Re: A Fork In the Road

From: A. Brent Hudson (
Date: Fri Oct 17 1997 - 10:19:55 EDT

Rolf wrote:

> This statement, emphasizing "misleading" is only true
> if the concept "target group" does not exist. If we ask
> "misleading for whom"?, the answer must be "for people
> not belonging to the target group".

A translation must find a balance between representing the host language
accurately and maintaining good style in the receptor languages. Ignorance
of the usage of either language will inevitably lead to misunderstanding
for the reader. All English translations have one common target group --
readers of English. Regardless of how fine one wants to dissect this
general group, its principle characteristic (i.e., English language) would
seem to require well written English. It seems the issue always falls on
those who would tip the balance in favour of Greek (hyper-literal) and
those who move in the other direction (periphrastic renderings). I think
the first thing to acknowledge is that any translation is inevitably a
linguistic compromise. Once that is acknowledged, it is just a matter of
deciding which compromises one is willing to make. But since they *are* all
compromises, personally, I tend not to get worked up about it very much

Edward Hobbs had a great post not too long ago. He noted that our goal as
students of Greek is to understand this language on its own terms. For me,
choosing the translation 'Anointed one' over the transliteration 'Christ'
or 'riddle' over 'parable' is less important than understanding AGGELOS and
PARABOLH in their native contexts; for until that is done, translation will
have its greatest hindrance in the very mind of the translator.


Rev. A. Brent Hudson
Pastor, Kincardine Baptist Church
Kincardine, ON N2Z 2J1

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