Translational choices

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Deacon, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. Deacon

    Deacon
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    Look what translators have done with the opening phrase of Habakkuk 1:15.

    Note how the first words change from version to version.

    English Standard Bible provides a literal translation.
    The verb ["brings"] that the subject is taken from is a third person, masculine, singular, hifil [meaning the subject is the agent of action], and qatal [an action verb, apart from time – no present past or future aspect]. The words "drags" and "gathers" are also singular.

    The New English Translation [NET] adds who is dong the action.
    The Babylonian tyrant pulls them all up with a fishhook; he hauls them in with his throw net. When he catches them in his dragnet, he is very happy. NET

    The New English Translation [NET] explains the addition in a note:
    This is how some other versions render the phrase.

    They take up all of them, AV 1873
    The enemy brings all of them up, NRSV
    The enemy brings them in, NCV
    The wicked haul them up, REB
    The wicked foe pulls all of them up, NIV
    The adversary captures them, ISV
    The Chaldeans bring all of them up, NASB95
    The Chaldeans pull them all up, HCSB
    The Babylonians catch people, GNB
    The evil Babylonians pull all of them up, NIrV

    The NLT is very different.
    1. Which one do you consider to be the most literal translation?
    2. Which one conveys the meaning or explains what the author means the best?
    3. Is it proper to add who is being referred to in a verse for clarity?
    4. Which one do you consider to be the best translation?
    5. Which one uses the best English?

    Rob
     
    #1 Deacon, Aug 18, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 18, 2013
  2. InTheLight

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    If the subject is indeed singular then the ESV, NET, and possibly the NIV and ISV are the most literal. The other versions use a pluralized subject. Most literal is ESV.

    Isolating just this verse, I would say the NET does the best job of conveying the meaning of the verse. But from previous verses we understand the Babylonians were being discussed, so Babylonian tyrant is kind of redundant. The ESV fails because we had been hearing about the Babylonians horses and soldiers then in verse 15 it transitions to 'he', which doesn't make sense. I guess balancing both literalness and context the NIV does it best.

    I believe it is proper to add who is being referred to for clarity sake. Clarity is a good thing!

    I think the NIV is the best overall translation of this verse and uses the best English.
     
  3. Herald

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    Scholars tend to date Habakkuk before the fall of Jerusalem and the Babylonian captivity. This would make sense in light of 1:6:

    Habakkuk 1:6 “For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, that fierce and impetuous people who march throughout the earth to seize dwelling places which are not theirs."

    The ESV and NASB specify Chaldeans, while the KJV uses Babylonians. They are the same thing.

    1:15 does not include a direct reference to either, but the meaning of the passage is clear. A people will bring Israel into captivity. It really depends on the translators as to which people they wish to reference. In the NASB and ESV "Chaldeans" would be consistent with 1:6. The only other way of doing it is to omit any reference to a specific people and footnote the verse.
     
  4. robycop3

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    Far as I can see, there's no noun or pronoun in the Hebrew before alah, "take up", so the translator must supply one in English. I'm in favor of a PRONOUN here, even though "Chaldeans" or "Babylonians" are correct nouns, just for that reason. We should supply words to translations for clarity in English only, with nothing to add to the meaning of the source being translated.
     
  5. Jerome

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    Huh?:null::null:
     

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