1. Welcome to Baptist Board, a friendly forum to discuss the Baptist Faith in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to all the features that our community has to offer.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!

Featured Bible Translation from Hebrew/Greek or English?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions & Translations' started by Jordan Kurecki, Apr 20, 2019.

  1. Jordan Kurecki

    Jordan Kurecki Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2013
    Messages:
    1,911
    Likes Received:
    126
    Faith:
    Baptist
    Ok, so many of you may know, but I plan to spend my life reaching the Nubi tribe of Uganda, and they do not have the Bible in their language, I am currently learning Hebrew and Greek to prepare for it, the difficulty of Hebrew really has me thinking and question about Bible translation in general.

    Do translations really have to be/is it better to be based on Hebrew and Greek, or is it sufficient to translate from English?

    Can one truly learn Hebrew and Greek even to a point of proficiency where it's really a practical trade-off for the time spent in learning the languages?

    Have computer programs eliminated the need or bridged the gap enough to aid in translations?

    I am hoping people like John of Japan or others who have spent time learning Greek and/or Hebrew could comment.

    Maybe I just need someone to tell me to suck it and up and just keep on keeping on.
     
  2. McCree79

    McCree79 Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2015
    Messages:
    2,184
    Likes Received:
    292
    Faith:
    Baptist
    You really need to use the orginal language. As you know I english is a translation that does not go word for word with the Greek (it can't). If you take a translation and make a translation from it, you are further removing the readings from the orginal. At times the first translation must have some dynamic readings. You then may find yourself with a dynamic translation of a dynamic translation that looks nothing like the orginal.

    To paraphrase Micheal Keaton in one of his movies, "a copy of a copy is not near as sharp as the original". :)

    As a translator, you likely want ge the natives a NT before the OT anyway. It is going to take a long time to make a translation into their language. I would just focus on the NT, study up on your Hebrew. Perhaps by the time you are done with the NT you can move to the OT.



    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Rob_BW

    Rob_BW Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2015
    Messages:
    4,275
    Likes Received:
    1,224
    Faith:
    Baptist
    Suck it up and keep on keeping on. ;)

    You've got this, Jordan. We're all rooting for you and the successful completion of this work you've been convicted to accomplish. May God bless you and this project.
    :Thumbsup
     
    #3 Rob_BW, Apr 20, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  4. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    50,198
    Likes Received:
    2,588
    Faith:
    Baptist
    A translation should come off of the original languages text, as that one would be the one closest to what God intended for us to have for today as His word....
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    17,164
    Likes Received:
    1,285
    Faith:
    Baptist
    Believe it or not, Hebrew is actually easier than Greek in most areas. The only area I see as being more difficult is vocabulary, because Greek has a lot more words that became English. But any language is hard to learn--takes character and a lot of work. I don't mean to be harsh, but if you can't put in the necessary effort to learn a dead language with a limited number of words in it, you'll never learn a language like Nubi, which is not even Indo-European.
    A translation from an intermediate language is called a double translation, and they are never as accurate as one from the original language. One reason (there are others) is that there are grammatical elements in the original language that may or may not transfer to the first target language (English, let's say). Consider the Greek perfect tense, which has the verbal aspect of an event in the past, the results of which continue. Now, that is very hard to get into English, but may be possible to get into the Creole Arabic of the Nubi. If you go from English, then, you are losing the nuances of the original language.

    Robert Patton translated the Bible into Sranantongo, though he "had no real training in Hebrew and Greek" (Issues in Missiology: Thoughts About Translation, p. 29). But he did his best to keep to the original languages to the best of his ability, and wrote, "The translation cannot be good if it does not reflect the actual words of the original text from the Textus Receptus and Masoretic text (Ibid, p. 84).
    Absolutely! And you learn so much Bible and theology while translating, you wouldn't believe it!
    There are many computer programs which can help you with the original meanings for translation work; Logos, BibleWorks, Accordance, etc. There are several programs which can help in the translation process (telling you how you translated a word in other contexts, etc.) (I know of 3 of these.) However, though Google Translate and similar programs have become better and better for modern languages, I know of no computer program designed to translate from the Hebrew and Greek to any modern language. You still have to do the hard, time-consuming, spiritual work in Bible translation.
    Let me put it this way. (1) If you are not gifted in languages (i.e., consider learning Greek and Hebrew to be a burden rather than a joy), then you had better not become a translator. (2) If you can't learn Hebrew and Greek, then you will have some huge problems learning another language.
     
    #5 John of Japan, Apr 22, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
    • Informative Informative x 1
  6. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Messages:
    1,049
    Likes Received:
    139
    Faith:
    Baptist
    Yet SIL seems to function under the assumption that those who do not know Hebrew or Greek are indeed able to learn some current ethnic language and make a reasonably accurate translation from an English version into that language.

    Am I seeing a methodological disconnect here?
     
  7. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    17,164
    Likes Received:
    1,285
    Faith:
    Baptist
    SIL's emphasis is mostly on the languages of unreached people groups. My colleague who is finishing up her MA with them is doing her thesis on the Hmong language, and has shared with me a lot of what she is doing. SIL gives the tools to analyze a spoken language (phonology, morphology, semantics, syntax) and come to enough understanding of that language to do a translation. That's a great service to world missions, I feel.

    On the other hand, I think there is a methodological disconnect. The literal methods (if we may call them that for convenience) are weighted towards the original source languages (Hebrew and Aramaic and Greek), but the SIL method (meaning based translation, it's called nowadays) is weighted toward the target language. Here are a couple of quotes from Mildred Larson that illustrate that:

    "Meaning-based translations make every effort to communicate the meaning of the source language text in the natural forms of the receptor language. Such translations are called idiomatic translations" (Meaning-Based Translation, 17).

    "Translation is much more than finding word equivalences. The source text structures must be abandoned for the natural receptor language structures without significant loss or change of meaning" (ibid, 207).
     
  8. Jordan Kurecki

    Jordan Kurecki Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2013
    Messages:
    1,911
    Likes Received:
    126
    Faith:
    Baptist
    Well, to be quite frank, I find learning dead language to be completely different from learning a living language. When I am in Uganda I will actually have speakers of Nubi that I can interact with and surround myself with, for Hebrew I can't do that. It is much easier to learn a living language that you can be immersed in than trying to learn Hebrew from lectures and books (In my opinion). To me it's like the difference between trying to learn how to fix an engine from a manual and then having someone there actually taking it apart in front of you.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2000
    Messages:
    13,841
    Likes Received:
    1,935
    Faith:
    Baptist
    Jordan, to my thinking, it's a matter of goals. In your case, it's a matter of producing the best possible edition of the Scriptures until there are folks who are fluent in Nubi and Hebrew and Greek. That may take a generation or two. Right now, you've got folks that are fluent in English and Nubi. I would be afraid of letting perfection get in the way of good enough for the time being.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  10. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    17,164
    Likes Received:
    1,285
    Faith:
    Baptist
    I've learned and taught both "dead" (Greek) and "living" languages (Japanese, English). Frankly, either way you have to learn lots of vocabulary and grammar. I don't see much difference. It's a lot of work either way. And I stick to my guns that learning Greek and Hebrew will help you with other languages.

    If I'm not mistaken, you are pursuing a degree completely online. That's a difficult task--no mentor, no live interaction with other students, etc. I personally don't recommend that, but if that's how the Lord has lead you....
     
  11. Jordan Kurecki

    Jordan Kurecki Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2013
    Messages:
    1,911
    Likes Received:
    126
    Faith:
    Baptist
    Yes it has been difficult.but I am slowly picking it up. I find reading Hebrew and translating into English to be rather easier, I get rather frustrated trying to go from English to Hebrew though!
     
  12. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    17,164
    Likes Received:
    1,285
    Faith:
    Baptist
    I know that feeling. I do not require my Greek students to translate from English to Greek--our textbook doesn't have exercises for that. However, back in the day Machen's Greek grammar made students do that.

    But think about it. You will translate from Hebrew into your African language, right? So it's all good!
     
  13. Gorship

    Gorship Active Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2013
    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    50
    Faith:
    Baptist
    Which text books do you use? Im interested in learning greek/Hebrew but have no room for school in my life hah.

    Sent from my CLT-L04 using Tapatalk
     
  14. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    17,164
    Likes Received:
    1,285
    Faith:
    Baptist
    Learn to Read New Testament Greek, by David Alan Black. I think it is quite usable for personal study. Go for it! (I don't teach Hebrew, my son does, but I could ask about his textbook if you want.)
     
  15. Eliyahu

    Eliyahu Active Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2005
    Messages:
    4,846
    Likes Received:
    12
    Faith:
    Baptist
    I have been translating the Bible from Greek and Hebrew into Korean since 2000.
    I could finish the translation of Greek NT into Korean within 3 years.
    But the Hebrew portion has never been easy and I am in Deuteronomy yet though I had to work in the meantime. The actual time spent for Hebrew Masoretic text, Ben Chayyim Masorah may be only 7 years, so 10 years in total. I have reactivated my translation since last year, but it is very slow now because I have to check many things and backgrounds, and the consistency in rendering the words.

    If you intend to preach the Gospel, then you'd better give up the Translation of the Bible.
    If you intend to translate the Bible, you'd better give up Preaching the Gospel in Uganda, IMO.


    So, if you do the evangelical work in Uganda, I think you have to choose a certain Bible like New King James Version or KJV.
    Then if you encounter any doubts about the translation, you'd better consult with
    www.blueletterbible.org
    There might be some more sites for comparison.
    There are some spiritual gains from the translation work, but the differences between texts in original languages and the good existing translations are not so much as to change the preachings of the Gospel. The existing translation of KJV or NKJV for the colloquial language may be enough for the salvation, even though I have found many differences and discrepancies between KJV and Original Language Texts.
    I know KJV translated Poimen in Ephesians 4:11 into pastor, but it should read Shepherd. But that kind of differences can be taught separately.
    If you don't devote a lot of time for the translation, it will result in another version of many common modern translations.
    May God guide you to the right directions.

    Eliyahu
     
  16. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    17,164
    Likes Received:
    1,285
    Faith:
    Baptist
    Praise the Lord, who has given you a wonderful task. Has the NT been printed?

    Let me see if I understand what you are saying. Surely you are not saying that a Bible translator should not win souls, right? Every believer must obey the Great Commission.

    Are you saying that a Bible translator must do that full time, and cannot be a pastor, evangelist, etc.? If that is what you mean, then I also disagree. I believe that unless the Bible translator is serving God faithfully, he or she will not understand the texts being translated. One must live a fruitful Christian life to be a spiritual translator.

    The translation will take much longer if the translator is serving God full time, but I believe it will be more accurate.
    What you may be missing is that there is no Bible whatsoever in the Nubi language--none. It is not a matter of choosing a KJV type or some other type of Bible. There are none to choose. It being Africa, there is probably a lingua franca for the people group Jordan will work with of English or French. But the Nubi people need a Bible in their heart language, and that is Jordan's goal. But as a non-native speaker, his task will not be to translate it all himself, but to teach and lead translators from the target people group. So, Jordan's task will be quite different from yours.
    I agree with this.
    Again, his translation will be the only Bible in the Nubi language. But I agree that he must be committed to spending many years of his life in the effort, as you have done.
     
    • Winner Winner x 2
  17. Jordan Kurecki

    Jordan Kurecki Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2013
    Messages:
    1,911
    Likes Received:
    126
    Faith:
    Baptist
    According to Noah Webster 1828
    P`ASTOR, n. [L. from pasco, pastum, to feed.]

    1. A shepherd; one that has the care of flocks and herds.
     
  18. Eliyahu

    Eliyahu Active Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2005
    Messages:
    4,846
    Likes Received:
    12
    Faith:
    Baptist
    I thought about publishing the NT portion first, but didn't do it as the main battle field is in OT in terms of the time for the translation.
    In the previous post, I didn't cover all the aspects of the translation, but the reason why I said we cannot do the evangelical work together with the translation of the Bible is because of the magnitude of the work when we do it from the original languages.
    If I had translated KJV or YLT into Korean, it would have taken only 2 years.
    But the translation from Hebrew and Greek is totally different.
    You already indicate that the translation may be done by several more people. It will cause another problems too as I already notice many problems in OT because KJV was translated by several teams and their principles were changed depending on the books. For example, KJV ignored the plural and singular of the words many times by rendering Singular to Plural. KJV translates Hataot into Purified in Numbers 8:21, but it meant the sin offering by spraying the ash water stored outside the camp as mentioned in Hebrews 9:13. Someone brought me Job 4:20 as KJV says " they perish forever" and he had to answer the JW. But the < forever> is the translation from Netsa which can be translated into
    < after the consumption of the life>, and it was talking about the consumption of the life.
    There are some more errors misleading the readers.

    But, if there is no Bible to preach with in Uganda, then Jordan may have to translate it from English Bible into Nubi language bible first, thereafter he can translate Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Nubi language later.

    In the meantime, he can do both, but we must keep in mind it takes a lot of time and the entire concentration on the translation can lead to the discovery of the deeper meanings of the Bible.
    Otherwise, we may add one more version of the same accuracy with the similitude as the existing bibles.
    Also, I often debate and preach the Gospel whenever I encounter the people, which inspires me with many thoughts. That's why it has taken 10 years plus another 10 years of idle time for me so far and I expect I need another 5 years on a full time basis since my retirement.
    I am not sure if Jordan can find several more people with the sufficient language skills for Hebrew and Greek in a short period, and start the translation by splitting the portions of the Bible for the groups.
    So, we have to consider many aspects of the work as the scale and the magnitude of the translation of the Bible from the original languages are huge.

    God Bless.

    Eliyahu
     
    #18 Eliyahu, May 25, 2019
    Last edited: May 25, 2019
  19. Eliyahu

    Eliyahu Active Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2005
    Messages:
    4,846
    Likes Received:
    12
    Faith:
    Baptist
    I hope you read my post answering to John.

    As for Ephesians 4:11, the Shepherd is the Gift, not the Office.

    There are only 2 Offices in NT Assemblies. One is Elder and the other is Deacon
    Elder is also called Overseer as Acts 20:17 tells us Paul called the Elders of Ephesian church ( Plural Elders from a Singular Church) and called them Overseers in 20:28. Where was the Pastor of Ephesian Church?
    Phil 1:1, Paul wrote to Overseers, Deacons and the Saints in Philippi. Where was the pastor?
    Paul explained the qualification of the Elders and Deacons in 1 Tim 3:1-13 and in Titus 1:5-9
    What is the requirements for Pastors?
    James ( Jacob) asked the people to call Elders when they get sick, not the Pastors( 5:14)
    Peter called himself as Co-Elder( 1 Pet 5:1) Apostle John called himself < Elder. ( 2 John 1- , 3 John 1-)
    Paul preached the Gospel everywhere and establish the church in every city, then he appointed the Elders, not the pastors, for each church ( Acts 14:22-23). There was no Pastor in Early Churches.
    So, the Clergy system is a human invention and a Babylonian Religion.

    If you cannot point out such deep truth thru the translation, you are just adding another bunch of the modern translations in the same accuracy and there is no need for the translation from the original languages, but just translate from the English Bibles as there is no problem for the people to be saved even by the common Bibles.


    God Bless

    Eliyahu
     
  20. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    17,164
    Likes Received:
    1,285
    Faith:
    Baptist
    Part of the solution is to study Hebrew and Greek hard until one is fluent enough in them. Also, the longer you translate from the original languages the easier it gets. Your fluency increases in proportion to the effort to translate.
    I agree that there are problems in a committee translation, as you have delineated. However, I've never heard of a missionary translation being done with several committees, though there may be one out there. Usually there are too few translators to have more than one committee, because as Jesus said, "The harvest is plenteous but the laborers are few." In our Japanese translation, there was one day when we had six translators there, but usually there were only two or three.
    My belief is that if there is no other way, sure, a translation can be from the English. But if the translator is trained in Hebrew and Greek, that is the best way.

    Great! I hope to hear someday that you have finished, to the glory of God.
    The way translation efforts are doing the task now is usually to train the native speaker translators in Hebrew and Greek, and then act as a translation consultant to the effort. This is how it is done among fundamentalists nowadays through Bibles International, WorldView Ministries, etc.
    You are absolutely correct. Bible translation is not for the lazy or faint of heart. This is true for translations from both the original languages and from the English. And it takes special dedication to make it all the way to the end

    Years ago in the 1970's & 80's there was a TR based translation effort in Japan. They did print up a trial version of Mark, and eventually had a whole first draft of the NT in handwritten form. But they never finished the job, and now no one knows where the manuscript is.
     
    • Winner Winner x 1
Loading...