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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 1: Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:40 am
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Translation vs. Interpretation

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When choosing a translation, what kinds of interpretations by the translators are legitimate and what aren't?

Aside from acknowledged paraphrases, most Bible translations present themselves as being some combination of accurate and readable. What kinds of decisions sacrifice accuracy beyond what is reasonable? When is it reasonable for a translator to interpret potentially confusing ambiguity?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 2: Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:05 pm
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There are different aspects to take on acount when translating from one language to another, and all of them can be important. One is the correct meaning of the words. There are words in the Hebrew Scriptures that nobody knows what they mean, not even Jews ... in this case would be appropiate to transliterate the word and give a note of the probable meaning.

The order in the sentences could be very important. The sintax in languages could be very different, and it is needed to know how the sintax in the original language works and what alternatives exist in the language in which it will be translated that do not affect the meaning. A different order in the words of a sentence can change the idea transmitted in the original language ... or not.

The pauses are very important. In Hebrew there are different forms of knowing where the pauses are, but it is not always easy to determine. The position of the pauses change the meaning very frequently.

Other thing is to point the different alternatives of meanings, cause even for a person who speak the same language than another one can get a wrong idea of what is been said. In the case of the Bible we have some help: no writer of the Bible could have written a contradictory idea with another written by another inspired writer, because behind both of them is the same spirit that inspired them, so the author is always the same, the source that inspires: God by His spirit.

Other problem is biases or preconceived ideas. The translator could think that the article to translate says what he is been told or what he thinks it should, so he could try to translate his own idea and not what the original writer really meant.

There are too many aspects to take on account before even trying to translate from one language to another, especially when the language is old (specially a dead language) and we don't know everything about it. The same feature in a language can be used with different purposes ... and all of them must be known, and which one is the most probably used by the author of the statement to translate or understand correctly the original idea. The honest translators give the different variants in notes, even if they decided to choose one of all of them ...

I am still short ... there are so many things to say about translating ...

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 3: Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:55 pm
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I believe that all translations are also interpretations. Many important words in Hebrew or Greek have a wider range of meaning than any one English word might convey and the choice as to which English word is best to use is based upon the interpretation of the passage as a whole and the Bible as a whole which is interpretation of what you believe the Bible as a whole says.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 4: Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:02 pm
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[Replying to ttruscott]

That happens with everything that is wanted to translate or interpret.

Have you never used the question: what do you mean? ... or said I don't understand what you mean with an English speaker? Question

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 5: Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:01 pm
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Eloi wrote:
The order in the sentences could be very important. The sintax in languages could be very different, and it is needed to know how the sintax in the original language works and what alternatives exist in the language in which it will be translated that do not affect the meaning. A different order in the words of a sentence can change the idea transmitted in the original language ... or not.

The pauses are very important. In Hebrew there are different forms of knowing where the pauses are, but it is not always easy to determine. The position of the pauses change the meaning very frequently.

One of the things I find entertaining is to compare the Greek Septuagint OT with modern translations. The Septuagint was completed before the Masoretes began copying the Hebrew with vowel points. Assuming different vowels can sometimes change the meaning of the text. An example of this that affected the New Testament is Genesis 47:31. The verse in the Masoretic Text reads (ESV):
Quote:
And he said, “Swear to me”; and he swore to him. Then Israel bowed himself upon the head of his bed.

If the vowels in הַמִּטָּה (hamitah) are changed to הַמַּטֶּה (hamateh), then "the bed" becomes "the staff," which is how the Septuagint reads. The author of Hebrews apparently relied on the Septuagint, because Hebrews 11:21 reads:
Quote:
By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff.

The NIV translators decided that since the author of Hebrews read it as "the staff," they should, too. Genesis 47:31 in the NIV reads:
Quote:
“Swear to me,” he said. Then Joseph swore to him, and Israel worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.


Eloi wrote:
In the case of the Bible we have some help: no writer of the Bible could have written a contradictory idea with another written by another inspired writer, because behind both of them is the same spirit that inspired them, so the author is always the same, the source that inspires: God by His spirit.

How much do think this should be allowed to influence the translation?

As an example, I think the NASB incorrectly translates Matthew 28:2. The ESV translates it thus:
Quote:
And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.

The NASB translates it as (bold emphasis mine):
Quote:
And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away bthe stone and sat upon it.

The Greek tense there as written is past tense (aorist), but not unambiguously pluperfect as it is in Mark and Luke. I think that Matthew intentionally wrote it such that it contradicts Mark and so the NASB's translation is actually wrong. I think that "was an earthquake" preserves the sense of the original in the same way that "an earthquake had occurred" does not. On the other hand, if the details must necessarily agree, then the NASB translation must match the intent of the Greek even if it could be read the way I think it should be.

Do you think the NASB translators made the right call?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 6: Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:21 pm
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[Replying to post 5 by Difflugia]
Difflugia
Quote:
Quote:
Eloi wrote:
In the case of the Bible we have some help: no writer of the Bible could have written a contradictory idea with another written by another inspired writer, because behind both of them is the same spirit that inspired them, so the author is always the same, the source that inspires: God by His spirit.

How much do think this should be allowed to influence the translation?
All the time.

Verbal tenses is one of the biggest problems in translation. We can translate verbal times pretty correctly when we analize the whole context and coordinate the events inside the whole, in a sistematic way, kind of chronologically, since that is what verbal tenses are about.

The LXX is cited very often in the Greek Scriptures. Those cites may represent the masoretic text exactly or not ... Some erudites say the masoretic text we have today may have some differences with the real Hebrew text that was written, but not all the time. Since we know Jews made a very meticulous work when copying the old text they got, the masoretic text is pretty reliable, but it does not mean that we may not discover that certain text is not exactly like this text says and it is closer to the LXX, based originally in an older Hebrew text ...

When the LXX is used in the NT and the cite is different that the masoretic text, it is probably because the original Hebrew text was different. We know, for example, that the LXX had the name of God with the four old Hebrew letters ... But the LXX we have today does not. So it is obvious that we don't have the total original text ... In the meantime we can use all texts we have, compare, etc ... and there it is when the content of the Bible as a whole is the real authority to translate properly the ideas.

Anyway, we must know the difference between a translation and a version.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 7: Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:07 pm
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Like this post (1): Difflugia
Eloi wrote:

There are different aspects to take on acount when translating from one language to another, and all of them can be important. One is the correct meaning of the words. There are words in the Hebrew Scriptures that nobody knows what they mean, not even Jews ... in this case would be appropiate to transliterate the word and give a note of the probable meaning.

The order in the sentences could be very important. The sintax in languages could be very different, and it is needed to know how the sintax in the original language works and what alternatives exist in the language in which it will be translated that do not affect the meaning. A different order in the words of a sentence can change the idea transmitted in the original language ... or not.

The pauses are very important. In Hebrew there are different forms of knowing where the pauses are, but it is not always easy to determine. The position of the pauses change the meaning very frequently.

Other thing is to point the different alternatives of meanings, cause even for a person who speak the same language than another one can get a wrong idea of what is been said. In the case of the Bible we have some help: no writer of the Bible could have written a contradictory idea with another written by another inspired writer, because behind both of them is the same spirit that inspired them, so the author is always the same, the source that inspires: God by His spirit.

Other problem is biases or preconceived ideas. The translator could think that the article to translate says what he is been told or what he thinks it should, so he could try to translate his own idea and not what the original writer really meant.

There are too many aspects to take on account before even trying to translate from one language to another, especially when the language is old (specially a dead language) and we don't know everything about it. The same feature in a language can be used with different purposes ... and all of them must be known, and which one is the most probably used by the author of the statement to translate or understand correctly the original idea. The honest translators give the different variants in notes, even if they decided to choose one of all of them ...

I am still short ... there are so many things to say about translating ...


Other problem is biases or preconceived ideas. The translator could think that the article to translate says what he is been told or what he thinks it should, so he could try to translate his own idea and not what the original writer really meant.

Other problem is biases or preconceived ideas. The translator could think that the article to translate says what he is been told or what he thinks it should, so he could try to translate his own idea and not what the original writer really meant.


This problem is probably more common than you might think. For example:
Matthew 26
27And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for ἄφεσιν sins.

ἄφεσιν is frequently wrongly translated as "forgiveness of" rather than "freedom from"

This despite the fact that ἄφεσιν literally means "freedom" and only figuratively can mean "forgiveness".
Quote:
Strong's #859: aphesis (pronounced af'-es-is)
from 863; freedom; (figuratively) pardon:--deliverance, forgiveness, liberty, remission.

Thayer's Greek Lexicon:
aphesis
1) release from bondage or imprisonment
2) forgiveness or pardon, of sins (letting them go as if they had never been committed), remission of the penalty
Part of Speech: noun feminine
Relation: from G863

Pasted from <http://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Lexicon.show/ID/G859/aphesis.htm>


What is particularly telling is how the exact same word is translated in Luke 4:18:
Luke 4
18“THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME,
BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR.
HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM ἄφεσιν TO THE CAPTIVES,
AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND,
TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED,

No translations that I know of translates the exact same word as "forgiveness" in Luke 4:18. "Forgiveness" is not what Jesus meant when quoting from Isaiah. "Forgiveness" is not what Jesus meant in Matthew 26:28.

Plus the fact is that the translation as "freedom" is entirely consistent with the gospel preached by Jesus during His ministry while "forgiveness" is not. "Freedom" from committing sin is what Jesus had in mind throughout the gospel preached by Him during His ministry. From Luke 4:18 through Matthew 26:28.

This example illustrates two of your points:
1) The "bias or preconceived idea" that "no writer of the Bible could have written a contradictory idea with another written by another inspired writer".
2) "The translator could think that the [word] to translate says what he [has] been told or what he thinks it should, so he [translates that] idea and not what the original [speaker] really meant."


Last edited by WeSee on Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:29 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 8: Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:23 pm
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Choosing one of the different meanings a word can have is not that simple.

αφεσιν in Luk. 4:18 is contrasted with being in "captivity", so the correct translation is "freedom" and it is one of the meanings of this word, specially if we know that Jesus is citing from Is. 61:1 and the word there is דְּרֹור which means "liberty, freedom".

In Matt. 26:28 the translation is "pardon, forgiveness" (reffering to sins) and it is CORRECTLY TRANSLATED since that is another meaning of the same greek word and the context is the appropiate for that translation.

One same word can be translated in two or more different words in another language depending on the context. There is not bias about that; that is a legal procedure to translate ... some people does not know it. In English for example, the word "bank" can have different meanings depending on the context; that happens with any language, old or modern.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 9: Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:28 pm
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Eloi wrote:
Anyway, we must know the difference between a translation and a version.

I'm not sure what you mean. When referring to Bibles, I use the words interchangeably.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 10: Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:42 pm
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[Replying to Difflugia]

A translation tries to be more accurate and literal as possible ... A version can give a different wording, order, etc and the risk of changing the ideas is bigger ... actually, it happens more often that what someone can think.

When we read different versions of the Bible, we must know if what we are reading is a literal translation or not. No deeper analysis can be done with versions, since they change almost the whole text to express the idea the versionist thinks is the right one ... The writers of these versions practically make paraphrasis of the original text. Those versions can give a general idea of the text, but not the exact meaning like to debate about the content of the BIBLE in the real "academic" sense, or to discuss about deeper doctrines.

There are some ideas in this comment that I don't know how to say in English like I would in Spanish Neutral but I hope my comment is understandable ... It is a periphrastic comment Very Happy so don't use it in an academic sense.


Last edited by Eloi on Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:43 pm; edited 1 time in total

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