[B-Greek] translation strategies

Carl Conrad cwconrad2 at mac.com
Wed Jun 24 17:36:59 EDT 2009

On Jun 24, 2009, at 4:52 PM, Michael Aubrey wrote:

> But we're not talking about translation here. Yes translators are  
> interpreters. Yes, it is helpful for translators to describe what  
> they see in Greek. But that doesn't make all of the categories in  
> GGBB grammar. The categories aren't grammar. They're interpretive  
> labels that say little to nothing abut the actual structure of the  
> Greek language.

I think that Mike has already said what I want to say -- and I hardly  
hope to persuade anyone who does honestly believe that the only way to  
understand Greek is to convert it into English that expresses the same  
content as a Greek text under consideration. I just don't think you  
can ever convert a Greek text into English that expresses the same  
meaning without UNDERSTANDING the Greek text.

A grammar of English offers an accounting for how English functions to  
convey meaning. A grammar of French or German offers an accounting of  
how French or German functions to convey meaning. It seems odd to me  
that a grammar of Greek should be expected to offer an accounting of  
how Greek texts can be translated into English rather than of how  
Greek functions to convey meaning.

One wonders (i.e. I wonder) how Greek-speakers who know no English  
ever succeeded in understanding spoken and written Greek without ever  
having first learned English so as to know what a spoken or written  
Greek expression means.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

> ________________________________
> From: Eddie Mishoe <edmishoe at yahoo.com>
> To: B Greek <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 2009 1:36:03 PM
> Subject: [B-Greek] translation  strategies
> I have spoken out in opposition to this, and feel compelled to  
> continue saying why I think translation strategies are the key to  
> explaining the GNT, no -- the only way to explain the GNT.
> Translation strategies are when the translator brings the original  
> language concept into the target language. The concept being  
> explained is EXCLUSIVELY that found in the original language.
> It is sheer nonsense to continue to gripe about translation  
> strategies as if they are somehow using the target language to  
> explain a target language concept. Idioms create their own set of  
> challenges, but for the rest of the text, the most effective way (no  
> -- the only way) to translate the meaning and nuance from the  
> original language to the target language is by translation strategy.
> Translators are interpreters. Interpreters translate in the target  
> language the concept being discussed in the original language. The  
> many, many Genitive categories and sub-categories we find in GGBB is  
> only the tip of the iceberg of the many ways a Genitive can  
> function. If we included the Hellenistic literature, we would need  
> to add a couple hundred more; this is what the concept of "nuance"  
> means. If one were to give the nuances of the English word "in" to a  
> Greek reader, that Greek reader would have to learn more than 100  
> usages of this "simple" preposition. Other words are even worse. The  
> point is, each of the 100+ usages of "in" have a separate  
> grammatical categories and sub-categories.
> Using this "purpose adnominal genitive" is an attempt to convey the  
> GREEK concept behind the GREEK structure to ENGLISH readers. We may  
> need a much larger literary corpus to analyze the legitimacy of this  
> "purpose adnominal genitive." However, until that is undertaken, we  
> have to continue following hunches.
> One could argue that the sole function of a translator is to use  
> translation strategies to convey the meaning and nuances of the  
> original language into the target language.
> Eddie Mishoe
> Pastor

More information about the B-Greek mailing list