[B-Greek] Translating Mark 1:8 (revised)
jwest at highland.net
Thu Nov 3 15:11:33 EST 2005
Carl W Conrad wrote:
> Dan, you've made perfectly clear that you intend to persist with this
> "interlinear" mode of transliteration despite the fact that several
> respondents have called attention to its inaccurate representation of
> the sense of the Greek. So here "immerse" for "BAPTIZW" has been
> faulted by several respondents as inaccurate certainy for the second
> verb form here (BAPTISEI), and while you might think "a Holy Spirit"
> accurately represents the Greek text PNEUMATI hAGIWi, what you're
> deriving from the Greek is pidgin-English rather than an equivalent
> of what the Greek text says. What's wrong with this "interlinear"
> style of "translation" is that it's based on an assumption that the
> "forest" of a sequence of discourse is no less and no more than but
> exactly equal to the sum of the "trees" of words inside that
> sequence. I think that's been stated in different ways in several of
> the responses to your idiosyncratic renderings of Marcan texts, but I
> felt it was worth reiterating "yet once more again," despite the fact
> that you've made it obvious that you intend to go on doing it this way.
I have to agree with Carl on this- there is nothing to be gained by a
sort of interlinear, word for word, wooden rendition- as a final
product. But there is some benefit in taking the time to translate, at
first, quite woodenly. Then, once that step has been taken, it is
absolutely necessary to render that wooden version into a more fluid and
accurate receptor language (whether it be English or whatever).
Sometimes translators are so certain that they know what the "sentence"
means they don't take the time necessary to see what the "words" as
individual words mean.
For this reason, it is quite proper, I think, to - at a first go- render
"pneuma agiwn" as "a holy spirit". But then you have to ask yourself
"does that make sense in English"? The answer is, quite simply, no. Not
in the context of Mark 1:8. It doesn't make any sort of sense at all.
So, if your concern is to make the text sensible, English nearly, and
virtually, demands the insertion of the definite article.
Translation is art as much as it is science - and without possessing
something of a feel for a text, the language of the text, and the
language the text is to be translated into, one can only offer something
akin to a "computer generated translation" which may technically be
correct but in the end makes no sense at all.
D. Jim West
Biblical Studies Resources - http://web.infoave.net/~jwest
Biblical Theology Weblog - http://biblical-studies.blogspot.com
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