Translation as Interpretation

Date: Wed Jun 25 1997 - 07:09:58 EDT

  TO: B-Greekers
FROM: Harry J. Harm
DATE: 25 June 1997
  RE: Translation as Interpretation

Dear Colleagues,

Greetings from Oregon where I am taking a Scripture in Use course.

    Andrew S. Kulikovsky wrote:

    The justification for literal translations is because dynamic
    translations interpret - and that they do - but so do all
    translations - granted, some more than others. But I can't
    understand how it is possible to translate without
    interpreting. This is the conclusion I come to from my reading
    in linguistics (which is not exhaustive or extensive but is
    past the introductory material).

    So what do the real linguists on this list say? Can you
    translate without interpreting?

As a linguist and as a translator I say that all REAL translation
involves interpretation. The job of a translator or translation
committee is to know one's theological biases and to make sure that they
do not get added to the translated text without considerable
justification and that they do not interfere with the meaning of the
original text. That is why all of our translation must be checked and
approved by an outside consultant. In the language group with whom we
work there are Assembly of God, Baptists, Catholics, independent,
Methodist, Mennonite, Methodist and Presbyterian churches. We would
like the translation to be used in all of these churches.

Sometimes when I am speaking about Bible translation I will literally
translate a passage from the Greek using English words but keeping the
Greek order, etc.. I do this to give the people a feel of what a really
literal translation would sound. In many passages the literal
translation is almost meaningless to them.

BTW, these views are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of
any church or organisation to which I may belong.

In Christ Jesus,

Harry J. Harm :{)

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