Paraphrases

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Rippon, Jun 21, 2006.

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  1. Rippon

    Rippon
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    I have before me " The Oxford Essential Guide to Ideas & Issues of the Bible ". It is edited by Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan . There are a couple hundred contributers to this volume of less than 600 pages . Some of them are of a liberal bent . Robert Bratcher , is, in my opinion , a biblical liberal . He was a primary translator of the Good News Bible ( not a paraphrase BTW). He made some statements in 1981 that I am very much against . However , he has some noteworthy comments on pages 387,388 .

    Paraphrase is a restatement of a text or passage in another form or other words , often to clarify meaning ... What is sometimes called "paraphrase" in Bible translation is actually a legitimate and necessary device to represent the meaning clearly and faithfully in the target language ...

    [ Bratcher quotes Ronald Knox ]: " The word 'paraphrase' is a bogey of the half-educated ... It is a paraphrase when you translate Comment vous portez-vous ? by 'How are you you ?' " No self-respecting translator would translate that French question by "How are you carrying yourselves ?"

    Bratcher goes on to say : In 1653 Henry Hammond , president of Magdalen College , Oxford , produced a paraphrase of the New Testament , which was printed alongside the King James Version .
     
    #1 Rippon, Jun 21, 2006
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  2. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    The "Favorite Translation" thread seems to have disappeared, so I'll say this here. I must apologize to you and your Taiwanese source. The Japanese Colloquial Bible was indeed translated by an all Japanese committee, as I found out when I consulted a Japanese book I have on the Bible.

    Now concerning this new OP, I'm not sure I get it. What are you saying, that you agree with Bratcher about paraphrase, that a paraphrased Bible is a good thing? Or something else?
     
  3. Terry_Herrington

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    What happened to it?
     
  4. Ed Edwards

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    I have an e-mail saying that Marcia posted to it, then
    it was gone.

    I think it has disappeared into cyber-space.
    I wish my boo-boo Thread would disappear (i wanted a poll
    but messed up)
     
  5. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Life can be so cruel, Bro. Ed. :tear:

    I'm not worried, though, I don't do mistooks...missteaks...Miss Snakes...booboos.:eek:
     
  6. Marcia

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    I was wondering what happened to that thread! :tear:

    I hope nothing I did sent it to cyberspace! :type:
     
  7. Marcia

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    I have to disagree with this guy. I would not call this a paraphrase but the translation of an idiom.

    A paraphrase would be:

    Original: "C'est une maison tres jolie, avec beaucoup de soleil."

    Literal: "It's a very pretty house, with lots of sun."

    Paraphrase: "It's quite a house - gets lots of sunshine, so it's bright."

    Hope the French was okay -- my first school was a French school in a South Pacific island and I was a French major for 2 yrs. or so in college, but I'm very rusty now.
     
  8. robycop3

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    I think some "paraphrasing" is absolutely necessary in translating, and we've discussed this before, so I'm not gonna elaborate. Call it whatcha want, but clarification into the target language insteada a strictly-literal translation is often necessary to convey the message from the original.
     
    #8 robycop3, Jun 21, 2006
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  9. Marcia

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    Another paraphrase:

    Translation, close to literal (supposedly) by NASB:
    Paraphrase (The Message) [and imo, more than a paraphrase!]
    I particularly don't like the use of his word "energy" for "power" since one of my struggles in ministry is to explain the New Age concept of energy and why it's not biblical
     
  10. John of Japan

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    robycop, I wish you would elaborate, anyway:tongue3: . I've never interacted with you on this, and I couldn't get anyone to give me specifics about grammar in the recent DE thread.

    At what times would you say the grammar in the original language necessitates paraphrasing? Are there times you believe it would be wrong to paraphrase?

    Thanks.:type:
     
  11. robycop3

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    I'm not a reader of Koine Greek nor of Hebrew , John, but I know enough about them to realize that a strictly-literal translation wouldn't make sense in English, especially if the original grammer & word order within each sentence were retained. Sorry that I can't be of more help, but perhaps Doc Cassidy, Dr. Bob, Logos 1560, or Eliyahu can be of help.
     
  12. John of Japan

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    Why not ambiguity?

    Okay, I won't press you, robycop. However, perhaps I can help you be aware of the terminology here. I believe that by "strictly-literal" translation you mean what is called technically a "formal equivalent" translation, such as in an interlinear or Young's Literal Translation. And actually, they do usually make sense, but can be very awkward.

    In between formal equivalence and dynamic equivalence are the direct method of the NASV (described in its preface), the "optimal equivalence" of the Holman Christian Standard Bible and the "essentially literal" method of the ESV. The NKJV was translated with what was then called (by a Nelson editor's decision) "direct equivalence" (now being called optimal equivalence). These methods are pretty much the same, with the NASV method being somewhat stricter. However, the scholars who espouse each method would admit that there are times when slight paraphrasing may be (I emphasize may be) necessary.

    My problem is that I can't get anyone on the Baptist Board who espouses the methods of paraphrase or dynamic equivalence (either one) to tell me why they are necessary from a linguistic point of view. What I want to know is, when and why you guys think the grammar of the original requires such? Or are there psychological reasons why the reader can't be trusted to make his or her own interpretations?

    Take a look at John 21:11, where it says "Simon Peter went up...." We did--we looked at this for a whole hour in our committee! The word for "went up" here is anabaino. A literal method such as described above will leave it at "went up." However, a DE or paraphrase method often adds something not in the original like "into the boat." Why? Are the readers too dumb to imagine for themselves whether or not it was "into the boat" or "onto the shore?" Maybe God wanted the passage to stay ambiguous on this so that the reader's imagination would be stimulated! :thumbs:
     
  13. Rippon

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    Going through the Psalms these days makes me think that there is a need for dynamic/ functional equivalence/paraphrase on many occasions . I would suspect that it is needed for much more than just 10% of the tme . Of course there has to be a judgment-call if one favors formal equivalence . Some things look like gibberish ( a very technical term ) if some renderings are put in the text . The King James Version kept a good number ( not most ) in . I haven't checked with the NJK or NASU yet .

    How does a translator trying to follow the formal equivalence model decide if a particularly cumbersome and difficult to understand wording goes in the text or in the footnotes ? Obviously one following the functional equivalent method puts the more difficult rendering in the footnote section more often rather than in the text itself .

    Do you all agree that the Psalms needs more de renderings ?

    Do you think that generally the whole Bible needs more than just a de job closer to 20% or so -- even for a more formally equivalent version ?

    Give examples from the Psalms in a formally equivalent version where you think some renderings should be maintained even if the meaning may be misunderstood .
     
  14. John of Japan

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    Translators don't set a percentage of how much they want to or should paraphrase. It is a direct result of their methodology. A DE translator (meaning someone who purposefully uses the DE method, whether it be Nida's renamed functional equivalence method or some other thought-for-thought method, might indeed paraphrase 20-30%, or even more as in the case of The Message. How big a percentage the translator ends up paraphrasing depends on how much he believes in thought-for-thought." It also depends on how technically good he is. If he does transformational grammar or generative grammar like Nida does, I believe he'll end up more like the NIV, with less paraphrasing. If he does willy-nilly thought-for-thought, he may end up doing The Message.

    Someone doing formal equivalence (like an interlinear or Young's Literal may only paraphrase 1-2%. And by the way, "formal equivalence" is the most mis-used term in this debate. It is often used as a straw man, along with the term "word for word." (I don't say that you are using it as a straw man.) A true FE translation will even try to preserve the word order of the original, and the NASB, for example, doesn't even do that all that much.

    Someone doing "essentially literal" or "optimal equivalence" translation may paraphrase as much as 5-10%. These methods are very controlled about how they paraphrase, unlike DE methods. The translator will do his best to (a) preserve the ambiguity of the original, (b) translate in some way every single word of the original, (c) preserve the grammar of the original (for example, translating a passive with a passive), etc. This is because the translator believes in verbal-plenary inspiration, and that every word in the original has meaning, so therefore the words should be translated, and not just the thoughts.

    Nope, I don't agree that the Psalms need more de renderings, or that the Bible in general does.

    I haven't translated the Psalms or studied their translation, but the percentage would probably rise there more than the typical 5-10% I do in the NT if I were to translate the Psalms, since they are poetic. However, the parallel nature of Hebrew poetry means it needs less paraphrasing than traditional (as opposed to free verse) English poetry or, say, Japanese haiku.
     
  15. IveyLeaguer

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    The more I see, the more I think a better name for 'The Message' paraphrase would be 'The New Age Translation'.

    :Fish:
     
  16. Rippon

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    Here are some quotes from D.A. Carson's chapter in the book " The Challenge of Bible Translation . " His essay is called "The Limits of Functional Equivalence in Bible Translation . "

    ... it has become necessary to warn against the reactionary wing that demonizes functional equivalence with occasionally insightful rhetoric , but is more often linguistically uninformed , is rarely balanced , and is sometimes shrill . ( p.77,78 )

    For the vast majority of people actually engaged in Bible translation , the importance of functional equivalence is a given -- and rightly so . Its victory is hailed by numerous pieces of evidence . There is widespread recognition of the inadequacy of merely formal equivalence in translation , buttressed by thousands and thousands of examples . Undergriding such recognition is the awareness that expressions such as "literal translation" and "paraphrase" are steeped in ambiguity and , in any case , belong , not in mutually exclusive categories , but on the same spectrum : A "too literal" translation can be as bad as a "too paraphrastic" translation , if for different reasons . (p.91,92 )

    At its best , functional equivalence , far from jeopardizing good translations , is essential for fidelity in translation -- fidelity in conveying not only meaning but also tone , emotional impact , naruralness/awkwardness , and much more . ( p. 92,93 )
     
  17. John of Japan

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    This is exactly what I was talking about. Carson demonizes literal methods by such phraseology as "merely formal equivalence."

    Plus, Carson is being supercilious--something he is certainly capable of--when he says, "For the vast majority of people actually engaged in Bible translation , the importance of functional equivalence is a given -- and rightly so." Ridiculous!! This ignores major new translations such as the ESV, Net Bible, Holman's, etc.

    "The label 'formal equivalence' is often used by defenders of dynamic equivalence theory, perhaps in part because this makes it so easy to caricature and thus dismiss essentially literal translation theory as a theory that places too much emphasis on the order of words in the original language." (Translating Truth, Chapter One, "Are Only Some Words of Scripture Breatherd Out By God?" by Wayne Grudem, p. 10)

    By the way, I highly recommend this book, Translating Truth. It contains five lectures on "The Case for Essentially Literal Bible Translation" given to the Evangelical Theological Society by five top scholars, conservative evangelicals all. For Rippon's sake, the foreward is by J. I Packer.:thumbs: :tongue3:

    Rippon, have you ever read anything advocating literal methods, or do you stick to reading strictly DE type books? IMO, you need to broaden your understanding of literal methods.
     
  18. Rippon

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    As a missionary John , you should know that the vast majority of translations are not in English alone . Functional equivalence is the primary method of translation .

    You are mistaken about the NET Bible . It is very dynamic ! Haven't you ever read some passages from it ? I love the NET Bible . I appreciate the notes especially . The ESV employs a good deal more functional equivalence than its promoters advertise -- a lot more . I would say it uses what you call DE just marginally more than the TNIV . The NASU is more to the left of the chart along with the NKJ .

    No . I have never bought a book about Bible translation by Gruden or Polythress . I read the transcript of the debate between Grudem and Dr. Mark Strauss and was convinced that the latter had the stronger argument . Grudem has done a lot of TNIV bashing ( with help from Dobson ) . World magazine got into the act and I got really annoyed with the immaturity of Grudem and his followers .

    I respect James Packer immensely ( not his Protestants&Catholics Together stuff though ) . He has probably written more book endorsements than anyone in modern history . He even endorsed The Message ! He likes the NLT as I do . It is considerably more free or dynamic than the TNIV . I do not think he is extreme as Grudem is on the subject of Bible translation theories . I know , I know . He headed up the ESV translation team . But very little translation went on . It was more like a light revision . I look forward to their upgraded product in 2008 .

    You say that Carson was being supercilious . Well , don't you think that the de or DE method is insufficient ? Who is being haughty here ? You seem to think that all sense of reverence for the Word of God is dismissed in a Bible version which employs DE . Carson's article was about the limits of functional equivalence . He warns about some tendencies in that methodology . But overall he believes it is a good method .

    Formal equivalency is not the only way to translate faithfully . Some DE versions are better than the FE model . The ISV ( which I do not presently own ) claims it is more accurate yet more dynamic than the NIV . It may be possible .

    Though you have language skills that I don't have --- I do not think you have examined the frequency of rendering a phrase in a more dynamic way even in many FE Bibles . So 10% is on the low side in my estimation .
     
  19. John of Japan

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    Baloney! There are 4 complete Bibles currently in print in Japanese and only one of them is DE/FE. The primary Bible to this day in Chinese is the Union Version--old but still very good, and of course it is not DE. You can buy another Bible in Chinese that is DE, I'll grant you that, but it is not the standard version used in most churches.

    Now if you revise your statement to say that most new translations on the mission field (not the "vast majority") are DE, then I'll agree.

    Side note: many scholars still use the term "dynamic equivalence," contrary to Nida's wishes. It is still a great term.
    I have used the Net Bible occasionally, and do enjoy it's notes. So far I've never read anything in it that I thought for sure was DE. I may be mistaken, I'll grant you that. I'll have to look at it some more. However, here is a statement concerning their translation philosophy, and this statement is certainly not DE: "The NET Bible is a translation done by evangelicals whose highest commitment is to represent the meaning of the text as accurately as possible." (http://www.bible.org/page.asp?page_id=932) As it stands this is not DE. So I'll take your opinion here with a grain of salt until I verify it for myself.

    And Nida is better when he call's essentially literal translators "word worshippers" in a Christianity Today interview in 2002?

    Well, okay. Nobody is perfect--even Packer. :tongue3:

    I don't recall ever saying that "all sense of reverence for the Word of God is dismissed in a Bible version which employs DE." My primary thrust on this forum is that DE as a method is flawed. I've said nothing that I remember about the Christianity of DE advocates.
    I'll admit I haven't examined many DE Bibles. Don't have time or money to buy and read all the translations coming out nowadays. Keeping up with the Japanese versions takes enough of my time.

    It grieves my heart, anyway, when I see so many English translations with still about 4000 languages (Wycliffe estimate) with no Scriptures.
     
  20. Rippon

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    From Carson's Chapter

    Few translators of any competence would today deny such fundamental priorities as the following :

    1. Contextual consistency has priority over verbal consistency ( or word-for-word concordance ) .

    2. Dynamic equivalence has prioriy over formal correspondence .

    3. The aural (heard) form of language has priority over the written form .

    4. Forms that are used by and acceptable to the audience for which a translation is intended have priority over forms that may be traditionally more prestigious .

    (p. 92 )
     
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