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They could have said it that way


Literate readers are not the only ones insulted by dynamic equivalence Bible translations.

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In the urge to relieve allegedly inexpert readers from the need to make interpretive decisions, and to guard readers from misinterpretation, dynamic equivalence translator overlooked one important thing: in the overwhelming number of instances where these translators believed that they need to change, explain, or clarify the original, the original authors could have said it that way and chose not to. The psalmist had the linguistic resources to say (in Ps. 78:33) that God ended the days of the wicked “in futility” (NIV) or “in emptiness” (REB) or “in failure” (NEB) instead of saying that “their days vanish like a breath” (RSV, ESV, NRSV). At the heart of the dynamic equivalence experiment is the attempt to fix the assumed inadequacies of the Bible for modern readers. This maneuver is not an example of sophistication as opposed to naïvete; it is instead and unwarranted affront to the original authors (an extension of the “what the author was trying to say” fallacy that has become so prevalent).

—Leland Rykend, Translating Truth: The Case for Essentially Literal Bible Translation (Crossway, 2005), 68.

And let’s be clear: the “original author” receiving this “unwarranted affront” is none other than God himself.



Posted 2008·08·19 by David Kjos
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Posted in: Idolatry · Leland Ryken · Translating Truth · Translations

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