Here’s the grind: while the English professor is highly critical of the dynamic equivalence approach to Bible translation, the 16th century German reformer gladly embraced the dynamic equivalence approach to Bible translation of his time.
No, this is not really right. You are mistranslating Luther, or misexpressing him. He did not produce a dynamic translation and took care to produce an accurate translation according to the standards of his day.
Do you have the original German quote?
And I took the bait. I am such a sucker for this stuff. I wrote,
I think Tyndale and Luther had the same goals and undertook a very similar type of translation. However, Luther did sneak in a few of his own dynamic translations here and there. For example,
1. He added allein “only” to Romans 3:28,
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. KJV
So halten wir nun dafür, daß der Mensch gerecht werde ohne des Gesetzes Werke, allein durch den Glauben. Luther
2. He prefered to say that a woman was schwanger “pregnant” rather than “with child” or “conceive seed.”
Durch den Glauben empfing auch Sara Kraft, daß sie schwanger (pregnant) ward und gebar über die Zeit ihres Alters; denn sie achtete ihn treu, der es verheißen hatte. Luther
Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. KJV
3. And I like what he did here,
Gehorcht euren Lehrern (teachers) und folgt (follow) ihnen;
Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit to them KJV
4. But not so much here,
Grüßet den Andronikus und den Junias, (first to translate Junia as a male) meine Gefreundeten und meine Mitgefangenen, welche sind berühmte Apostel (are well known apostles) und vor mir gewesen in Christo. Luther
Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. KJV
Otherwise, though, it is very similar to Tyndale although there are specific differences in details. For example, “saved” and “blessed” are both translated with selig and German lacks latinizations like “justification” so that would always be gerechtigkeit – righteousness.
Luther’s Bible sounds less formal than the KJV but it is still for the most part literal. That my sense in any case.
So here is the question, if Luther’s translation is relatively literal why did he write,
“Whoever would speak German must not see Hebrew idioms; but if he understand the Hebrew writer, he must see to it that he grasps his meaning and must think: Now let me see. How does a German speak in this case?”
How should we characterize Luther’s translation?