works best if I type out the Greek in a word processor and then cut and paste into the BB. (You may know this already.)
     
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