First, let me offer a word of thanks to commenters on my previous two posts. It is always a thrill to interact with such a wild and woolly bunch.
The logic problem that always leaves me scratching my head is this: God wrote The Book. He intended for it to be translated. But he left us without the tools to do it properly. We lack the original authors to consult on their intentions. In most cases we have far too little data to make a comparative analysis of lexemes and phrases. We’re often not sure of the original author or readers and the cultural milieu that they lived in. Too often, we just don’t know. Our translations can become a projected solipsism. Grab it and create the meaning of your choice.
In Spanish or Portuguese if I ask you what you mean, I ask what did you “want to say?” ¿Que queria decir? or Que queria dizer? Jorge Luis Borges once remarked on a translation of one of his works, “It translated what I meant but not what I wanted to say.” That “want to say” element of meaning is the part that leaves translators like myself feeling nervous. We can often tell you what God’s Word means, but not what he wanted to say. But being God I suspect he could have set things up differently had he wished. Ambiguity and error don’t take him by surprise. The one who created bird takes joy in the more than 10,000 species. He might find equal pleasure in the 6,912 wirds.
*6,912 is the number of living languages listed at http://www.ethnologue.com.
If anyone could track down the actual Borges quote I’d be grateful.