Re: If not "univocal," then what?

>3.  If Mari's observation is vindicated, then what makes for good or less 
>good translation?
>and, 4. If the RSV/NRSV leave a "hard to understand" greek passage hard to 
>understand in translation, what were they missing which would have 
>resulted in an easy to understand translation?  Is the NIV, with its 
>propensity to render every possible difficulty in as "vanilla" a 
>translation as possible, a better treatment of hard to understand passages 
>in greek?

I take it as axiomatic that all translation is revision.  Not only do we 
"lose something in the translation" of a text, but the renditions also show 
things added, which were absent from the source.  I have examined several 
texts in my mouldering dissertation ('80) and in some articles since, just 
to find out what I could about the translators themselves.  The revelations 
are remarkable; the ideological bent of the translator is apparent at every 
turn, clearly displaying theologies and perspectives quite absent from the 
source text.

This is the underlying reason why it is senseless to minimize or remove 
Greek requirements from divinity schools; this is why Islam goes so far as 
to require Arabic of all its adherents!  Translation changes things.

Therefore, in a rigid sense question #3 is unanswerable, though there are 
many criteria taken individually or in subsets that may yield judgments of 
"good" or "bad".

Question #4 must be answered to the effect that hard-source-to-hard-
translation reveals a translator/s who practice more restraint on the 
interpretive process, refraining from overt ideologizing, and that 
hard-source-to-easier-translation reveals translators who would make the 
source as accessible as possible to the target audience.  

This is not to say that either type of translation is preferable or more 
correct:  Every NT/English that I see reveals 20th century Christian 
translators modifying a collection of 1st c. Jewish texts.  Whether it is 
"doulos" not coming over as "(chattel) slave" or "Khristos" not appearing 
as "anointed (king)", each version loses significant facets of ancient 
culture as well as of ancient theology, and each version adds new theology 
and new culture not found in the original.  See Qohelet below.

--David N. WIGTIL.  Technical Assessment.  U. S. Department of Energy.
`Asot sfarim harbeh 'eyn qetz, welahag harbeh yegi`at basar.
                                              (Qohelet 12:5)
(Making of many books--no end!  And much discussion--wearying of flesh!
 A: How awful!  Too many people writing books and jawboning about stuff!
 B: Take note!  Study without end!  Discuss until you drop!)
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