Re: post.prepared for anglican (reversible translation)

From: Lee R. Martin (
Date: Thu May 22 1997 - 00:43:47 EDT

Brian E. Wilson wrote:
> I am absolutely fascinated that no-one else has yet come up with an
> alternative definition of the distinction between a translation and a
> paraphrase.

Well, I suppose I may as well add my two-cents-worth.

Comparing "paraphrase" to "translation" is like comparing apples to
oranges. They do not belong in the same discussion. Paraphrase is the
attempt to restate a meaning in different words. This principle applies
only within the same language. A translation _always_ states meaning
in different words, because the words come from a different language.
Translation does not move on a continuum of paraphrastic ->
less-paraphrastic, rather it moves on a continuum of equivalence base,
with "word" being on one end and "discourse unit" being at the other
end. Word->phrase->sentence->paragraph->unit.

Even the most "word-based" translation cannot be reverse translated with
accuracy, because of possible synonyms, figures of speech, choices of
syntactical structures.

Lee R. Martin
Adjunct Faculty in Old Testament and Hebrew
Church of God School of Theology
Cleveland, TN 37311
Pastor, Prospect Church of God

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