Challenges for Literal Translation

Mike Aubrey has posted on Challenges for Literal Translation: Lessons from 4 Maccabees. This pseudepigraphical 1st century AD work in Greek by a Jewish philosopher is included in LXX but not widely considered canonical. Mike shows how much of the meaning of the opening verse of the book is lost in a more or less literal translation, and how this can be recovered by making some quite small changes from formal equivalence to reflect the intended rhetorical structure of the text. The lessons Mike draws are equally applicable to translation of the New Testament.

2 thoughts on “Challenges for Literal Translation

  1. Mike Sangrey says:

    I find the type of analysis Mike has done to be extremely valuable.

    In my opinion, with today’s technology, one should be able to produce a translation which has drill down capability to the linguistic reasons behind the translation choices.

    These descriptions of the translation choices could be further augmented with glossary, the scholarship that forms the foundation, and even tutorials describing how to do this kind of exegesis.

    Gosh, I wish I had money. With the expertise of so many insightful people, such a tool could be produced that would be openly available (I’m thinking of using AJAX and the tool would function as a collaborative tool.) There’s so much benefit this could bring.

  2. Mike Aubrey says:

    A good amount of what I’ve done is relatively available for the NT already, particularly Steve Runge’s Discourse GNT available from Logos covers basically the same stuff.

    As to 4 Macc itself, the book is technically Pseudepigrapha, but its more like Hebrews in that its an anonymous work.

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