Translation Theory

John Hobbins has written an excellent piece on translation and translation theory in response to Karen Jobes’ essay. Its definitely worth the read. So go check it out.

If you had to choose between the two kinds of translations he describes, which would you prefer? One that “only appears to be faithful to the original statements”? Or one that “is flatter, less ambiguous, and less complex than the source text”?

And does anyone have ideas on how to get the best of both worlds? I think we can, but I think a DE translation is more likely to do it than a Formal one.

Be sure to read the comments too. They are from some serious and informed linguists and professional translators (well, and me…).

4 thoughts on “Translation Theory

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  1. It’s an unnecessary choice. There is no reason why we cannot have a translation which is natural, clear, and accurate as well as reflective of the literary terrain of the original biblical language texts. Do we have such a translation yet? I don’t think so, but the NLT is getting closer.

  2. I was going to say the same thing as Wayne even though I don’t really know what I’m talking about. When I think about this I keep thinking about the HCSB. Might that be the closest? I haven’t read much of the NLT. I don’t own an HCSB on paper but have seen so many examples and comparisons in addition to looking up things on my own.

    I use NRSV because of my anal retentive nature and wanting things to be “correct”. But I like TNIV better for Psalms than NRSV and I like NRSV better for the NT. I’d like to get rid of “shall” and the old ways of using might and may along with all the other antiquated words.

    What I don’t want to compromise on are theological terms like propitiation. If people don’t know what it means, they need to. After I got my NRSV, when I found out it didn’t use that term I almost immediately switched to ESV before I came to my senses.

  3. Wayne:
    DE is the only way that’ll get us to such a translation. There is no way a formal translation could do it. I think we’ll get there at some point – though it will never be perfect.

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