[b-hebrew] Translation theory and hebrew verb forms

James Read J.Read-2 at sms.ed.ac.uk
Sun Jul 12 15:43:54 EDT 2009

Hi Rolf,

I've been meaning to ask you this for some time but never got round to it.

This question is more to do with translation theory than with your  
study of the verb forms although there is some limited connection. I  
was wondering what bearing your conclusions have on how we ought to  
translate the texts of the various Hebrew writings. Do you believe  
that the 'imperfective' and 'perfective' aspects of the verbs are so  
important that we should try to express them in some way in every  
verbal instance (like the NWT does) or do you think we should opt for  
a translation style that better reflects natural language in the  
target language (without overstepping the boundaries and going into  
super paraphrase mode, of course)?

The translators of the so called LXX didn't seem to follow any such  
rigid translation scheme. Also, the quotations of Hebrew scriptures  
found in Greek scriptures seemed to give more emphasis to basic  
meaning rather than any rigid adherence to grammatical influences.  
What are your feelings about these kind of translation issues?

James Christian

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list