RE: A Fork In the Road

From: David L. Moore (
Date: Sat Oct 18 1997 - 18:06:42 EDT

Rolf Furuli <> wrote:

>David Moore wrote,
><These are a couple of stories that illustrate how semantic domains
><are not always coincident across languages and cultures. This is the reason
><that translations which always translate any given Greek word with
><invariably the same English word must be often misleading. Good translation
><is idiomatic. Although translations that are uncompromisingly literal can
><be helpful for study (cf. Aquila's traslation of the Jewish Scriptures),
><they are specialized tools for people who are willing to invest time in
><learning their special language. On the other hand, translations that seek
><the lowest common denominator are, IMO, niche translations as well; I find
><very few people who want to use them.
><Most of us have our favorites, and maybe there is a golden mean
><somewhere that would be a translation loved by everyone.
>Dear David,
>Your anecdotes are amusing and your comments are to the point except two
>slightly inaccurate statements. You write: "This is the reason that
>translations which always translate any given Greek word with invariably
>the same English word must be often misleading." 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". If a translation is made for those with
>four heads, it is misleading only for those with one or another number of
>heads, as you yourself show in what you further write. The most important
>commandment for Bible translators is: "Think target group!" Further am I
>not aware of any literal translation (only interlinears) which ALLWAYS
>translates any Greek word with the same English word. This is not possible.

        I assume you mean it is not possible because to do so would be, in
many places in the text, misleading. Really, what you say here seems to
contradict what you have said above. Furthermore, I can think of no target
group that would justify translating any given word in Greek by always the
same word in the target language. I really don't see how consideration of
target groups figures at all relative to formulating an answer to what I
said in my post.


David L. Moore
Miami, Florida, USA
Southeastern Spanish District of the A/G Dept. of Education
Home Page:


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