Why Would the More Literal translations NOT be best ones?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by JesusFan, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. JesusFan

    JesusFan
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    Think common assumption here is that the more literal/formal equivalent a bible version is, better that it must be...

    is that so?
     
  2. preachinjesus

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    Because they don't adequately communicate the thought behind a passage. Often idiomatic and other genric devices don't translate well....even in a "literal" translation.
     
  3. John of Japan

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    It depends on your presuppositions. I believe in verbal plenary inspiration of the autographs, so I believe every word and grammatical form of the original text should be translated, and nothing should be added in the translated text that does not have a clear basis in the original. Having said that, there is a limit to literal. Idioms should only be translated literally if they make sense or are paralleled in the target language. Again, I believe that the translation should read smoothly.

    I don't believe in verbal plenary inspiration of anything but the Bible, so I may translate secular texts more freely. But the Bible being inspired of God means we should be more careful about its translation. Jerome, the translator of the Vulgate, recognized this and wrote about it. Eugene Nida did too, and his lack of a belief in verbal inspiration colored his approach.
     
  4. Van

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    I think the concept that you cannot do a better job using formal equivalence because "idioms" sometimes do not mean what the words taken individually mean is overblown. Many examples exist where translators have added words to be helpful, but were unnecessary to convey what was actually said in the original.

    Recently Rippon posted some excerpts from the comfort book on Mark, showing how copiests, not even translators, felt compelled to "fix" the text with their own inventions. So whether we are talking the ESV additions, or the NIV additions, or the words in italics in the NKJV or NASB, we see the same pattern of translators thinking they should adulterate the inspired text to make it more clear. Fiddlesticks.
     
  5. JesusFan

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    I also belive in the originals being inspired by God in same exact manner, just curious, what you do with passages in hebrew text that has areas where it was 'corrupted", in the sense that some of the text had parts almost like scribes 'filled it in/made educated guess"

    Do you tend to do as some modern versions do, based prominently on the Hebrew text as extant, and fill in those minor spots from other sources?

    Do you tend to stay with mainly just a Greek text, not an "eceltic" one?
     
  6. John of Japan

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    Now you're getting into the area of textual criticism rather than strictly translation. I'm afraid I'm not up on OT textual criticism, so I can't help you there. In NT textual criticism my position is Byzantine priority. I believe the eclectic method (UBS Greek NT) is flawed, and its methodology subjective.
     
  7. Martin Marprelate

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    Exactly right IMO! :thumbs: The Bible text is not ours to muck about with. Reverence is an important atribute, both in a worshipper and in a translator.

    Steve

    Steve
     
  8. John of Japan

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    I had a completely lost, Japanese Buddhist door-to-door salesman tell me once that he felt the Japanese translations of the Bible were not reverent enough--too colloquial!
     
  9. Van

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    What is wrong with obliterating idioms in translation? Lets take 1 Cor. 7:1 where the inspired text reads "touch a woman" which apparently is a idiom for having sexual relations.
    So the NIV and the ESV rewrite the text, removing touch a woman and inserting their own invention sexual relations. So far so good. But then if you look at Proverbs 6:29 you see where the OT guideline uses the idiom and that link is broken. So if you rewrite an idiom in one place, you really need to rewrite it everywhere it appears in scripture so that the link is not broken.

    As for me, they should have translated the idiom and footnoted Proverbs 6:29 to provide the meaning of the idiom.
     
  10. preachinjesus

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    Reverence is, much like taste, in the eye of the beholder...or context...

    That said you make a good point. I do think we've lost a bit of the nature of transcendence when we boil the Bible down to the lowest grammatical denominator. Some contemporary versions are lackluster English form.

    My struggle, however, still stands that aspects of both Greek and Hebrew are so outmoded that it doesn't produce a smooth and accessible translation. The word order in Hebrew alone is difficult to consistently maintain. Also the philosophical ideas behind some of the structures vary fro Hebrew to Greek. There's a lot here to consider.

    Maybe the question is, do we translate some Bibles for less spiritually (here I guess I'd have to include intellectually) mature believers? Others for more mature believers?

    Honestly this is difficult. For when I am in the initial steps of discipling someone who is a new believer I start off with a simple, dynamically equivalent translation like the NIV or NLT. As we walk together for a while and as they grow in their spiritual maturity I move towards the more formally equivalent translations.

    In my personal study the translations I produce (but never read aloud in public) are very rigid, formal, and unweildy things that use old or complex language. It speaks to me...but few others.

    I wonder how we proceed with this? Granted not everyone is, nor ever will be, only committed to a highly complicated, highly structured translation. There are a lot of people who have grown deeper in their theology and spirituality by using a version like the NLT or such...even the Message.

    Anyhoo...I don't know...maybe I'm meandering...;)
     
  11. Van

    Van
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    Why do people like to filter the text and add what they like? I think the TR has about 10% more words than the CT. Then we get something like the ESV which adds still more words.
    And all along the line of corruption, we have those, who like the additions, inventing reasons, none of which stand up to study.
     
  12. John of Japan

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    To me, the word order of the Greek or Hebrew seldom should be followed in the translation. To do so produces an interlinear translation, not a normal literal translation. The early (1st-4th) century educators would sometimes produce this kind of translation or require it from their students, which is what I believe Jerome was opposing in his Letter to Pammachius (par. 11), where he says, "How many are the phrases charming in Greek which, if rendered word for word, do not sound well in Latin, and again how many there are that are pleasing to us in Latin, but which— assuming the order of the words not to be altered— would not please in Greek." (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3001057.htm)

    It is the grammatical forms and lexical units that carry the meaning in Greek or Hebrew. Word order in Japanese also has little to do with the meaing. In translating from English, word order can alter the nuance and must be considered--but then we're not translating from English, right?
     
  13. John of Japan

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    Where in the world did you get this bogus figure? Do you have a source?

    A quick look at the TR text of 3 John reveals a word count of 220. A CT I have has 211. That's just 11 words different, hardly 10%.
     
    #13 John of Japan, Nov 28, 2011
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  14. Deacon

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    ...but it is 9

    Rob
     
  15. Martin Marprelate

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    You seem to be a little confused here. To filter something is to remove stuff, not to add anything.
    Your 10% figure is plucked from the air, but the TR and MT do have more words than the CT. My view is that a copyist would be far more likely to leave something out by accident than to put something in.
    The reasons for taking stuff out, which Rippon inflicts upon us so often, either provide no reasons at all, or spurious ones.

    Steve
     
    #15 Martin Marprelate, Nov 28, 2011
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  16. Deacon

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    I worked through 1 Cor 7:1 in SS class last week. The idiom "s*xuPal relations" used in the ESV is fairly well documented in Greek extra-biblical literature. However the NIV84 went to far in its translation "It is good for a man not to marry" ... this was corrected in the TNIV and the recent update to the NIV.

    “It is good for a man not to have s*xu*al relations with a woman.”
    1 Corinthians 7:1 (NIV)

    As for being consistent and translating Proverbs similarly; it was written much earlier and with different language traditions. Different rules apply.

    Rob
     
  17. Martin Marprelate

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    In my experience, if a believer is unable to read a modern-language formal euivalence Bible, he'll have the same trouble with a dynamic equivalence one. Build young Christians up; don't dumb them down! If a new believer doesn't understand something, encourage him to come to you and ask; that's the way he'll learn.

    For non-believers, any translation is fine, except the Message and the CEV, which are only good for fixing wobbly tables.

    Steve
     
  18. Rippon

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    For the unchurched new believer or a person who is interested in reading the Bible I would certainly suggest something along the lines of the NLTse. One really doesn't need to be pumped with a lot of Biblish which is rather confusing.
     
  19. Rippon

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    To clarify: Comfort gives reasons why the TR and often the Majority Text has added things. There have been a host of interpolations by the latter two.

    "No reasons"? Hardly. The antiquity of the WH NU readings in general are a testament to their authenticity. That,and their diversity.

    The additions of the TR and supported by the Majority Text are certainly spurious. Because they have been added.
     
  20. Rippon

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    Hey,Steve Steve. Why must you say such things about translators who have given of themselves for the service of the Church?
     

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