Re: post.prepared for anglican (reversible translation)

From: Micheal Palmer (
Date: Fri May 23 1997 - 02:24:25 EDT

At 12:44 AM -0400 5/22/97, Paul Zellmer wrote:

>The characteristic which is more emphasized in "paraphrases" than in
>"translations" is the dependency on interpretation. Generally, this
>interpretation is what is being sought in a "same-language" transfer,
>and so is much more obvious in that case. . . .

I agree with Paul that this is a common understanding of 'paraphrase', but
I think it is a faulty one. It assumes that translation is somehow *less*
dependent on interpretation than paraphrase is. [I don't mean that *Paul*
assumes this. I mean that this particular common understanding of
'paraphrase' implies such an assumption.] I would argue that what passes
for translation in many discussions of translation versus paraphrase is
simply less informed interpretation. Since the translator is less informed
about semantics, Greek syntax, etc. she or he assumes that a very literal
translation is more accurate than a less literal one. In actual fact,
however, it is often necessary to be less literal in order to be more
accurate since there is no one-to-one correspondence between English and
Greek (or any other language for that matter).

Micheal W. Palmer
Religion & Philosophy
Meredith College

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