As my wife and I were nearing the end of the Cheyenne Bible translation project, we benefitted greatly from the insights of a translation consultant. One of her primary means of checking the Cheyenne translation was for a Cheyenne person to hear an entire paragraph of the translation and then summarize it (BBB blogger Mike Sangrey calls this a precis, I believe). This checking procedure was very helpful and showed us whether or not the Cheyenne translation had the same cohesion (compositional “glue”) and coherence (making sense) as the source text. If a Cheyenne person could not summarize a paragraph, we could suspect something wrong with the translation. It didn’t hang together properly. Perhaps we didn’t use proper word combinations (collocations). Perhaps we hadn’t structured the Cheyenne to be true Cheyenne, instead of being too close to the structure of the source text.
I suggest that this kind of procedure can be used for checking any Bible translation, including those in English. It is also a valuable Bible study method.
I am rushing as I post this, since my wife and I are about to leave for the airport, so I can’t write more on this topic right now. But I would invite others of you to comment on making summaries of a paragraph (or other natural discourse unit, such as an episode or pericope) as a means of checking a translation, as well as a Bible study method.
Perhaps someone could even comment suggesting a translated Bible paragraph which could be checked to see if it has cohesion and coherence like the source text does.