[b-hebrew] Translation theory and NP$

Bryant J. Williams III bjwvmw at com-pair.net
Tue Jul 14 01:55:46 EDT 2009

Dear Rolf,

The only disadvantage I can see, is that many
people combine immortality with it (an immortal soul), a concept that
is completely foreign to the Tanakh.

How do account for
Exodus 3:6; Job 19:25-27 which seems to imply otherwise.

Rev. Bryant J. Williams III
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Rolf Furuli" <furuli at online.no>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Monday, July 13, 2009 8:42 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Translation theory and NP$

> Dear James,
> When Martin Luther made his German translation, German was not fully
> developed as a language, so he had to create new words, or chose old
> words as "catchwords" signifying particular concepts. In time, all
> these words were implemented in the religious and secular language,
> and people used them.
> When a native Hebrew speaker heard NP$,  his mental concept signalled
> by the word was activated, and on the basis of the context he would
> ascertain which area of the concept that was made visible. The point
> with a literal translation is to find a word close to the core
> meaning of the concept, and let the readers look up its references,
> to the point were the diligent reader will  get a part of the
> original concept in his or her mental lexicon.
> If one chooses to make a literal translation, one should have Ogden's
> triangle of signification in mind, with "sign," "concept," and
> "reference" at the corners. In my view, it may be confusing if we
> choose one of the references as the word representing the concept in
> the target language. Therefore, I  do not  think "creature" is a good
> choice, and "life" is even worse. The words "Sele," "soul," and
> "sjel" (German, English, and Norwegian) have long been a part of the
> vocabularies of the mentioned languages, so I find it to be an
> excellent choice. The only disadvantage I can see, is that many
> people combine immortality with it (an immortal soul), a concept that
> is completely foreign to the Tanakh. But  such a choice of one
> English word for one Hebrew word gives  the reader the opportunity to
> have a part in the translation process, and the translation process
> also consists of rejecting wrong ideas connected with a particular
> word-the idea of an immortal soul will rather quickly be rejected of
> the references of "sould" are looked up.
> Best regards,
> Rolf Furuli
> University of Oslo
> >Hi Rolf,
> >
> >I can see what you are saying in principle. But I think that 'soul'
> >is perhaps the poorest choice of word possible if the aim is to
> >guide a reader to understanding of NP$ via consistent translation.
> >The majority of texts seem to place the semantic domain of NP$ as
> >synonym of life but with occasional more abstract shades (and
> >occasional more concrete shades). A good choice of word, in English,
> >doesn't spring to mind but whatever it is it should be a close
> >synonym of 'life'. English 'soul' doesn't really qualify as it
> >carries with it all kinds of semantic baggage that 'life' doesn't.
> >
> >In fact, the more I think about it I don't really think it is
> >possible to choose 1 word in English which is a synonym of life and
> >which works in all contexts of NP$. But, I agree, that we could
> >definitely do better than using 30 different words of completely
> >different meaning.
> >
> >James Christian
> >
> >>
> >>Second, I would like to have a translation like Youngs literal
> >>translation  and the New World Translation that are very literal
> >>(together with Wuest's Expanded translation). A strictly literal
> >>translation is in a way a semi-translation. For example, when the NWT
> >>consistently uses the one English word "soul" as a translation of
> >>NP$, the readers must on the basis of the context find the references
> >>of "soul". Therefore, the readers have a part in the very process of
> >>translation.The advantage of a literal translation is that the
> >>readers may come as close as possible to the original text through
> >>their mother tongue.  But this can of course be a real challenge. One
> >>other advantage of such a translation, is that the readers can see
> >>where other modern translations for different reasons have broken
> >>fundamental translation rules and in effect has lead their readers
> >>astray.
> >>
> >>Third, I would like to have an idiomatic translation that is as
> >>literal as possible, but not is a semi-translation. This means that
> >>more than one word is used for NP$, but much fewer than the 30 or
> >>more words that are used in modern translations, Footnotes with
> >>alternative readings and alternative translation possibilities would
> >>also be appreciated. When a person who does not know the original
> >>languages works to get an understanding of Biblical passages, he or
> >>she will learn a lot by comparing different translations. It is
> >>impossible to transfer the whole original meaning of the verbs and
> >>clauses from the source language to the target language-a part, great
> >>or small, is lost in the process, and a part, great or small, is
> >>added. Different translations may stress different sides of the
> >>original meaning, and therefore it is an advantage to use several
> >>translations.
> >>
> >
> >
> >--
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> >Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
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