[b-hebrew] Footnotes, was: The translation of ehyeh

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Sat Aug 6 13:18:01 EDT 2005

On 06/08/2005 13:33, B. M. Rocine wrote:

>...  All 
>translations should have lots of footnotes.  Lots of the footnotes 
>should read "or, "....""  Others should read, "meaning of Hebrew uncertain."
As a translator, I disagree. The issue depends on the target audience. 
For relatively scholarly audiences using the text for study purposes, 
lots of footnotes are good - although one has to bear in mind the cost 
of all that extra paper. For general audiences using the Bible primarily 
as devotional material, an abundance of footnotes is unhelpful. In fact 
most of them are likely to remain unread, because a normal reader 
reading a text will take the first sensible meaning which comes from the 
main text, and refer to the footnote only if totally confused. This 
footnotes which attempt to correct a misleading literal text are 
worthless because they are ignored. It is much better to put the 
explantory reading in the text, and if necessary add a footnote giving a 
more literal rendering.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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