Re: A Fork In the Road

From: Wes Williams (
Date: Sat Oct 18 1997 - 14:42:13 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".
> ...
> 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)
> seem to require well written English.


I agree with your comment. The problem is when different groups understand
the same English word differently. For instance, as Rolf and others noted
in an earlier thread, how should an English translation translate the word
hADHS into English? Should it be "hell" "grave" or just hADHS? Different
people understand the target English words differently. To illustrate, the
NIV translates the word as "grave" at Acts 2:27, "hell" at Luke 16:23, and
"Hades" at Rev 20:13.

I use the NIV here because I respect what they did at Luke 16:23. They add
a footnote to give the reader more information (which is what I like to see
in translations). They present some thoughts to support their translation
and then mention "Some understand Jesus' description of Abraham's side and
Hades in a less literal way." By presenting both sides, the reader is
helped to see the issue for themselves and not necessarily accept the
theological view of the translators if another possibility exists. I think
this example of the NIV committee is a model for translations to follow
when it comes to translating theologically sensitive verses; i.e. show the
alternate translation in a footnote if such an alternative exists.

So, while "hell" and "grave" and target English words for hADHS, does the
different _meaning_ of these words illustrate the problem of the target

Wes Williams

P.S. Did not the Old English expression "to hell potatoes" mean to store
them in the cellar and not "to roast" them? What was "English" back then is
different than the "English" today in some respects. Get my drift?

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