[B-Greek] translation strategies

Eddie Mishoe edmishoe at yahoo.com
Thu Jun 25 10:45:41 EDT 2009


Well said. If you've read my response by now, hopefully you will see what I've been ranting about.

I think something that needs to be added to this discussion is the level of proficiency a Translator has to attain in his own language, English in our discussion. How can a translator convey the meaning of a Greek text to English readers if he is not exceptionally acquainted with English grammar and syntax AND Greek grammar and syntax? 

Remember in my earlier post, there are these two separate Groups: translator group, English reader group. I think Carl and Michael were exclusively focusing on how one goes about learning the Greek language personally, but not only learning it, mastering it, mastering it such that they could function as translators to those in the English reader group (which is about 98 percent of where most readers of the English Bible are). By definition, when there is a translator, there is something going on with at least 2 languages. I feel like I'm repeating myself, so I think I'll stop here.

Eddie Mishoe

--- On Thu, 6/25/09, Mark Lightman <lightmanmark at yahoo.com> wrote:

> From: Mark Lightman <lightmanmark at yahoo.com>
> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] translation  strategies
> To: "'B Greek'" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>, "Yancy Smith" <yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net>
> Date: Thursday, June 25, 2009, 10:23 AM
> I'm looking forward to Eddie's
> response, but during this αναπνευσις
> πολεμοιο
> ANAPNEUSIS POLEMOIO, as Homer might say, let me add a quick
> point
> which is neither original nor germane to Eddieʼs real
> point, since we still don't
> know exactly what that is yet.
> If we are going to retain terms like "Genitive of Purpose,"
> can we at least
> use the Greek term?  Randall was a forerunner in this, but
> now his
> FWNH EN THi ERHMΗi has been joined by Christophe Rico who
> includes
> six pages of grammatical terms in Greek.  In retrospect,
> it seems almost
> crazy that we did not all learn DOTIKH early on, since this
> would help us
> with DIDWMI when we came to it, and most of us had to learn
> what 
> "dative" means anyway.  Plus, is "genitive" even used
> anywhere anymore
> other than in Greek or Latin.  Not in Hebrew or English, I
> know.
> There are two other advantages to using Greek not Latin
> It would force us to decide which terms to keep.  If hH
> is not helpful in Greek, throw it out.  Two, and more
> importantly, and totally
> outside the realm of this thread, it would give us early
> experience with hearing
> more Greek in the classroom.  I think one of the reasons
> Hebrew may be
> easier to internalize than Greek is that there are many
> Hebrew terms which
> are commonly spoken by Americans during linguistic and
> theological conversations,
> These are
> mixed in with English by Jews and Gentiles alike.  We all
> say "read from
> the Torah," but who ever says read the Graphe or the
> Biblion.  It's harder
> to do in Greek because of the EGLISEIS and the accents,
> but Buth and Rico
> show it can be done.
> I've got to be careful not to sound like an obnoxious
> convert to living language
> methods,  I've have been an obnoxious defender of Old
> School Methods on the list and reserve my right to do so in
> the future.  But using Aitiatike instead of Accusative
> is one reform I would be in favor of right away. I wonder
> how Wallace's book would
> be different if he were to use more Greek.
> Now let the MAXH resume. 
> Φωσπορος Μαρκος
> --- On Thu, 6/25/09, Yancy Smith <yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net>
> wrote:
> From: Yancy Smith <yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net>
> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] translation strategies
> To: "'B Greek'" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Date: Thursday, June 25, 2009, 7:20 AM
> I want to add two pence to this discussion from the far
> left field. My Greek
> teacher, Mr. Robert Johnston of Abilene Christian
> University, used to tell
> his students that the didactic categories of Greek grammar
> taught to
> middling students were like the scaffolding built around a
> building. At some
> point in the construction process, the scaffolding becomes
> a bother and must
> be removed. Before that point the scaffolding is probably
> necessary. I say
> "probably," because it all depends on the method of
> learning. For example,
> many students of living foreign language don't get this
> kind of stuff until
> they take a "Contrastive Grammar" course sometime late in
> the language
> learning process. We become hopelessly confused, however,
> when we think that
> our didactic grammar categories represent something like
> (universally?)
> normative grammar rules and binding us to them some sort of
> description of
> reality. Didactic grammatical tags are rather ad hoc for
> the most part.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
> [mailto:b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org]
> On Behalf Of Carl Conrad
> Sent: Thursday, June 25, 2009 6:47 AM
> To: Eddie Mishoe
> Cc: B Greek
> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] translation strategies
> Let's start all over again with this, please. I've re-read
> the  
> original question as posted below and I think now, as I did
> when I  
> first read it, that it is a reaction to (against) my
> fervent hope that  
> we were not going to add a new subcategory of "genitive of
> purpose" to  
> the numerous subcategories of Wallace's GGBB.
> Unless I really am off my rocker (Eddie suggests "early
> signs of  
> dementia" and later comments that I am out in left field
> (while Mike  
> Aubrey is out in right field, neither of us two  having
> grasped what  
> Eddie is really trying to say), let me try a strategy (that
> word will  
> get me into trouble again, I'm sure) I once learned that
> was supposed  
> to foster effective communication in meetings and make
> meetings  
> shorter and more efficient: make sure that you understand
> what the  
> other guy is saying; state in your own words what you think
> the other  
> guy's saying, then let him tell you if that's what he
> really meant.
> I and perhaps a few others have frequently complained
> (verily, ad  
> nauseam) about the "multiplication of grammatical
> subcategories" in  
> Wallace's GGBB, with special frequency and vehemence
> directed toward  
> the interpretive subcategories of the adnominal genitive
> (including  
> that most curious beast, the "aporetic genitive" -- a term
> that seems  
> to point roughly to something like Abbot and Costello's
> "Who's on  
> first, What's on second, I Don't Know's on third."). I have
> even  
> suggested, and I think some others have concurred with me,
> that  
> Wallace's subcategories such as these subcategories of the
> adnominal  
> genitive, do not really represent grammatical constructions
> that would  
> have meant anything to a native Greek speaker or writer;
> rather these  
> subcategories are explanatory terms designed to help the
> intermediate  
> Greek student understand how the meaning of the Greek
> construction in  
> each particular instance would find expression in English.
> I think  
> that I myself may have to bear the responsibility and blame
> for  
> calling these subcategories "translation strategies" rather
> than  
> straightforward grammatical accounts of how the Greek
> construction  
> functions in the mind of the Greek speaker/writer and what
> it means to  
> the Greek speaker/writer.
> Now perhaps I am wholly mistaken here -- Eddie certainly
> seems  
> convinced that I am --, but I had the impression that Eddie
> was using  
> the term "translation strategies" to refer to Wallace's
> subcategories  
> of the adnominal genitive in GGBB, objecting once again, as
> indeed he  
> has done before, to my disparagement of these
> "grammatical"  
> subcategories as explanations of the Greek construction in
> terms of  
> how the Greek construction is best conveyed in English. If
> that is the  
> case, then Eddie is insisting (more forcefully, in fact)
> that  
> Wallace's subcategories -- including a putative "Genitive
> of Purpose"  
> -- do indeed convey exactly -- no more and no less -- what
> the  
> original Greek expression is actually saying/meaning.
> IS that what you actually meant, Eddie? Or have I really
> misunderstood  
> you altogether, after all?
> Now I continue to disapprove of all those subcategories and
> I continue  
> to think that the student of Greek really ought to read
> oodles of  
> Greek and spend less time working with "Greek" grammars
> that focus on  
> explaining how to turn Greek constructions into idiomatic
> English.
> BUT -- to be fair to Wallace's declared intent with regard
> to GGBB,  
> Wallace has acknowledged openly -- recently in a comment on
> a blog  
> (was it yours, Mike?) and even in the Introduction to GGBB
> (but who  
> ever reads Introductions?) --, that these subcategories are
> NOT  
> precise semantic content inherent in the syntactic
> structure of the  
> adnominal genitive, but RATHER are
> interpretative/interpretive  
> SYNTHESES  of the inherent semantic content of the
> adnominal genitive  
> construction PLUS the contextual indicators ("pragmatic"
> factors)  
> pointing to how the phrase formulated in this constrution
> in this  
> particular context means what Walace believes it means.
> TO ME that means that GGBB's textbook explanation of Greek
> grammatical  
> constructions in the GNT is in itself NOT a GRAMMAR of NT
> Greek but  
> rather a METHODOLOGY FOR INTERPRETING the NT Greek text.
> And I surmise  
> that Eddie means that WITHOUT SUCH A METHODOLOGY FOR
> NT Geek text, it is impossible to EXPLAIN what the Greek
> text MEANS.
> Now IF that's what Eddie was trying to say, I understand
> it, even if I  
> don't agree with it. I would rather approach the Greek text
> of the NT  
> as freshly as I can every time I look at it, even if I'm
> looking at a  
> passage I've looked at before, and try to understand it as
> it flows in  
> its own sequence of words, phrases, and clauses, gathering
> my own  
> grasp of the meaning of the passage as a whole before I
> ever begin to  
> ANALYZE the construction in terms of WHY I think it means
> what I think  
> it means. I really don't want to have all these algorithmic
> tools for  
> calculating the pragmatic features of the context and
> pigeonholing the  
> resultant construction into something called a "Genitive of
> Purpose."
> I don't want to read 2 COR. 1:24 OUC hOTI KURIEUOMEN hUMWN
> hESTHKATE and feel  
> the need to analyze what kind of genitive is involved in
> the phrasing  
> of  SUNERGOI ESMEN THS CARAS hUMWN. I am perhaps silly
> enough to  
> imagine that it is reasonably clear that Paul is claiming
> to have  
> played some part in bringing about the joy felt by the
> Corinthian  
> congregation.
> IN SUM, I don't really think it is all about
> "translating,  
> translating, translating." I think it's about "reading
> Greek and  
> understanding the Greek that one reads" without giving
> thought to how  
> the Greek phrasing would convert into the right phrasing
> for one or  
> another target language. I continue to believe that one
> must  
> understand the Greek text BEFORE one can ever translate it.
> And I  
> continue to think that "explaining the Greek NT" is not
> ultimately a  
> matter of "translation strategies" as it is a matter of
> understanding  
> the text of the NT as a Greek text and being able to
> communicate what  
> one understands.
> Now it may be that this is not at all what Eddie Mishoe was
> talking  
> about. If it isn't, I apologize for being still out in left
> field, but  
> I hope that I have made clear at least what I think about
> what I  
> thought he was talking about.
> Carl W. Conrad
> Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
> On Jun 24, 2009, at 4:36 PM, Eddie Mishoe wrote:
> >
> > 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
> ---
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> [Yancy Smith] 
> Yancy Smith
> Yancy W. Smith, PhD
> World Bible Translation Center
> 4028 Daley Ave., Suite 201
> Fort Worth, TX 76180
> p 817-595-1664
> f 817580-7013
> yancy at wbtc.org
> Be kinder than necessary for everyone you meet is fighting
> some kind of
> battle.
> ---
> B-Greek home page: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek
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