Translation pet peeve

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Posts 9947
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 28 2013 12:13 PM

David Paul:

George Somsel:

David Paul:

Hey, hey, hey...the Swiss are neutral!

Geeked

You mean that they've had an operation?  Surprise

Of course...have you seen their cheese? Part is missing!

Ahah!  That's why they can hit those high notes when they yodel.  Tongue Tied

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 451
Mitchell | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 28 2013 12:15 PM

MJ. Smith:
I disagree. I see it as strictly a linguistics issue that some have chosen to make theological. It is a case in which English is changing in a manner that requires a change in the English translation.

I would say the problem is a linguistics issue, but one that forces a theological solution.

MJ. Smith:
But either way it's not a Logos issue.

Yea, no disagreement there. Sorry for the rabbit trail.

Posts 103
Mark O'Hearn | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 28 2013 12:40 PM

MJ. Smith I would say we have some very good English translations, and especially with the use of a few carefully chosen ones, an English-only reader can nowadays even enjoy insight into the nuances of the original languages.  Of course with the language resources of a program like Logos, the English-only Bible student can go much further than that.

I have read a number of books on Bible translation.  Probably a lot of Christians have.  I have especially enjoyed the thoughts of a fellow named Gordon Fee on translation and Bible versions.  He begins by pointing out how bias we readers are, and given the “camps” we find ourselves in theologically, this bias should come as no surprise.  To suppose such bias exists for translators also seems only a logical extension to me. 

In fact, we are often told by scholars (textual critics) that some/many of the differences between manuscript families are believed to be a bias on the part of the meticulous scribe on what he knew elsewhere in copying the Scriptures. 

When translations are undertaken by a team-approach, even by a broad range of different denominational members (which is a clue in itself to the reality of bias), a consensus will not necessarily result in a non-biased translation, but instead just what that particular group of people could agree upon.  Btw, bias itself is not a negative thing though that is how we often think about it.

Again, I believe we have some fine English translations; any number of them – to borrow a phrase by Nelson publishing – a believer can build their life upon.

Regards

Posts 28286
Forum MVP
MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 28 2013 4:41 PM

Mark O'Hearn:
an English-only reader can nowadays even enjoy insight into the nuances of the original languages. 

call me skeptical.

Mark O'Hearn:
Of course with the language resources of a program like Logos, the English-only Bible student can go much further than that.

call me an unbeliever.

I agree that there is always bias - a term I do not consider derogatory but have been told is generally taken as such in the Logos forums. However, I competent translator should be aware of their biases and consciously try to leave them out of the translation. Where the text is ambiguous or corrupted, the biases will become apparent. But if a translator feels obligated to deploy their theological bias early in the translation process, I suspect that is because the text does not, in fact, support their views. I have the same response to individuals who feel a need to provide a personal "improved" translation that is outside the normal range of scholarly disagreement.

I have a basic preference for believing we constantly overestimate the quality of our scholarship just as our predecessors did. Of course, my measure of language competency is that you don't know a language until it becomes bathroom reading.Stick out tongue More seriously, as long as we use dual language dictionaries, I am uncomfortable saying we know a language. And, to the best of my knowledge, Logos is short of completely Hebrew (or Greek, Aramaic, Syriac, Latin, Ugaritic, Coptic ...) dictionaries. There is a big difference between reading a foreign language to translate it into your native tongue and reading a foreign language and understanding it in that language ... what we nicknamed the dream test.Stick out tongue

I don't disagree that multiple translations serve as pointers towards the original language meaning as each translation gives us additional clues of the constraints on the original text. Another thread offered a link to a journal article that I find apropos - http://www.mcmaster.ca/mjtm/pdfs/vol11/articles/MJTM_11.5_BaxterBiblicalWords.pdf

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 222
Justin Cofer | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 28 2013 5:51 PM

MJ. Smith:
There is a big difference between reading a foreign language to translate it into your native tongue and reading a foreign language and understanding it in that language ... what we nicknamed the dream test.Stick out tongue

You're right ... there's a world of difference between internalizing the language and be able to READ it rather than simply playing a decoding game.  You don't know Greek until you understand it on its own terms as Greek (and not English).

ἐὰν οὖν μὴ εἰδῶ τὴν δύναμιν τῆς φωνῆς, ἔσομαι τῷ λαλοῦντι βάρβαρος καὶ ὁ λαλῶν ἐν ἐμοὶ βάρβαρος.

Posts 10646
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 28 2013 6:13 PM

Just one more big reason early Christians had to learn greek before the annual baptismal rite. Since they used the LXX, hebrew was optional.

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

Posts 1506
Josh | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 28 2013 7:21 PM

David Paul:

As an educator, I don't see the same level of need for the skill of cursive handwriting that has existed in times past. I don't think it is a bad skill to develop, but keyboarding (whether on computers or smart phones) has utterly eclipsed handwriting as a means of communication. Don't misunderstand, handwriting is always going to be necessary, but the purpose behind learning cursive has lost most of its shine. I just scanned the papers I collected today from high school aged students, and only one or two used cursive-like style, and even that was applied to essentially print-like letter forms. Fwiw, that is pretty much what my cursive style is too--a combination of print and cursive. Honestly, I much prefer trying to read print as opposed to cursive; the discreet elements make discernment less of a chore. Don't be at all surprised if cursive goes the way of swordplay, equestrian, and blacksmithing in terms of "must have" skill sets...and in my opinion, each of those three precede cursive in the importance cue.

En garde! Idea

We taught our son cursive before print for practical reasons. Though it might seem paradoxical to think about at first, cursive is actually easier for younger hands to master. It utilizes a smooth flow and uses less movements required to write words. With cursive young students don't have some of the problems manuscript students have. My son has no issues with reversals or the confusion of letters while writing. You can't confuse or reverse a 'b' and a 'd' in cursive. And thanks to the muscle memory cursive brings with it, my son has an easier time with spelling. He, also, doesn't display much of the common spacing issues that many young manuscript students have either. Lastly, the fact that cursive promotes writing whole words, instead of individual letters, has helped with his reading ability.

So there you have it! Its easier to learn, creates less letter and spacing issues, helps with spelling, and promotes good reading skills. I'm sure I'm missing some other benefits as well.

Posts 1649
Room4more | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 28 2013 8:17 PM

Justin Cofer:

 ... there's a world of difference between internalizing the language and be able to READ it rather than simply playing a decoding game.  You don't know Greek until you understand it on its own terms as Greek (and not English).

ἐὰν οὖν μὴ εἰδῶ τὴν δύναμιν τῆς φωνῆς, ἔσομαι τῷ λαλοῦντι βάρβαρος καὶ ὁ λαλῶν ἐν ἐμοὶ βάρβαρος.

True. makes me wonder if some folk aint just pure troglodytes!

DISCLAIMER: What you do on YOUR computer is your doing.

Posts 2964
tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 1 2013 11:23 AM

MJ. Smith:

Mark O'Hearn:
an English-only reader can nowadays even enjoy insight into the nuances of the original languages. 

call me skeptical.

Mark O'Hearn:
Of course with the language resources of a program like Logos, the English-only Bible student can go much further than that.

call me an unbeliever.

I was going to say the same thing.  The English language cannot pick out the nuance of the Greek language without making the English text almost impossible to read (IMHO).

Posts 103
Mark O'Hearn | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 1 2013 12:36 PM

Agreed Tom et al. 

I am guilty of summarizing the self-praises from publishers of such translations as the ESV that state, “As an essentially literal translation, then, the ESV seeks to carry over every possible nuance of meaning in the original words of Scripture into our own language.” 

In hindsight, I should have said that a good selection of English translations provides the English reader with greater insight on the meaning of the text, and clues where translations differ where some original language study would be worthwhile.

While I do truly appreciate the advantage (and joy) of being able to read and understand Biblical texts in their original languages, in the face of unbelief (especially in our times) of certain (but not all or even the majority) learned Biblical scholars and Biblical language experts, I have to conclude that such are not “super-Christians” any more than those at Corinthian were who thought themselves as great orators and therefore great believers. 

What a blessing for the Church to have translators, scholars, and other such experts to help other believers gain insight into the original languages and Biblical cultures.  But akin to Paul’s analogy of the body and its individual parts, it has been my observation that certain folks belittle others concerning their knowledge of the original languages.  No one (at least I’m not) suggesting that Logos allows me to understand Greek to the degree of others, but with all the resources, including commentaries from those that do understand Greek very well, I certainly do not accept that it is beyond my reach to grasp the essence of any given passage.  I believe this is one of the founding reasons why a program like Logos has been developed – so that the “average” Christian can enjoy the original languages.  With regards to any boasting, everyone who can read/understand any language must be taught by someone else – parents, peers, or a book written by another person.  While I realize there is a difference between giving someone a “fish” and learning to “fish,” in the end we are still talking about a fish, right?  Anyway.

Regards

Posts 1674
Paul Golder | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 1 2013 1:29 PM

I must ask a question:

Do we not all agree that most faithful English translations are satisfactory enough for all matters of Faith and practice?

"As any translator will attest, a literal translation is no translation at all."

Posts 222
Justin Cofer | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 1 2013 1:41 PM

Mark O'Hearn:

Agreed Tom et al. 

I am guilty of summarizing the self-praises from publishers of such translations as the ESV that state, “As an essentially literal translation, then, the ESV seeks to carry over every possible nuance of meaning in the original words of Scripture into our own language.” 

In hindsight, I should have said that a good selection of English translations provides the English reader with greater insight on the meaning of the text, and clues where translations differ where some original language study would be worthwhile.

While I do truly appreciate the advantage (and joy) of being able to read and understand Biblical texts in their original languages, in the face of unbelief (especially in our times) of certain (but not all or even the majority) learned Biblical scholars and Biblical language experts, I have to conclude that such are not “super-Christians” any more than those at Corinthian were who thought themselves as great orators and therefore great believers. 

What a blessing for the Church to have translators, scholars, and other such experts to help other believers gain insight into the original languages and Biblical cultures.  But akin to Paul’s analogy of the body and its individual parts, it has been my observation that certain folks belittle others concerning their knowledge of the original languages.  No one (at least I’m not) suggesting that Logos allows me to understand Greek to the degree of others, but with all the resources, including commentaries from those that do understand Greek very well, I certainly do not accept that it is beyond my reach to grasp the essence of any given passage.  I believe this is one of the founding reasons why a program like Logos has been developed – so that the “average” Christian can enjoy the original languages.  With regards to any boasting, everyone who can read/understand any language must be taught by someone else – parents, peers, or a book written by another person.  While I realize there is a difference between giving someone a “fish” and learning to “fish,” in the end we are still talking about a fish, right?  Anyway.

Regards

You make some good points.  Software programs like Logos almost make it possible for a man with no knowledge of Greek to know something about it, paradoxical as that sounds.  A.T. Robertson said,

There is no sphere of knowledge where one is repaid more quickly for all the toil expended. Indeed, the Englishman’s Greek Concordance almost makes it possible for the man with no knowledge of Greek to know something about it, paradoxical as that may sound. That would be learning made easy, beyond a doubt, and might seem to encourage the charlatan and the quack. It is possible for an ignoramus to make a parade of a little lumber of learning to the disgust and confusion of his hearers. But the chief reason why preachers do not get and do not keep up a fair and needful knowledge of the Greek New Testament is nothing less than carelessness, and even laziness in many cases. They can get along somehow without it, and so let it pass or let it drop.

Although I agree with you, I would advance the point that it is not necessarily an either/or proposition.  Logos is a phenomenal tool and can be used by one with no knowledge of Koine Greek.  But one can get so more out of it with a working knowledge of the languages.  A little bit of knowledge of Greek is a big percent on nothing.

Robertson says,

It ought to be taken for granted that the preacher has his Greek Testament. This statement will be challenged by many who excuse themselves from making any effort to know the Greek New Testament. I do not say that every preacher should become an expert in his knowledge of the New Testament Greek. That cannot be expected. I do not affirm that no preacher should be allowed to preach who does not possess some knowledge of the original New Testament. I am opposed to such a restriction. But a little is a big per cent on nothing, as John A. Broadus used to say. This is preeminently true of the Greek New Testament.

Although we are blessed to have so many translations in English, Robertson notes (perhaps controversially) that the real New Testament is the Koine Greek New Testament.

Robertson says,

The real New Testament is the Greek New Testament. The English is simply a translation of the New Testament, not the actual New Testament. It is good that the New Testament has been translated into so many languages. The fact that it was written in the koiné, the universal language of the time, rather than in one of the earlier Greek dialects, makes it easier to render into modern tongues. But there is much that cannot be translated. It is not possible to reproduce the delicate turns of thought, the nuances of language, in translation. The freshness of the strawberry cannot be preserved in any extract.

I simply haven't met anyone who can read God's new covenant revelation in its original form who told me it wasn't worth the effort.  Its not a matter of being a "super-Christian" or personal ambition, belittle others or boasting.

As Zwingli said,

I have firmly decided to study Greek; nobody except God can prevent it. It is not a matter of personal ambition but one of understanding the most Sacred Writings.

Source:

the ministers use of his gnt.pdf

Posts 222
Justin Cofer | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 1 2013 1:51 PM

Paul Golder:

I must ask a question:

Do we not all agree that most faithful English translations are satisfactory enough for all matters of Faith and practice?

I agree.  Most English translations are faithful and are very good.  But I would advance the point that the need for the pastor/teacher/elder  to know something of Koine Greek is NOT because the translations are poor or insufficient for all matters of faith and practice.

Posts 2964
tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 1 2013 4:54 PM

Paul Golder:

I must ask a question:

Do we not all agree that most faithful English translations are satisfactory enough for all matters of Faith and practice?

I am not going to say that we all agree, but I will say that I will agree with you.

Posts 2964
tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 1 2013 4:56 PM

Justin Cofer:
the need for the pastor/teacher/elder  to know something of Koine Greek is NOT because the translations are poor or insufficient for all matters of faith and practice.
Yes

Posts 2500
David Ames | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 1 2013 6:54 PM

Justin Cofer:

Paul Golder:

I must ask a question:

Do we not all agree that most faithful English translations are satisfactory enough for all matters of Faith and practice?

I agree.  Most English translations are faithful and are very good.  But I would advance the point that the need for the pastor/teacher/elder  to know something of Koine Greek is NOT because the translations are poor or insufficient for all matters of faith and practice.

You both imply that there are some English translations that are not. So how does one decide?  Read the entire Bible cover to cover in all versions that you can find and all at once.  If they agree in a verse, fine, that most likely is the true word of God [or at least close]. And when they differ - go on the the next verse and ignore that one for the time being.  God will give you enough to get you to where you should be in the sections that agree.  [[And may even tell you what translation is correct for you]]                                [[I was going to say 'get you to Him' but then I recalled that some don't like capitalized personal pronouns]]
Posts 1506
Josh | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 1 2013 7:36 PM

I saw a woman at church the other day with a NWT Bible. She didn't even know it was a 'bad' Bible until I told her the translation errors it contained. She looked quite disgusted that she had been reading it for years.  John was her favorite book to read too!

John 1:1 (New World Translation)

In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.

Posts 10646
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 1 2013 7:48 PM

Well, that's a major argument that the coptics should be using one of our english versions (instead of their english versions).

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

Posts 222
Justin Cofer | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 1 2013 7:49 PM

David Ames:
You both imply that there are some English translations that are not. So how does one decide?  Read the entire Bible cover to cover in all versions that you can find and all at once.  If they agree in a verse, fine, that most likely is the true word of God [or at least close]. And when they differ - go on the the next verse and ignore that one for the time being.  God will give you enough to get you to where you should be in the sections that agree.  [[And may even tell you what translation is correct for you]]                                [[I was going to say 'get you to Him' but then I recalled that some don't like capitalized personal pronouns]]

My point is that learning Koine Greek and being able to read God's new covenant revelation in its original form is worthwhile.  When I study the NT, I read it in Greek.  When I consult a translation (KJV, NKJV, NASB, NIV84/2011, ESV, HCSB, NET, NRSV, etc), I read it as a commentary.  This gift of love for the Koine Greek language which drove me to learn it is a blessing from God.

Posts 4843
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 1 2013 8:21 PM

Justin Cofer:

This gift of love for the Koine Greek language which drove me to learn it is a blessing from God.

...or the strong delusion.

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