[b-hebrew] Genesis 3:15 "bruise"

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Thu Dec 23 13:41:08 EST 2004


I tried to download your file, and for some reason all I got was an error message.

I see your point, I think.

For example, if I were to translate a Chinese sentence (used for neutrality in this discussion) "Fire wagon yesterday day go across iron road upon" makes no sense to someone who does not know Chinese, so a good translator then paraphrases the sentence to "Yesterday the train went down the tracks." This is where paraphrasing is used as a tool to help with translation. I don't think you object to "paraphrase" being used in this context.

To give another example, there was a "translation" of the Bible made by people who did not believe the stories contained therein, therefore they at the beginning of one story "translated" WYHY as "Once upon a time..." which elicited mirth among those who pointed it out to me. They, profs and fellow students, called that a "paraphrase" which, strictly speaking, is a misuse of the term. That is not a restating into more understandable language, which is the strict definition of "paraphrase", but adding to the text, in other words, a mistranslation. It is that misuse of the term "paraphrase" to which you object. Am I right?

Further, my teachers taught that the more one paraphrases, the more likely one is to pass from a legitimate use of paraphrasing as in the first example, to adding or subtracting from the meaning as in the second example, therefore paraphrasing should be done carefully and as sparingly as possible. The way they used "paraphrase" came to mean untrustworthy to possibly incorrect translation, a rather specialized use of the term. I was guilty in using the term in a manner that reflected this meaning, and I think George meant it in this way as well.

Yes, my use of the term was somewhat sloppy, following the example given above. But does this post clear the question up, or is there further clarification needed?

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter Kirk" <peterkirk at qaya.org>

> On 23/12/2004 02:16, Karl Randolph wrote:
> > Peter:
> >
> > When I hear "direct translation", most people are thinking of a 
> > word for word translation. For reasons discussed before, that is 
> > impossible.
> >
> > But the question is: how much paraphrasing can be done before it 
> > crosses the line from merely making the ideas in one language 
> > understandable in another, as a subset of translation, to 
> > becoming an original work of art pushing its own ideas? All of us 
> > have seen examples of such misuse of paraphrase, where it has 
> > become the boss rather than the servant of translation, hence why 
> > we are so leery of "paraphrase".
> >
> >
> >
> I am only leery of this continuing abuse of the word "paraphrase". 
> For some of my thoughts on the other issues here, see my draft 
> paper 
> http://www.qaya.org/academic/bibletranslation/Holy%20Communicative.zip.
> -- Peter Kirk
> peter at qaya.org (personal)
> peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
> http://www.qaya.org/
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