Thoughts on translation

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, Oct 16 2019 8:01 PM

I've never been a huge fan of the Nida formal/dynamic equivalence distinction - it can be useful but is (a) often misunderstood and (b) applies to only part of what makes a text communicate.  In some reading on other ways to distinguish between translation methods I ran across this which I thought some would find interesting:

SL=source language; TT=target language

"Newmark . . .  goes on to refer to the following methods of translation:

    • Word-for-word translation: in which the SL word order is preserved and the words translated singly by their most common meanings, out of context.
    • Literal translation: in which the SL grammatical constructions are converted to their nearest TL equivalents, but the lexical words are again translated singly, out of context.
    • Faithful translation: it attempts to produce the precise contextual meaning of the original within the constraints of the TL grammatical structures.
    • Semantic translation: which differs from 'faithful translation' only in as far as it must take more account of the aesthetic value of the SL text.
    • Adaptation: which is the freest form of translation, and is used mainly for plays (comedies) and poetry; the themes, characters, plots are usually preserved, the SL culture is converted to the TL culture and the text is rewritten.
    • Free translation: it produces the TL text without the style, form, or content of the original.
    • Idiomatic translation: it reproduces the 'message' of the original but tends to distort nuances of meaning by preferring colloquialisms and idioms where these do not exist in the original.

    • Communicative translation: it attempts to render the exact contextual meaning of the original in such a way that both content and language are readily acceptable and comprehensible to the readership (1988b: 45-47)." 

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Rodney Phillips | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 17 2019 5:18 AM

Interesting..  So I guess the Message would fall under Communicative translation?

I tend to use the NASB and NKJV the most..   I assume they fall into the Word for Word section more or less. 


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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 17 2019 6:12 AM

I think Newmark left out the more important translation approaches:

* Agrees with what I learned. Or it's larger equivalent, agrees with our customers.


* Whatever the previous guy guessed at, and didn't get burned at the stake.


I was reading an article about Elijah's magic 'mantle'. Quite curious. But why 'mantle'? What's that?? It shows up in my earliest translation (wish we had more). Subsequent translations hold on for dear life. A few get brave with a 'cloak'. What's that?? Of course, then you start checking hebrew and looks like a outer coat, and something Joseph would wear. Translators, bah humbug!  Joking.

"I didn't know God made honky tonk angels."

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David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 17 2019 7:53 AM

MJ. Smith:
I've never been a huge fan of the Nida formal/dynamic equivalence distinction

I found this podcast (an interview between Drs Darrell L. Bock and Douglas Moo) to be very irenic as each has actually participated in published translations. I particularly enjoyed Dr. Moo's emphasis upon clarifying the Target Language. - search for "How English Bibles are Made".

These translators highlight that the translation team must clearly identify their target language (.e. North American vs. European English; Native English speakers vs Second Language English; English for graduate students vs. High School students vs. 10 year olds, etc.)

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