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Featured The "Mechanical Translation"--You must be joking!

Discussion in 'Bible Versions & Translations' started by John of Japan, Nov 27, 2019.

  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    I know, I have another thread going. But I had to get this one going just to point out some absurdities.

    In the recent KJVO book on translation mentioned in the other thread, A Practical Theology of Bible Translating, by Steve Combs, there is a resource section in the Appendices on pp. 257-259. He recommends some really useless stuff there, but this one caught my eye: Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible, by Jeff Brenner, since I had never heard of it. Check it out at: https://www.amazon.com/Ancient-Hebr...nt+hebrew+lexicon+of+the+bible,aps,239&sr=8-1

    Now, Jeff Brenner apparently has no training at all--not even a BA. That doesn't make his work unacceptable, just needing careful examination. It is possible to become fluent in the original languages and understand Bible translation without any training, but quite rare. Brenner's lack of training shows up in a number of ways which I hope this thread will bring out.

    Here is his website: The Ancient Hebrew Research Center

    Here is where you can evaluate his Mechanical Translation: Comparisons between the MT and other translations. Someone really needs to tell him that what he has done is simply an interlinear translation. Also, he seems to have no concept of Biblical semantics, since he translates words by concordance (every rendering of a given word the same in the target language).
     
  2. Ziggy

    Ziggy Active Member
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    This is much the same as the so-called "Concordant" translation, created by one man (Knoch) and his followers who also happen to hold several cultic and non-orthodox positions.

    Aside from the fact that the resultant text is often unintelligible due to breaking words down into their component parts (think "butterfly" and see what you get), the purely mechanical nature of the treatment of the Greek text (with accompanying pseudo-"lexicon" and "concordance" leaves virtually everything to be found wanting.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    The advent of the Internet makes it possible for anyone with a little knowledge (a dangerous thing) to do their own "translation."

    By the way, on this guy's website there are literally hundreds of files, making who knows what kind of mistakes. Just one example is a Youtube video that "explains" to us what textual criticism is. It's a mess.
     
  4. davidtaylorjr

    davidtaylorjr Well-Known Member

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    Oh boy.....scary.
     
  5. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Just knowing the word behind the translation does not give a word's grammatical usaged, nor cover idioms. The Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible does not for the most part explain any grammar. Which I had used as a tool for my personal Bible study since 1968. The many examples in the KJV of single words translated by more than one English word or even by short phrases. Just saying.
     
  6. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Check out the MT's Gen. 1:1-3:

    1. In the summit Elohiym shaped the skies and the land,
    2 and the land had existed in confusion and was unfilled, and darkness was upon the face of the deep water and the wind of Elohiym was fluttering upon the face of the waters,
    3 and Elohiym said, light will exist, and light existed.

    Hard to know where to begin. Really--"In the summit...." What in the world does that mean? Here is the definition of ראשׁית (rê'shı̂yth) which he labels "summit" from BDB (accessed through e-Sword):

    1) first, beginning, best, chief
    1a) beginning
    1b) first
    1c) chief
    1d) choice part

    It occurs in 49 verses in the OT, often translated as "first" or "firstfruits. Here are several where "beginning" is the clear meaning (there are many others):

    Gen. 10:10--And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.
    Gen. 49:3--Reuben, thou art] my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:
    Deut. 11:12--A land which the LORD thy God careth for: the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.

    I don't see a single place in those 49 verses where "summit" can be the meaning. So where does the MT translator get this meaning? If I could figure it out I would tell you!
     
  7. Ziggy

    Ziggy Active Member
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    Who needs to be tied down to a lexICON when one can make up his own uniquely rendered definitions as in the Mechanical Translation or simply use the KJV to settle the point permanently, like Riplinger?
     
  8. Ziggy

    Ziggy Active Member
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    He's getting "summit" from ראשי ההרים in Gen 8:5 or ראש ההר In Ex 19:20 and elsewhere. To those who don't insist on a "one word fits all" type of Concordant definition, the concept is seen for the absurdity it is, failing to recognize that words have different meanings in different contexts.
     
    #8 Ziggy, Nov 29, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2019
  9. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    I am trying to follow this. The Hebrew being rendered "summit" בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית in Genesis 1:1 is not even used in Genesis 8:5 or Exodus 19:20.
     
  10. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    There are remarkable similarities between this guy and Riplinger.
     
  11. Ziggy

    Ziggy Active Member
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    But ראש ההד is "head/top of the mountain", and it doesn't take much to see where Mr Mechanic gets the idea (wrongly, of course) that anything with the element ראש in it might carry the same "summit"-based weight.
     
  12. Rob_BW

    Rob_BW Well-Known Member
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    That's pretty bad. But I say that as someone who has read those verses in accurate translations many times.

    I can't imagine how worse it would be if a person's first introduction to the passage was from that translation.
     
  13. RighteousnessTemperance&

    RighteousnessTemperance& Well-Known Member

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    It doesn't sound like he takes translation seriously, or understand the basic fact that words can carry several meanings depending on context, and that this is especially true of languages with a more limited vocabulary.

    I fondly recall the genuine surprise of a rather well-educated friend who realized for the first time that his native language had this feature. For some reason, though he knew English was this way, he had never made the reverse observation.
     
  14. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    "Tops" רָאשֵׁ֥י
    As "summit" בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית
    Ok, I missed that.
     
  15. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Brenner's contention is that one cannot properly translate without a knowledge of the culture of the original language. Hey, you know, this almost sounds like grammatical-historical interpretation! :D So really, this is not a new idea. In order to translate, yes, you must know the culture of the original language. Example: in translating into Japanese, we had to choose a word for the Greek word for "cup," poterion. The main Japanese translations use sakazuki (杯), which in modern times is a little cup used for sake (Japanese rice wine, very potent) in ceremonies such as weddings. Check it out here: 杯 さかずき - Jisho.org

    After many hours of research and discussion, we went with kappu (カップ), a loan word which can be used for a modern mug, which (surprise) was actually what a Roman cup looked like!

    On this page Brenner has a bunch of articles about "Manners and Customs"--Manners and Customs Index | AHRC. The articles are all taken from a book by Fred H. Wight, Manners and Customs of Bible Lands. This book was written in 1953, which means it's probably still in copyright, and that makes the extended quotes illegal (beyond "fair use"), not to mention out of date.
     
  16. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    It appears we do not need a degree to peddle the word of God.

    If a source language word has two meanings, then to translate both meaning with a target language word have only one of those meanings, when the other was the intended meaning is a mistranslation. OTOH, when the same intended source language meaning is translated into 2 or three target language words with differing meanings, then that practice is also a mistranslation. Translating source language word meanings (whether one or several) with concordant target language word meanings is a good thing. We should not through the baby out with the bath water.
     
  17. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Oops, look out--here comes the baby. :D But actually, I'm not sure what you mean.
     
  18. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Perhaps a specific example, Romans 6:19

    NIV: I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness.

    ESV: I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

    Now the Greek word (hagiasmon - G38) can mean to set apart for a holy purpose, or can mean to be made holy. Now in English "sanctification" might mean to be set apart or to be made holy. However, the NIV decided from the context, the intended meaning was to be made holy, thus leading to holiness.

    Another example comes from 1 Peter 1:2

    HCSB: according to the foreknowledge of God the Father and set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ. May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

    NASB: according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

    Here we have the "set apart" meaning but also translated in a way that might mean to be made holy.

    So where the context indicates the meaning as "made holy" a different English word or words should be used than when the contextual meaning is "set apart."

    And to repeat the idea, each source language meaning should be translated into a target language meaning resulting in more than one target language word or words for each multiple meaning source word. Hagiasmon G38 should be translated into "set apart" or "made holy" depending on context.
     
    #18 Van, Dec 2, 2019 at 3:41 PM
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 3:47 PM
  19. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Okay. Can't tell from this if you agree with the NIV or not.

    Okay. So which one do you agree with?

    Sorry, even when you repeat your idea, your explanation doesn't make sense.
    Finally you are making sense. But this is Translation 101.
     
  20. RighteousnessTemperance&

    RighteousnessTemperance& Well-Known Member

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    After re-reading his original comment as you quoted it, I’d say it’s obvious. The real question here is whether to only translate or to also interpret. If the context could allow either meaning for the source, and the target language has an equally ambiguous word, then the translator should translate and let the theologians interpret.

    Another option would be to footnote with an alternate translation, but that leans significantly toward interpreting. However, words themselves are shady characters in their own way, making exact translation impossible. A translation should never be relied on to do all the conveying. If all of this isn't 101, it should be.
     
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