Accuracy is incredibly important when it comes to Bible translation–I believe it is the most important measure of a successful translation project.
But, what does accuracy mean?
There are lots of opinions; they are varied and many overlap. So, how to even start the discussion is a discussion in and of itself. I’d like to start the discussion by asking a question about the question.
What are your underlying assumptions about the meaning of accuracy as it relates to Bible translation?
For example, let me state some of mine in order to:
- provide some initial content,
- and give some examples of what is on topic.
Here are five assumptions I make regarding the meaning of accuracy as it relates to Bible translation. There are more; these are simply the ones I’ve thought of while composing this post. Hopefully, these thoughts will be varied enough to stir the thinking, and yet focused enough to guide our discussion.
- The original documents were composed for a specific audience existing in space and time.
- Communication is a complex made up of objective and subjective elements.
- Accuracy is not absolute, but always refers to a qualitative measurement which falls within an audience determined, acceptable tolerance.
- The intended audience for a Bible translation constrains a definition of ‘accuracy’. For example, one type of translation helps the “reader” work with the original forms–accuracy is form oriented. Another type stimulates cognition so as to approximate seamless communication from original author to modern audience–accuracy is meaning oriented.
- Generally, when a translator can influence an interpretive context, there are multiple ways of saying the same thing with a given language.
I’d love some responses from those who have been actively involved in Bible translation! Your practical insight will help our readership gain an appreciation for the underlying issues you wrestle with.
What are some of your assumptions?