Originally created 06/18/97

Notes misinformation on translations



There was some misinformation on Bible-translation methods in Rev. Robert Land's June 8 rebuttal to Grady Daniel's fine May 29 letter on the proposed, but supposedly-recalled, Inclusive Language New International Version.

The literal, word-for-word method known as formal equivalence doesn't require an original language's word order be duplicated in a receptor language. It requires only that each original word be translated with the same kind of receptor word (a noun must be translated with a noun, for instance). Receptor words may be rearranged for readability.

Formal equivalence is the simplest, safest translation method. It was used to perfection in the King James Version, our most faithful English Bible translation. Since the KJV italicizes words not directly translated from the original languages, its readers can see how much liberty translators took.

The dynamic equivalent, thought-for-thought translation method (a euphemism for paraphrasing) may have been used in all English Bible versions, but in the KJV it was applied only to idiomatic words, phrases and short clauses. Most modern Bible versions rely heavily on it. Since they don't italicize or bracket added words, a reader of those versions can't tell how much license the translators took.

To see how reckless dynamic equivalence can be, we need compare just two translations of II Timothy 3:16: "Everything Scripture (is) God-breathed ..." (Literal Version). "Everything in the Scriptures is God's Word" (Contemporary English Version).

The sloppy CEV changes the subject from "every Scripture" to the Scriptures' contents. It also fails to bracket added words or say that the Scriptures were given by God's breath or inspiration.

Frank Hutto, Martinez



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