Be sure not to miss these important recent posts by John Hobbins on literary Bible translation:
- Is Literary Translation Possible?
- A Literary Translation of Psalm 51
I wish to add to the discussion by Rich, John, and Doug by stating that there is no inherent conflict between Dynamic Equivalence translation and literary translation. In fact, DE translation is actually better equipped to display the qualities of literary translation than is more literal translation. The reason it is is that DE translation uses the grammatical and lexical structures of a translation target language (in this case, English) far more than does literal translation. (UPDATE: Literary language is natural language. It has characteristics which distinguish it from spoken language, but both use natural language forms.) We discover the grammar of literary English by analyzing good quality English literature, just as we discover the grammar of spoken English by analyzing spoken English utterances. The grammar of literary English should be used in any literary English translation of a text in another language.
DE translation is not, as some suppose, a “simplification” of literary biblical texts. It is, instead, an accurate translation of those texts. Accurate DE translation should be expressed in the same kind (register, genre) of language as that of each part of the source text. The best DE translation should not only reflect low level (e.g. words, phrases, clauses) meanings but also higher level (such as idioms, paragraph, episode, rhetorical) meanings. And to be most accurate, it should express these meanings using the forms of the target language which are equivalent in genre (poetic, proverbial, narrative, hortatory, conversational, literary, etc.) to the genre of the biblical texts.