Saturday, April 08, 2006

Thoughts on bible translation

Rodney Decker's What Does a Translator Have To Offer a Reader? has some great quotes about the problems of translating. He includes of course, Traduttore traditore, the Italian proverb Translators are traitors, but also Rabbi Yehuda in the Talmud:
He who translates a verse literally is a liar,
and he who paraphrases is a blasphemer!

He also cites Cicero's words, when attempting to translate Plato from Greek to Latin:
It is hard to preserve in a translation the charm of expressions which in another language are most felicitous...
If I render word for word, the result will sound uncouth, and if compelled by necessity I alter anything in the order or wording, I shall seem to have departed from the function of a translator.

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