Lingamish has posted a translation theory florilegium (of sorts) whose purpose is to throw light on “some of the philosophies that underlie the CEV translation.” The selection from an interview with Barclay Newman, in particular, caught my attention:
“We take in consideration the fact that more people hear the scriptures read than read them for themselves, and we tried to create a text that a person who is unfamiliar with traditional biblical jargon can read aloud without stumbling, can hear without misunderstanding, and can listen to with appreciation and enjoyment because the language is lucid and lyrical.”
Fair enough, I suppose; but to this one might easily reply with a quote from the Rev Mr John Hobbins (which features an embedded quote from the Rev Mr Ker himself):
“I agree with Lingamish’s earlier propositions, which he has now forgotten:
- A truly literary translation will suggest the foreignness of the original without being incomprehensible.
- A literary translation will not be literary in ways that the original is not.
A corollary of (2) is that a literary translation will be literary where the original is.”
And one might add, a “literary translation” (and note that this term is, in fact, coextensive with what ElShaddai has aptly called Literary Equivalence) will not be complicated where the original is not, and by the same token, will not be simpler than the original. With this in mind, I would like to add my own quote to the discussion, which (naturally) comes from the pen of the infallible Moisés Silva:
“[R]ecent advances in linguistics place much emphasis on the context of speech. The admirable desire to produce translations that do not sound like translations and are thus clearer and more accessible to the modern reader must be accompanied by the reminder that the biblical stories took place in the Middle East rather than the Western world, in ancient times rather than in the twentieth century. To the extent that “readable” translations indirectly encourage modern readers to forget such a setting, to that extent they also fail to capture part of the meaning of the text. Besides, one detects a definite tendency to make modern translations much simpler than the original Greek and Hebrew. If the Corinthians had some difficulty understanding Paul’s Greek, it is no disgrace when a modern English reader has to struggle through a long apostolic sentence.” (God, Language, and Scripture [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990], page 138.)
Well, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: all translators are traitors, and should be tried as such!