Word-For-Word?

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

  1. Rippon

    Rippon
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    When it comes to Bible translation does it really come down to using a so-called word-for-word method? First of all,I don't think it's possible most of the time.Also,I think the old adage about seeing the trees but missing the entire forest can be applied to those who hold to w-f-w.They focus on the individual words to the extent that the meaning may be obscured.

    Sometimes those with the best intentions are w-f-w advocates. They believe that it is the only God-honoring way to translate.I believe they are sincerely wrong.

    I think sentence-for-sentence, or phrase-for-phrase is a better way to approach the text.Apparently I am not alone in my belief. Wycliff's second version ( he had died 12 years prior),Luther's version ( many editions in his lifetime) and other worthy Bible translations used sense-for-sense.Word units are too small to work from alone -- in isolation from the context of the surounding sentences.

    Versions which are advertised as being w-f-w such as the ESV do not live up to their billing anyway.Non w-f-w translations like TNIV use basically the same translational style.The w-f-w hype is just that.
     
  2. nunatak

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    Every translation is actually a paraphrase. There is no way to do true word for word.
     
    #2 nunatak, Aug 3, 2008
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  3. Rippon

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    No,I don't agree. "Every translation is a paraphrase"?! I don't think those who prefer the KJV,NKJ,NASBU etc. would concur.Do you really think that the TEV,CEV etc. are in the same category as the former versions I mentioned?

    What I think you mean is that every translation is to some extent an interpretation.Some strive to reproduce the form of the original as much as possible;others attempt to convey the meaning with less of a form-driven methodology.MBT = Meaning-based-translations are more functionally equivalent and try to communicate the meaning as much as possible in order for the target audience to understand the original text.
     
  4. Manny Rodriguez

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    Dr. H.D.Williams, vice pres. of the Dean Burgon Society, wrote an excellent book on this subject entitled Word-for-Word Translating of the Received Texts: Verbal Plenary Translating. There are lot of misconceptions about Formal Equivalence translating (word for word translating). Dr. Williams explains on pg. 4:

     
  5. Manny Rodriguez

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    It is important to understand the difference between Dynamic Equivalence (translating the message) and Formal Equivalence (word-for-word). FE let's the words determine the message. DE let's the message determine the words. The danger of trying to let the message determine the words when translating is that it makes man the authority rather than God's words. Man becomes the interpreter of the message. What if his interpretation is wrong?
     
  6. Manny Rodriguez

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    Understanding that DE translating lets the message determine the words, another danger must be identified. Once the translator goes beyond the realm of translating by becoming an interpreter, he then puts himself in the danger of violating Duet. 4:2, Pro. 30:6-7, and Rev. 22:18-19. Translating the message rather than the words may cause the translator to omit or unnessasarily add words; thus corrupting the text.
     
  7. franklinmonroe

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    What you said is true, Manny. However, it is logically incomplete. Man is not somehow removed in FE; man is still the 'authority' in FE. It just makes man the interpreter of words; but what if his interpretation of the words is wrong? It affects the message. Words and message cannot be separated.
     
  8. nunatak

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    No, I meant paraphrase. Translations take the original quotes and attempt to say the same thing but in different words. Sounds like a paraphrase to me, imo. Perhaps what I should say is that all translations are to "an extent" paraphrases. So to that point the term interpretation should work the same way.
     
    #8 nunatak, Aug 4, 2008
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  9. franklinmonroe

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    You have interpreted these verses literally to apply to translation. Yet, you know (I think) that every translation omits and adds words; that is why you are compelled to insert the subjective term "unnecessarily". I don't interpret these verses in a manner which would make them apply to issues of translation.
     
    #9 franklinmonroe, Aug 4, 2008
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  10. franklinmonroe

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    The terms have some slight overlap. However, 'paraphrase' should be understood as a restatement of a text or passage in another form or other words within the same language, with the goal to clarify or simplify meaning. Primarily, 'translate' should be understood as to render from one (source) language into another completely different (target) language.

    There is often confusion about the proper label for some Bible texts (such as The Message). But loose translation is technically not the same as paraphrase, although the results may be similar.
     
  11. Marcia

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    I agree that loose translation and parapharse are different. The Message is a paraphrase - I think it was acknowledged as such when it came out (I could be wrong on that) but it's treated as though it's a translation and is sometimes called that. However, it doesn't take long to look at it side-by-side with a NKJV, NASB, ESV, or NIV to see it is a paraphrase. Peterson even adds things in that are not in the text at all. Other times, things are changed or left out (at least compared to the other versions). I'm not talking a word or two.

    I use several versions and have tried several but like the Formal Equivalence translations best, like the NASB or NKJV, which are the two I use the most. I've tried dynamic translations like the New Century, New Living, and NIV but don't like them as much. The ESV seems a lot like the NASB, though I have never owned an ESV Bible.

    Can't stand The Message.
     
  12. nunatak

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    I think the exact term to define The Message is Vivid Relevance, or Response Oriented. Indeed, in the preface to The Message, Peterson actually states it was a new version. This would mean it is not a paraphrase.
     
  13. Manny Rodriguez

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    Man was not removed from the original autographs when God moved men to write his God-breathed words. So that's a moot point. Man is to be the mere instrument of God. Let's be real. The vast majority of words have an obvious formal equivalent. I took 3 years of Greek. Translating word for word is not as difficult as people make it out to be. Yes there are times when a certain word will not always have a clear-cut equivalent in the receptor language. But in such cases the translator will have to seek out what the closest representative, whether it be one word or more than one word, to that base word is. In such a case man is still not the authority because the word of the source language is still dictating to the man how it should be translated.
     
  14. Manny Rodriguez

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    I think the principles of these verses are quite obvious, especially in light of Mat. 4:4. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. According to this verse, EVERY WORD is vital to our spiritual well-being. So that plus the warnings of Duet. 4:2, Pro. 30:6-7, & Rev. 22:18-19 behooves the translator to accurately translate EVERY word. Omitting anything or adding to it makes a corruption. I said "unnecessarily add" because it is understood that the nature of languages will sometimes require the addition of words that clarify. This is not a corruption. That is the nature of translating. And thank God for honest translators like the KJV translators that revered God's words enough to render the words given for clarification in italics. All this is understandable especially when considering that the Holy Spirit allowed for the same in the NT whenever a NT author quoted the OT.

    Translating in a way that the rendering makes sense is one thing. But adding to the text due to an interpretation is another thing (a corruption).
     
    #14 Manny Rodriguez, Aug 4, 2008
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  15. Manny Rodriguez

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    Again I repeat. Adding words that cause the translation to make grammatical sense is understandable. But adding words due to interpretation is corruption. It's called an interpolation.

    Here are examples:

    1. I Pet. 5:13 "The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son." (KJV)

    If we take out the italicized words of the translators the verse would read:

    "The at Babylon, elected together with, saluteth you; and Marcus my son."

    Obviously, some clarifiation is needed for this formal equivalent translation. Such clarification is acceptable.

    2. Now here's an example of unnecessary adding of words.

    I Pet. 2:2 "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby" (KJV)

    Many modern versions add to the end of this verse to read, "that ye may grow thereby unto salvation"

    Those of us who hold to the Traditional or Byzantine type of text believe the words "unto salvation" to be a corruption, an interpolation, an unnecessary addition. These words are from Alexandrian manuscripts. Those of us who recognize the Received Texts as the true representatives of the Original Authographs believe these Alexandrian words to be corrupt.

    It is common knowledge amongst Bible scholars dating all the way back to Iraneus that there were those with a Gnostic influence who deliberately corrupted and altered scriptures to fit their interpretations as early as the 2nd century. We believe that many of these corruptions that have persisted to today can be identified by comparison to the Tradition Received Texts and manuscripts.

    I hope these examples help to show the difference between words that are the result of honest translating and deliberate corruptions due to erroneous interpretation.
     
  16. EdSutton

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    Not sure 'zackly why, but my "Spidey sense" keeps wanting to go into "full alert" around this thread. ;)

    Ed
     
  17. EdSutton

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    Not to mention my 'discerning of spirits' seismometer, which just jumped completely off the scale.

    Ed
     
  18. EdSutton

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    Oh yeah - :tear:

    [Sigh!]

    Ed
     
  19. Rippon

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    The Message is a loose translation.Dr.Peterson knows the original languages.His translation is unduly free though. Actually, for a real translation he prefers the NRSV.

    The NIV should not be lumped in with the New Century Version or others you did not mention such as the CEV,TEV,the old Living Bible etc.The NIV is a lightly dynamic translation.It primarily leans more toward the more formally-equivalent category.

    The similarities between the NIV,ESV and NASBU are greater than the differences in basic translational styles.I'd venture to say that the NLTse has more in common with the HCSB rather than the more dynamically-equivalent versions such as the CEV,NCV,TEV, etc.
     
  20. franklinmonroe

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    Well, by your requirements you must: think that ALL Bibles are corrupt (including the KJV); or you don't have a clue; or you delude yourself. Care to pick one? Perhaps you'd like to rethink your definitions.
     
    #20 franklinmonroe, Aug 4, 2008
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