Yesterday (Disagreeable nouns) I posted some examples of “disagreeable nouns” in English translations. And I included a few examples of my own just to see if you were awake.
Here are the four passages I listed with the problems highlighted and explained.
1. The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. (Matthew 1:1, ESV)
There’s an ambiguity here because of the use of the word “son.” Does Jesus have two fathers? Or maybe Jesus is the son of David who is the son of Abraham. Better to say something like, “Jesus Christ, the descendant of both David and Abraham.”
2. Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. (Mark 2:13, NIV)
This isn’t ungrammatical but there is a switch in pronominal reference. A crowd (singular, it) came to him and he taught them (plural, referring to people). This is very common in the Gospels. You’re always hearing something like, “Then the disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Master…'” I always imagine the 12 disciples speaking in unison.
3. One day Zechariah’s group of priests were on duty, and he was serving God as a priest. (Luke 1:8, CEV)
Now this is an error. Agreement with a noun phrase is with the head noun. So it should be “group of priests was.” This is a very common “error” and people make it all the time while speaking. Still, it’s pretty amazing to find an error in the CEV unless this is some kind of British English that I’m not familiar with.
4. 1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1-3, KJV)
Peter caught the error on this one. Pronouns tend to refer back to the most recent, logical referent. So if I say, “Yesterday, I saw Wayne having coffee with Peter. He was looking great.” In this example, “he” refers to “Wayne” since he’s the most active referent. But if I said, “Yesterday, Wayne introduced me to Peter. He’s a stock broker on Wall Street.” You would know that “he” refers to Peter.
But in this passage from John, Word is an “it” (generally speaking) while God is a “he” so we expect the pronouns in verse three to be referring to God. But “Word” is the participant in focus so I think that even though the Greek is ambiguous that the pronoun was understood to be referring to Word and not God.
In Nyungwe, Word (fala) and God (Mulugu) come from different word classes so the pronominal reference forces you to choose which you are referring to. I remember the translators going back and forth on this one for a while.
Finally, my errors. Several people caught this error:
Here’s some examples (Should be “Here are some examples).
But nobody caught the other error which was the last word in the post:
Can you tell me what each of the errors are?
And to leave you with one last error. The title of this post contains an error.
Thanks for participating. Have a great week!