Translating Implict Information

From: Bill Caulfield (
Date: Mon Apr 29 1996 - 23:44:37 EDT

There was discussion in early April around the need for and the
method of displaying translator supplied words or wording. The
group did not seem to reach a consensus; except to agree that it
was an area fraught with difficulty.

In my study, I found the book-Translating The Word Of God-by
Wycliffe translators John Beekman and John Callow to offer some
interesting comments and insights on the subject of transferring
meaning via translation.

Galatians 3:18 is a verse with a situation similar to the problem
mentioned with 2 Th 2:6 in NASB. (My apology for not recording
the name of the individual who mentioned 2 Th 2:6 to the group.)
The KJV italicizes 'it' in 18b, whereas the NASB does not. At Gal
3:18b, the transitive verb, KECHARISTAI, requires a direct object
to complete its action - which Paul left to the Galatians hearers (and
subsequent exegetes) to provide.

Don Wilkins, who noted that he worked as a translator of the
NASB and sits on the editorial board, offered the following
comments regarding using italics in translation.
>There are two problems that should be considered, though and
>perhaps some of you will offer suggestions. First, it is one thing to
>add a word when good English does not demand it and the idea of
>the word is inferred from the context; this calls for italics. But
>when a word is necessary to make sensible English and there is
>virtually no doubt about the context, trans-lators often feel
>justified in using roman for the word in question.

Since the NASB does not italicize 'it' in Gal 3:18b, it would seem to
fall under Don's rule no.2 - >a word is necessary to make sensible
English and there is virtually no doubt about the context.

For the sake of discussion - I do not believe 'it' (=s 'righteousness'
???) is the object from the context that the Galaatians would have
supplied. They would have supplied Canaan Land! In short, the
verb in the perfect speaks of a past completed act having present
results. The thought is something actually present, real and
verifiable. While 'righteousness' is certainly real, it is not easily
verified as present. Canaan Land not only completes the thought;
but also converts the text from an assertion--which is the effect of
an indefinite direct object, "it"--to a statement. Most importantly, it
is a statement that the Galatians can verify. So understood, the text
provides a specific historical incident against which Paul's argument
in 3:15-17 can be judged.

This is my initial post. I trust it falls within established boundaries.

Bill Caulfield

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