Re: Translation versus commentary

Douglas de Lacey asked:
> How do we teach it to achieve those goals: ...
>  to bring a much greater sense of the insecurity of any translation?

I think having to confront more than one translation of the Bible,
especially translations based on differing assumptions and approaches,
goes a long way towards communicating the uncertainties of the
translation process to the reader.  Even the occasional textual and
and translation footnotes in most bibles help a lot.  Of course,
a text with too many footnoted variations becomes unreadable, and
it's hard to compare a dozen translations side-by-side, although
such a study method would be an interesting analog of the scatter-plot
used for visualization in statistics.

A double-column bible pairing up two translations might be designed
so as to give the fullest stereoscopic perception of the text, maximizing
the surveying baseline provided to the reader, as well as to give the reader
some visibility into part of the translation process.

I would put in the left column of each page a translation which is as literal,
wooden, raw, and unfiltered as possible, while still making grammatical sense,
preserving the cadence and idioms of the original, with no transformation
of metaphors into modern equivalents or other concessions to cultural
differences.  This would be a bit more polished than the English half
of an interlinear, and not so ingenious as Aquila's OT, but much less
approachable (by itself) for a modern reader than an NASB or NRSV, say.
In the right column would go a translation at the other end of the spectrum,
addressed to the historically naive 1990's student, with dynamic equivalents
for idioms, dead metaphors, obscure live metaphors, translating even
cultural differences to bring the message home clearly, in a faithful manner.
It wouldn't be quite a Cotton Patch version, more like TEV or J B Phillips.

Answering he said...     |  He replied...
castrated themselves...  |  renounced marriage...
weeping they wept...     |  they wept bitterly...
a wind of God blew...    |  the spirit of God hovered...
lying and eating...      |  while sitting at dinner...

Even though the reader innocent of Greek or Hebrew wouldn't have
the tools to criticize either half of the translation,
the partial visibility into the process would surely enhance appreciation.

Vincent Broman,  code 572 Bayside                        Phone: +1 619 553 1641
Naval Command Control and Ocean Surveillance Center, RDT&E Div.
San Diego, CA  92152-6147,  USA                          Email: broman@nosc.mil