Stated Translational Styles

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Rippon, Aug 3, 2008.

  1. Rippon

    Rippon
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    I'll give brief quotes from various versions regarding their publicized translational methods.

    TNIV : The first concern of the translators has continued to be the accuracy of the translation and its faithfulness to the intended meaning of the biblical writers.This has moved the translators to go beyond a formal word-for-word rendering of the original texts.Because thought patterns and syntax differ from language,accurate communication of the meaning of the biblical authors demands constant regard for varied contextual uses of words and idioms and for frequent modifications in sentence structures.

    To achieve clarity the translators have sometimes supplied words not in the original texts but required by the context...

    HCSB : Optimal Eqivalence
    In practice,translations are seldom if ever purely formal or dynamic but favor one theory of Bible translation or the other to varying degrees. Optimal eqivalence as a translation philosophy recognizes that form cannot be neatly separated from meaning and should not be changed...unless comprehension demands it. The primary goal of translation is to convey the sense of the original with as much clarity as the original text and the translation language permit.Optimal equivalence appreciates the goals of formal eqivalence but also recognizes its limits.

    ESV : The ESV is an "esentially literal" translation that seeks as far as possible to capture the precise wording of the original text and the personal style of each Bible writer. As such, its emphasis is on "word-for-word"correspondence, at the same time taking into account differences of grammar,syntax,and idiom between current literary English and the original languages.Thus it seeks to be transparent to the original text,letting the reader see as directly as possible the structure and meaning of the original.

    NRSV : Within the constraints set by the original texts and by the mandates of the Division,the Committee has followed the maxim, "As literal as possible,as free as necessary."As a consequence,the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) remains essentially a literal translation.

    NLTse : The translators of the New Living Translation set out to render the message of the original texts of Scripture into clear,contemporary English.As they did so,they kept the concerns of both formal-equivalence and dynamic-equivalence in mind.On the one hand,they translated as simply and literally as possible when that approach yielded an accurate,clear,and natural English text.Many words and phrases were rendered literally and consistently into English,preserving essential literary and rhetorical devises,ancient metaphors,and word choices that give structure to the text and provide echoes of meaning from one passage to the next.
    On the other hand,the translators rendered the message more dynamically when the literal rendering was hard to understand,was misleading,or yielded foreign wording. They clarified difficult metaphors and terms to aid in the reader's understanding.The translators first struggled with the meaning of the words and phrases in the ancient context;then they rendered the message into clear,natural English.Their goal was to be both faithful to the ancient texts and eminently readable. The result is a translation that is both exegetically accurate and idiomatically powerful.

    ISV : (I don't have their material in front of me;but it describes itself as a compromise between formal-equivalence and functional-equivalence.-- Rip)

    What do you think? Do you favor any of these descriptions? Do you think these descriptions accurately reflect the actual translation method of the versions? If not, please explain.
     
    #1 Rippon, Aug 3, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 3, 2008
  2. Deacon

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    ISV
    A good translation will steer a careful course between word-for-word translation and interpretation under the guise of translating. In other words, a good translation will be both reliable and readable. The best translation, then, is one that is both accurate and idiomatic at the same time. It will make every effort to reproduce the culture and exact meaning of the text without sacrificing readability. The ISV Foundation calls this type of translation “literal-idiomatic.”
    Of these three basic types of translation—literal, literal-idiomatic, and idiomatic—the translators of the ISV have, without hesitation, opted for the second. This is not because it happens to be the middle option, simply avoiding extremes, but because the literal-idiomatic translation is the only choice that avoids the dangers of over-literalness and of over-interpretation discussed above. Teaching biblical truth demands extreme fidelity to the original text of Scripture. However, a translation of the Bible need not sacrifice English clarity in order to maintain a close correspondence to the source languages. The goal of the ISV, therefore, has been both accuracy and excellence in communication.

    NASB95
    The attempt has been made to render the grammar and terminology in contemporary English. When it was felt that the word-for-word literalness was unacceptable to the modern reader, a change was made in the direction of a more current English idiom.


    Rippon: What do you think?
    Same message, different words.
    The ESV's explanation "sounds" like it would tend to a more literal approach.

    Rob
     
  3. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    The only one of these I have is the ESV, and the description fits the translation. I'm much more concerned with Japanese translations, which I have researched extensively, and don't really have the time or money to research the English MVs.

    Rippon, I would appreciate it if you can source these quotes for us.
     
  4. Deacon

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    See the International Bible Society Site

    The quotes are from the introductions of each version.

    Rob
     
  5. Rippon

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    Another important sentence from the Preface of the ESV with which I agree:

    "Every translation is at many points a trade-off between literal precision and readability, between "formal equivalence" in expression and "functional equivalence" in communication, and the ESV is no exception."
     
  6. Rippon

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    I have found much of the promotional material for the ESV to really be a lot of false advertising.
     
  7. Rippon

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    In reality,despite what the promotional literature may say --the aims of the NRSV/ESV,TNIV/2011 NIV,ISV and HCSB are the same. The NLTse? Only to a modified extent.

    As much as I get a kick from hearing the slogan optimal equivalence,which is a bit less pretentious than complete equivalence --I found one better.

    While looking at the Zurich Bible in Wikipedia the newest edition has the sated aim of maximal philogical exactitude. Now that would not stand any scrutiny!
     
  8. Rippon

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    Another example of publicity rather than an accurate description of the translation is from the Preface.

    As an essentially literal translation,then,the ESV seeks to carry over every possible nuance of meaning in the original words of scripture into our language."

    Now how is that realistically possible? It's just not. I would liken a translation to cupping one's hands to a river and carrying it some distance to the mouth of someone. Most of the water will hopefully arrive to its destination --but not all. Or perhaps a leaky bucket might be a better analogy.

    ...with its emphasis on literary excellence,the ESV is equally suited for public reading and preaching,for private reading and reflection,for both academic and devotional study,and for Scripture memorization.

    Nope,all of those things can't be done well. The stated goals are at cross-purposes with one another.

    Despite the claims of L.Ryken,the supposed "literary excellence" of the ESV is a pipe dream. It is actually quite funny to hear it couched in that kind of language to describe a translation that is rather tone deaf much of the time. The awkward phraseology and antiquated verbiage are stumbling blocks on the way to achieving the aims of public preaching,private reading etc.
     
  9. JesusFan

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    Aren't they all striving basically to get same results by same methods, just different word used to describe it?

    Would say NLT leaning more to "freerer' renderings, Niv 2011 HCSB try to do the ole "mediating" with Isv/Esv more of the lietral/formal renderings...
     
  10. JesusFan

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    My pastor has said that while he likes the Esv, seems too hard to be a middle between iv and NASB, and as such, takes the worst from each to its approach!

    Want readability and accuracy, might as well go NIV 2011, or wanting serious study, go NASB, so what niche does the Esv really cover?
     
  11. glfredrick

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    I have them all and agree with what you wrote about the ESV.

    I use a number of translations in my study. Sometimes it helps to think about a certain passage when one considers the ways that various translators or teams see a particular pericope. Most say the same thing in one way or another -- a couple tend to soften the original text to the point where it becomes meaningless in any significant way.

    I also think that the ESV translators hit the nail on the head when they said that no translation "Every translation is at many points a trade-off between literal precision and readability, between "formal equivalence" in expression and "functional equivalence" in communication, and the ESV is no exception."

    I am still wondering about Rippon's statement about the ESV and false advertising. Seems rather a vendetta than a discussion going on here.

    Rippon, do you have any training in the original languages? Just wondering. It often appears that you do not, but I may be mistaken and wish to be accurate in my perception of you.
     
  12. JesusFan

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    I use primarily the NASB for study purposes, yet know there are passages that better understood when read from the Niv/NLT/Hcsb etc...

    Try the 1901 ASV, best to study from perhaps, but can one really get what was intended all the time?
     
  13. Martin Marprelate

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    I don't possess a NIV 2011, HCSB or a NLT. I have no plans to get any of them.

    This is about right. It is certainly one of the better translations. To be really helpful to the Bible student, however, they should italicize added words. That is why, leaving aside textual issues, I prefer the NKJV or NASB.

    The NRSV is certainly not "as literal as possible." It languishes on my shelf unless I need to look at the Apocrypha, which it contains. I don't find it good. I hate the way is pluralizes sentences in order to make them politically correct. It was translated by a committee that included liberals, Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, not to mention an orthodox Jew. I have no confidence in it. Any translation that is endorsed by the Church of Rome is not for me. I know of no evangelical church in Britain that uses it. Its users are either Methodists, High Church Anglicans or R.C.s.

    Steve
     
  14. Rippon

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    I am in full agreement with that statement in the Preface of the ESV.

    False advertising is ...well false. I will demonstrate in the near future in what other ways the ESV's publicity machine claims more than it can deliver in the translation.
     
  15. Rippon

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    Regardless,the NRSV is fine. That's why conservative scholar D.A.Carson considers it "jolly good translation."

    The ESV and NRSV are as close as can be. Both of them are closer to one another than either is to the RSV.
     

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