Truly Word-For-Word? Really?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Rippon, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. Rippon

    Rippon
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    All this busines of using language such as word-for-word,formal-equivalence,essentially literal is inaccurate to say the least.

    How many real translations --not interlinears --get remotely close to being word-for-word? Answer? None. Some folks here pride themselves that they have a real translation --a word-for-word version. They think "it's much,much better than that dynamic NIV or NLT." LOL!

    Well,consider the following examples from Rod Decker of actual word-for-word examples.

    Of the but Jesus Christ the birth thus it was being betrothed of the mother Mary to the Joseph before or to come together them she was found in belly having from Spirit Holy. (Matthew 1:18)

    and therefore of a new covenant a mediator he is so that since a death has occurred unto redemption of the under the first covenant transgressions the promise should receive those who are called the eternal inheritance. (Hebrews 9:15)

    All translations have to restructure things. And then some of you will reply:"My favorite translation does it less than that version of yours." So,it's a matter of degree isn't it? It's not an issue of the NASBU or ESV being so different than the NIV. There are more similarities than differences.

    If your particular favorite translations differ in significant ways from the rigid word-for-word examples I gave, then do some backtracking of your hollow claims.
     
  2. Yeshua1

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    NONE claim that any version is fully/strictly "word for word", as that would be an interlinear, and be rough to read and use as statndard study bible version!

    We DO say however that the basic philosophy between formal and DE versions would mean that the formal version does do a better job overall in giving to us into english what was actually recorded down and was meant by god to us, not as much interpreting involved into what we think he said and meant!

    Dos the Niv/Nlt read easier and better in passages compared to nasb/esv. yes, but would still prefer those 2 for serous studies!
     
  3. go2church

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    Translation, all translation is paraphrase.
     
  4. JamesL

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    I would agree.

    Most would never pretend that "word for word" is meant in a wooden literal sense.

    Every translation has to deal with the struggle of expressing what was said vs. what was meant

    An example from modern language usage might help:

    In Spanish, someone will say "gracias"
    The typical reply is "de nada"

    My son heard this exchange once, and asked me what the two men said. I told him the first man said "thank you" and that the second man said "you're welcome"

    However, the second man did not actually say "you're welcome"
    What he literally said was "of nothing"

    Very similar in meaning to the English:
    It was nothing
    Think nothing of it
    Don't worry about it
    No problem

    All of these would be plenty acceptable translations of "de nada", and all carry the same full expression as "you're welcome"


    This is the case in Romans 6:1 where Paul asks if we should go on sinning so that grace may abound. His answer in 6:2 - God forbid (KJV). Not literally what was said, and there are plenty of other ways to translate this expression of being aghast:
    God forbid
    May it never be
    Certainly not
    By no means
    What are you thinking?
    Dude, are you smoking crack?

    Should there be liberty of expression when it comes to idioms, slang, etc.?
    Absolutely

    In John 11:33, it is said that Jesus "snorted" much like a horse would
    it is variously translated, and I don't think there would be any grounds to think that Jesus literally snorted like a horse. So how should it be translated?

    Someone has to go through that struggle. I can either applaud or criticize, but I have not been thrown into the enormous task of properly conveying the words and meanings to others

    As has been correctly noted, there isn't a single translation that is purely word-for-word from start to finish, because as a whole it just wouldn't make sense in another language.


    Having said that, though, there are people who translate with the aim of accurately conveying what was said. Others, meanwhile, translate with the aim of conveying what was meant.

    There is nothing "wrong" with conveying what was meant, so long as the one conveying it actually understands what was meant. I use some of these various translations as a commentary of sorts, to see a wider range of thoughts on the wording of a passage

    But any time there are important doctrinal issues that could hang in the balance, It is my firm conviction that one should seek to convey what was actually said, and let the reader be guided by the Holy Spirit in order to understand what was meant
     
  5. John of Japan

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    First of all, before going any further, how are you defining word for word?

    In my book, these are interlinear renderings.

    Restructure syntax, not lexical units.

    I'll wait for your definition.
     
  6. John of Japan

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    Sorry, this is not true by any definition of paraphrase that I've ever read.
     
  7. preacher4truth

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    JofJ is correct IMO. Word for word in our language has oft to change the order of the words from the original for our understanding and to match the order and structure of our language. YLT is an example of attempting to bring a very literal translation, or, 'word for word' translation minus the paraphrasing. That said perhaps we should all read the Scriptures more often.
     
  8. go2church

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    All translations add, subtract, reorder to make it understandable, it's never word for word, never.

    Paraphrase - a restatement of a text or passage giving the meaning in another form, as for clearness; rewording.
    the act or process of restating or rewording.
     
  9. JamesL

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    Not quite. Paraphrasing is expressing a statement using different words altogether to convey what was said. Translating from one language to another almost always involves changing the word order to a coherent form in the second language

    Example - If you hear:
    Yo, dawg. What u be all up in my grille fo'

    you might paraphrase it as:
    Hey, man. Why are you in my face?

    so that someone who doesn't understand the original words might get an idea of what was meant


    But to say that Grand River is a paraphrase of Rio Grande is totally inaccurate. That's simply a restructuring of the word order into a different language for better communication
     
  10. Salty

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    another example:

    kalt shrunk

    literal translator: Cold cabinet
    actual meaning: refrigerator

    Salty

    disclaimer: assuming I remember my German correcly
     
  11. Archie the Preacher

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    James....

    And if someone who spoke English as a second language read this, the first thought might be "How can one be '...in another's face...'? The man must have a huge face!"

    Supposedly a true story: During the later part of the Second World War, the leaders of the U. K., U. S., and U. S. S. R. were meeting in secret. The NAZI intel people found out and a report was prepared for Hitler's review. Part of the report suggested the German Airforce bomb the meeting place and kill them all. Hitler rejected the idea as impossible.

    The man preparing the report/suggestion made the mistake of translating the information 'too much'. The report indicated the three Allied leaders were to meet in the 'white house'. It should have read 'Casablanca' (in Morocco).

    Your point is well taken.

    By the way, Rio Grande is better understood as 'big river' (as in long, not wide or deep); not 'awe-inspiring river'. Your point is still well taken.
     
  12. go2church

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    My point is that translation from one language to another requires paraphrase.
     
  13. JamesL

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    That's some funny stuff there. I laughed for about five minutes when I read that

    And thanks for seeing my point, even though some of the technicalities were a little stray :thumbs:
     
  14. John of Japan

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    Are you talking about the semantics or the syntax when you say this? Also, what is your definition of "word for word" when you say this? A lot depends on that.

    This is not the same as saying "all translation is paraphrase," which is what you said. I would say that all translators use paraphrase as a tool (what I call micro-paraphrase) sometimes, but not all translations are paraphrases (macro-paraphrase). No scholar I know, Bible or secular translation studies, would agree with that.

    By the way, is this your own definition or is it a quote? BB rules (not to mention normal politeness) ask that you source a quote.
     
    #14 John of Japan, Jan 19, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 19, 2014
  15. John of Japan

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    I disagree. Technically we are not doing paraphrasing but doing transformations, ala transformational grammar, when we translate. Both Dynamic Equivalence and Optimal Equivalence use transformational grammar in their explanations, but neither Eugene Nida (DE) or James Price (OE) say that that translation is paraphrase when they translate--they say they are doing transformations.
     
  16. Rippon

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    Would you really regard it as an authentic "translation" though? If it is "minus the paraphrasing" then all translations that are not as form-oriented are paraphrastic.
     
  17. Rippon

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    Yes,according to Merriam-Webster the #1 sense is:"A statement of a text,passage,or work giving the meaning in another form." A translation from one language to another certainly changes the form --it has to rephrase the original.
     
  18. Rippon

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    You're setting up a false antithesis. We usually mean something when we say something. LOL! What is said means something that may not be communicated by what is said alone.

    If an honest translator translates what is said that translator needs to convey what is meant. You can't get around that.
     
  19. JamesL

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    No, I'm not setting up a false antithesis. We usually do mean something when we say something, and there good examples of using a dynamic translation to convey a meaning.

    For instance, if I go in to a store and say "Give me two lottery tickets", I would not expect the clerk to think I want them for free.

    I would expect the clerk to understand that I would like to purchase two lottery tickets

    But there is a context in which that sort of translation would be done into a different language.

    Everyone except for an idiot would understand it the same way in the original language, and thus it would be only proper to convey it as what it meant, rather than what was said.

    But what if there is no consensus of what the original statement meant? Should a translator say what he thinks it means? Or should he simply translate what was said, and let the hearer be the judge?

    It may not be that big of a deal if we're talking about lottery tickets

    But there are a couple of REALLY critical places where some bible translations aim to tell people the intended meaning, when there is no consensus as to what a particular statement means in the context in which it was written.


    In Romans 7:18 & 25, the NIV translates sarki as sinful nature

    For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
    Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.


    But the word means flesh. The way the NIV translates it, makes it sound like some inner aspect of a man. I've heard analogies of two dogs. The one that gets fed grows bigger. Two natures within a man, one godly and one sinful, and all sorts of speculative meanings, because it is translated in such a way as to steer the reader into a certain doctrinal position

    But, verse 24, which is glossed over by many, clearly says
    What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this BODY that is subject to death?

    This is perfectly in line with Romans 5:15-18

    ...For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.

    and 1Corinthians 15:20-23
    But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

    and also 1Corinthians 15:42-44
    So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

    All of 1Corinthians 15 is CLEARLY in the context of physical death and resurrection, as is Romans 5. And remember that Romans 7 is only about 35 verses removed from chapter 5. There is absolutely ZERO warrant for injecting such a mystical understanding of "flesh" by the NIV translators.

    Why do you think Romans 4 ends with Paul mentioning the resurrection of Christ, then saying in Romans 5:1, 9-10

    Therefore, since we have been justified through faith.....Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

    How can we be saved by His life after being justified by His death? Saved from physical death, when we are resurrected in the likeness of His resurrection (life)

    And why would you imagine that Romans 8:18-19 says
    I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.

    Because the "sons" of God will be revealed when we are resurrected, at the return of Christ.
    Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (KJV)

    1Corinthians 15:23
    But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.


    All that from a simple mishandling of a single word in two places. Do you agree with my take on how Romans 5-8 all tie together, and coincide perfectly with 1Corinthians 15?

    If not, then there is no consensus, and thus we should be told what was said, not what someone "expert" thinks it is supposed to mean

    Injecting a doctrinal presupposition into one word can give someone a totally different look at these chapters. That simple dynamic translation interrupts the entire flow of context.

    The same mishandling of "children" in Romans 8:19, which should be rendered "sons"

    I won't go into it much, but the Hebrew understanding of a "son" was that of an heir, which reflects the thought of verse 17 - if children, then heirs. Heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.

    There is also the same type of mishandling at 1John 3:9 which says we are not able to sin. That's a big difference from the typical dynamic translation which steers the sheeple into a "habitual sin" doctrine. The actual wording fits well with Romans 7, where Paul says "It is no longer I who am doing it, but sin in me, that is in my flesh.

    The inner man is not capable of sinning, while the outer man is decaying because of sin.

    2Corinthians 4:16
    Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

    Our body is what is wasting away, this body of death

    It's definitely not a "sinful nature" that's wasting away, at least according to the mystical crowd who believe that a sinful nature is raging strong until the day we die.

    See, "sinful nature" is said to be inside, while "flesh" is outside

    Big difference, and shame on the NIV crowd
     
    #19 JamesL, Jan 20, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 20, 2014
  20. Rippon

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    Some things in Scripture are ambiguous;but most things are clear. Sometimes translators (because it's usually a team effort) have to be exegetes. They have to interpret --make choices.

    That's usually the gloss. But sarx has a wide semantic range. That's why good footnotes are useful. "In contexts like this,the Greek word for flesh (sarx) refers to the sinful state of human beings,often presented as a power in opposition to the Spirit."

    Well,indeed the NIV translators are experts. Do you even know who is on the team?

    In your estimation. However just three verses earlier it says:"we are God's children."
    Yeah,what's the problem? Spiritual children are co-heirs with Christ.
    ESV : "no one born of God makes a practice of sinning."
    NASBU: "No one who is born of God practices sin."
    NET : "Everyone who has been fathered by God does not practice sin."
    Certainly in 2 Cor.4:16 it is referencing the physical decay of the body. But that is a far cry from the subject of Romans 7:18,19. In the later it is not speaking of the body,but sinful,corrupt inclinations.
    Praise God!
     

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