Translating Imperatives

From: alexali (
Date: Sat Aug 21 1999 - 17:19:43 EDT

In the digest I received today, I read of Mark Taylor's disappointment with
the translation of imperatives, and particularly the expression "let your
...", which, Mark writes, "implies to most English readers the idea of
permission, and not of command." Carl pointed out that this could be a
matter of a personal response to the English usage with "let". "Most
English readers", then, is questionable; however, my posting is prompted
because my own response has been similar to Mark's, so that when I began
reading the Greek text, the force of these imperatives became far clearer
to me than it had been in translation. My understanding is that Mark is
looking for different ways of translating these imperatives; besides those
already given in response to his posting, I simply add that the use of "is
to" or "are to" may be helpful, according to the pattern "so-and-so is to
do such-and-such" (for the third person, where "let so-and-so do
such-and-such" may be insufficient in certain contexts), or "you are to ...

Alex Hopkins
(Melbourne, Australia)

(PS All Aussie B-Greekers will want Mark Taylor to know that his name is
shared with one who up until his recent retirement was captain of the
all-conquering Australian cricket team!)

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