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Discussion in 'Bible Versions & Translations' started by John of Japan, Mar 20, 2020.

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  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    On another thread the term "thought for thought" came up. I thought it would be helpful if we did a thread defining various translation theories or methods. Quote from someone else, or make up your own definitions. Either way is fine.

    I'll start with definitions of translation itself. Here are a couple of quotes from secular experts:

    “Translate: To render a word of text written in one language into another language, retaining the full and correct meaning of the word or text in the other language.”
    Pei and Gaynor Dictionary of Linguistics, 219.

    “What is generally understood as translation involves the rendering of a source language (SL) text into the target language (TL) so as to ensure that (1) the surface meaning of the two will be approximately similar and (2) the structures of the SL will be preserved as closely as possible but not so closely that the TL structures will be seriously distorted.”
    Susan Bassnett, Translation Studies, 3rd edition, 2002, 11.
     
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  2. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    What is that statement often mentioned : "It lost something in translation"
     
  3. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Too often true.
     
  4. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Why didn't the Holy Spirit inspire thought for thought instead of word by word?
     
  5. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    You'll have to ask Him about that. But verbal communication is extremely important to God. The trinity communicates to each other in words.
     
  6. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    Are you talking about the autograph copies or translations?
     
  7. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Originals!
     
  8. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    I found an interesting writing from a guy at York University in Toronto HERE. It does not appear to be Bible specific. Here are a few excerpts.
     
  9. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Dave Croteau claims that "Major Bible translations typically reflect one of three general philosophies: formal equivalence, functional equivalence, and optimal equivalence." Here is how he defines them:
    • Formal equivalence is called a word-for-word translation and attempts to translate the Bible as literally as possible, keeping the sentence structure and idioms intact if possible.
    • Functional equivalence is typically referred to as a thought-for-thought translation. This is an attempt to translate the text so it has the same effect on the current reader as it had on the ancient reader.
    • Optimal equivalence falls between the former approaches by balancing the tension between accuracy and ease of reading. While striving for precision in translation, it also seeks clarity to the modern day reader.
    ESV calls their process "essentially literal," a "translation that seeks as far as possible to capture the precise wording of the original text and the personal style of each Bible writer. As such, its emphasis is on 'word-for-word' correspondence, at the same time taking into account differences of grammar, syntax, and idiom between current literary English and the original languages." The NIV seems to avoid traditional definitions and calls theirs "a balanced approach." CSB likes the term "optimal equivalence." To me that comes off sort of like "we have the ability to get it right when others get it wrong."
     
    #9 rlvaughn, Mar 20, 2020
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  10. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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    I do no trust anyone to translate a thought. That is called interpretation
     
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  11. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    The Formal translations to me would be Nas/Nkjv/Kjv

    Optimal Csb/Esv

    Mediating Niv 2011/Nlt
     
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  12. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Verbal plenary inspiration is for the autographs. But please, this thread is about definitions, not the theology of inspiration. Do you have any definitions?

    Oops, this was not to me. Sorry. I actually thought it was Yeshua to me.
     
    #12 John of Japan, Mar 20, 2020
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  13. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
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    Via email or text messages?
     
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  14. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    I basically agree with you here. But I have to say that, contrary to popular opinion, sometimes the translator has to interpret before he translates. And then sometimes translation is an interpretation, even when translating literally.
     
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  15. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Good post!
    He's following Nida's terminology here, of course, except for the third one, which was delineated by James Price. I think he's too specific on "formal equivalence," though. I don't think the typical literal translator is going to try to keep the idioms, since they are not going to make sense in the target language most of the time.

    ESV calls their process "essentially literal," a "translation that seeks as far as possible to capture the precise wording of the original text and the personal style of each Bible writer. As such, its emphasis is on 'word-for-word' correspondence, at the same time taking into account differences of grammar, syntax, and idiom between current literary English and the original languages."

    In my thinking, the NIV is a somewhat functional equivalence translation, more literal than the Good News Bible, but still doing some dynamic renderings.

    This is kind of what all translators think about their method. :) Seriously, though, I believe that they called it OE because James Price was the OT general editor.
     
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  16. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Must have been their "heavenly" personal prayer language!
     
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  17. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Here is a short and simple definition of optimal equivalence from the NKJV preface:

    "Seeks to preserve all of the information in the text, while presenting it in good literary form.” Dr. Price was also the OT editor for the NKJV.

    Here is my own brief definition: A method of translation which seeks the optimal expression in the target language; that is, the expression which best reproduces the form and meaning of the original, while aiming at good literary style in the target language. OE uses transformational/generational grammar to achieve this goal.
     
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  18. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Here is the Nida & Tabor definition of translation.

    translation: the reproduction in a receptor language of the closest natural equivalent of the source language message, first in terms of meaning, and second in terms of style” (The Theory and Practice of Translation, Eugene Nida and Charles Taber, p. 208).

    Note that they say "message" instead of even saying "meaning." In other words, functional equivalence is actually a method of "scientific paraphrase," as James Price calls it. In reality it is a "thought for thought" method.
     
  19. Rippon2

    Rippon2 Active Member

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    No Bible translation takes place without interpretation.
     
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  20. Rippon2

    Rippon2 Active Member

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    The NLT is not in the mediating category. Name a Bible scholar who says that.

    The CSB is right in the center of the mediating translations along with the NET, NAB and the good ole' Norlie.

    So you are putting the CSB in the same turf as the ESV? Curious that you would say that when you rail against inclusive language all the time and you know that the difference between the CSB and NIV in that regard is minimal.
     
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