[b-hebrew] Translation WAS: Re: VERBS

Bearpecs at aol.com Bearpecs at aol.com
Fri Jul 29 00:54:27 EDT 2005

In a message dated 7/28/2005 10:21:56 PM Eastern Daylight Time,  
peterkirk at qaya.org writes:

At the  very least it is wrong to say that any unclear or unnatural 
translation  "must not be avoided", which seems to be a suggestion that 
clarity and  naturalness in translation are invalid as criteria and must 
not be taken  into account in translation. 

I can't speak for Newmark, but I think that while naturalness is a valid  
criterion, it is not as much a priority as conveying as much as possible of the  
sense of the original.  The same goes for clarity, if by clarity  you mean 
that it is easily understood by reading it through once.  
A good example is the Fox translation, which has been criticized for being  
unnatural English, but I think it does an excellent job at conveying the  
original, and that is more important to me than the naturalness of his  English.  
(I personally happen to like how he uses English.)
I wonder if people here think that modern Jewish translations tend to be  
more literal than modern Christian translations.  I suspect that Jewish  
translators, whether consciously or not, consider that one role of the  translation is 
to lead the reader back to the Hebrew.  Culturally, I think  we tend to 
believe that *really* understanding Jewish texts means understanding  them in 
Hebrew, and a translation is just a waystation on the road to the real  thing.
Hayyim Obadyah
New York, New  York 10027

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