Translation choices

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by NaasPreacher (C4K), Jun 19, 2011.

  1. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    Just a quick question that has come up on a couple of threads.

    When is it better to use a cultural idiom instead of a literal translation?

    For example, in Romans 6v2 the KJV uses a cultural idiom to translate μη γενοιτο as 'God forbid.'

    The NKJV uses a much closer literal translation when it translates the phrase as 'certainly not.'

    Would the current idiom 'No Way!' have suited as well as 'God forbid?'

    Which translation is superior and why?
     
  2. Scarlett O.

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    To me, the understanding of the "certainly not" is on it's emphaticness. (Is that a word? LOL)

    Paul wants everyone to "get it". We CANNOT keep sinning so that God's grace can just keep on pouring out. This is important. Ergo, the emphasis on not just a mere "no", but a "NO!".

    Any translation that uses an idiom that clearly presents a resounding "NO!" would suffice.

    Here are several translations of that verse that do that.
    ....................................................................................................


    [​IMG]
    New International Version(©1984)
    By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
    New Living Translation(©2007)
    Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?
    English Standard Version(©2001)
    By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
    New American Standard Bible(©1995)
    May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
    International Standard Version(©2008)
    Of course not! How can we who died as far as sin is concerned go on living in it?
    GOD'S WORD® Translation(©1995)
    That's unthinkable! As far as sin is concerned, we have died. So how can we still live under sin's influence?
    King James Bible
    God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
    American King James Version
    God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
    American Standard Version
    God forbid. We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein?
    Bible in Basic English
    In no way. How may we, who are dead to sin, be living in it any longer?
    Douay-Rheims Bible
    God forbid. For we that are dead to sin, how shall we live any longer therein?
    Darby Bible Translation
    Far be the thought. We who have died to sin, how shall we still live in it?
    English Revised Version
    God forbid. We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein?
    Webster's Bible Translation
    By no means: how shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
    Weymouth New Testament
    No, indeed; how shall we who have died to sin, live in it any longer?
    World English Bible
    May it never be! We who died to sin, how could we live in it any longer?
    Young's Literal Translation
    let it not be! we who died to the sin -- how shall we still live in it?
    ............................................................................................

    And here is what Clarke says about the use of "God forbid".


     
  3. Jim1999

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    Phillips uses another common English expession: "What a ghastly thought!"

    "God forbid" was a very common expression when I was growing up. Just about any such expression would suffice here. We might even say, "Heads up, folks".

    When it comes to understanding the literal meaning of Hebrew or Greek words, we do an injustice if we don't fit those words into the contex of the scripture at hand.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  4. JesusFan

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    Think the rule that would guide us here is translate the original into the new language literally, formal way UNLESS there is a good chance that those reading and receiving it have little to no idea of what is being expressed...

    SO though believe for study purposes versions like NASV/NKJV are the best ones to use, do see times where better to use it as rendered in NIV/HCSB...

    Especially in regards to Idioms and phrasings from older times, seems hard to get an exact word for word that would give reader into new language a good grasp of what was both wriiten and intended!
     
  5. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    I've listed before on the BB how I translate an idiom.

    1. If there is the same idiom in the target language I'll use that. This happens more than you might think.
    2. If there is not the same idiom, I'll translate literally if the idiom is understandable in the target language. This also happens more than you might think.
    3. If 1&2 are not an option, I'll choose an idiom in the target language that has the same meaning as the original idiom.

    In Japanese for μη γενοιτο we use [FONT= ]断じて違います [/FONT](danjite chigaimasu), which is a real strong expression like the original meaning literally "It's extremely different."

    I don't think the current English idiom "No way" would do the trick. It's too light, too casual, has no dignity.
     
  6. mandym

    mandym
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    Why not stick with translating the "idiom" from the time of the writing?
     
  7. Salty

    Salty
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    Because it could have a different meaning - as shown especially by John of Japan - when you translate
     
  8. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Don't have time to look up any Greek idioms, but consider the following English idioms if translated literally to Japanese:

    "Raining cats and dogs"--literally, pets falling from the sky. No other meaning possible.

    "Cool, dude"--It's a cool day, rookie.

    "Watch out!"--Look outside.

    In the case of "God forbid," Uncle Miya objected to a literal translation of the Greek, "May it not be," saying it made no sense in Japanese. If we were to translate the English "God forbid" into Japanese, it would be a prohibition, not an objection. Just doesn't work!
     
  9. Mexdeaf

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    In Tex-Mex, it's "No way, Jose!"
     
  10. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Works for me! :laugh:
     
  11. mcdirector

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    One of my favorites!
     
  12. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    Or, as we said in Alabama - 'Ain't no way!'
     
  13. Mexdeaf

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    Another translation- "Noway, nohow." I don't know if that's how it is spelled but that's how my Grandpa said it.
     
  14. Rippon

    Rippon
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    In Jersey-speak :"Fogetaboutit!'
     
  15. Martin Marprelate

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    Personally, I don't think 'God forbid' is such a bad translation. It is in the form of a wish or prayer, like the original. 'Certainly not' or 'No way' are statements.

    But in fact, won't any of them do? We all know exactly what is meant. If you want really bad Bible translation choices, they're not hard to find.

    Steve
     
  16. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Only if your Italian! A Gumba if you understand. :smilewinkgrin: Badda Boom, Badda Bing! Is that Latin?
     
    #16 Earth Wind and Fire, Jun 24, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2011
  17. JesusFan

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    Some English readers might just find bible expressions that refer to "girding up your loins. beating your breasts, and bowels of your affections" as quite interesting , to say the least!
     
  18. Martin Marprelate

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    An utterly literal translation would be very dificult to read.
    Here is Luke 1:50 as literally as I can make it.

    'And the mercy of him into begettings of begettings to the fearing him.'

    I don't think anyone would want to read a chapter of that! One interesting point is that there is no verb in the sentence. Here is what the KJV makes of it.

    'And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.'

    The KJV has added a verb, but put it in italics so that we can know that it's an addition. It has also tidied up the bit about begettings. The NKJV is almost identical.

    Here is the NIV:-

    'His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.'

    The NIV has omitted the connecting word kai, 'and.' It has also added the word 'extends' which is not in the text, and since it does not use italics, you wouldn't know unless you know Greek. I make no comment on these facts. It really makes no difference to the meaning, but is it right to omit something from the word of God and to add something without explanation unless good translation absolutely demands it?

    Now here is the CEV 'translation':-

    'He is always kind to everyone who worships him.'

    This is an example of a paraphrase and to me it's an abomination. To be kind is not necessarily the same as being merciful. A farmer may be kind to his animals, but eventually he's not going to be merciful; he's going to send them to the butcher. And it goes without saying that to 'worship' is not the same as to 'fear.' [The Greek word is phobeo, frome which we get our word, 'phobia'] And the fact is that God is not going to be kind to everybody who worships him (Matt 7:21).

    My view is that a translation needs to be as close to the originals as is possible within the restrictions of good readable English. However, to those who say that the NIV is a terrible translation, I say, 'Turn again, you will see greater abominations than these' (Ezek 8:15).

    Steve
     
  19. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    The "bowels of affections" idiom is interesting. Every culture seems to approach where the seat of emotions is differently. In Japanese they use no body part for the seat of emotions, but the word kokoro ([FONT= ]心[/FONT]), which is usually translated heart, but there is a different word for the physical organ. Start talking about the intestines as the seat of emotions, and the Japanese would think you're nuts!
     
  20. franklinmonroe

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    Do you think the KJV does not engage in this practice?
     

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