[b-hebrew] Alter's translation (Was: Daniel 6:27 (time indefinite) II)
peter at qaya.org
Mon Nov 21 20:01:07 EST 2005
On 22/11/2005 00:26, B. M. Rocine wrote:
>I think you may be confusing Fox's translation, which is quirky, with
>Alter's, which is not. Alter is a fine literary critic who often amazes
>me with his power of expression. If there is one thing Alter is
>well-equipped to do, it is to write. He's a master at the English language.
If anyone is confusing them, it is Bill, for he wrote of "Alter's
slightly quirky translation style". What I said was that Alter's
translation was "bad English", and I was referring to Alter, not Fox.
But let's examine the hypothesis that Alter is "a master at the English
language". Start with the first two verses of his translation:
> “When God began to create heaven and earth, and the earth then was
> welter and waste and darkness over the deep and God’s breath hovering
> over the waters, God said, ‘Let there be light’. And there was light.”
That's as much as I can find online, but that is enough to prove my point.
"The earth then was welter"? What on earth does that mean? It may sound
nice and poetic with its alliteration with "waste", but as far as I am
concerned it is nonsense, a bit like Jabberwocky. Then we have "and
God’s breath hovering over the waters" with no main verb, a clear
grammatical error which would be marked wrong in first grade. (Well, I
suppose the point could be that "the earth then was... God's breath...",
but this is both bad punctuation and a translation error.) This is no
more and no less than bad English, and would be marked as such by any
teacher. I suppose there is a fashion in certain literary circles for
writers to ignore the basic rules of English and still be considered
"literary", but I don't judge English by those people's standards.
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
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