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The Word of God in English: Criteria for…
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The Word of God in English: Criteria for Excellence in Bible Translation (edizione 2002)

di Leland Ryken (Autore), C. John Collins (Collaboratore)

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Ryken describes the translation principles that make for reliable English Bible translation, looks at common translation fallacies, and offers principles for good translation.
Titolo:The Word of God in English: Criteria for Excellence in Bible Translation
Autori:Leland Ryken (Autore)
Altri autori:C. John Collins (Collaboratore)
Info:Crossway (2002), Edition: Complete Numbers Starting with 1, 1st Ed, 336 pages
Collezioni:La tua biblioteca
Etichette:default, to-read

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The Word of God in English: Criteria for Excellence in Bible Translation di Leland Ryken

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After reading this book, I have to ask, "How can someone who doesn't even know Greek or Hebrew [i.e. Ryken] provide a 'much-needed corrective' for translation. The guy can't even translate for himself and you want him to tell you what makes a good translation??? What nonsense! And more, how can someone who 1) (again) doesn't know the languages and 2) isn't trained in either translation or linguistics be a reliable guide for informing anyone about translation theory? Ryken skews translation theory left and right. Anyone who has studied translation or linguistics could tell you in a second that he has no idea what he's talking about. If he's going to try to be an "expert" on the subject, he should go take a couple classes at Wycliffe's Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics in Dallas, TX, the Canada Institute of Linguistics (CANIL) in Langley, BC or a number of other schools associated with training Bible translators (e.g. Biola & Moody Bible Institute) before he says anything more. Ryken cannot tell whether translation methodology is misguided or not because he truly knows *nothing* about it.

If what Ryken calls and describes as "Dynamic Equivalence" actually existed, then I would completely agree with him. But 90% of his so-called fallacies have absolutely nothing to do with Dynamic/Functional Equivalence translation and the other 10% are irrelevant for translation. Ryken spends 336 pages arguing against something that doesn't exist. Let me show you:

What follows are his so-called fallacies about translation that function as the titles of seven of the chapters in the book. None of the are accurate to what Bible translators actually do (and incidentally, translators for missions organizations are not trained in "literal translation," which Ryken would advocate.

Seven Fallacies about Translation:
#1 We should translate meaning rather than words.

No translator would ever say this. If Ryken can find one that does *and believes it,* I'll give him a dollar. That may sound like a joke, but I say it very seriously in terms of how emphatic I am about how absolutely false Ryken's claims about what translator actually say.

#2 All Translation is Interpretation

The very first sentence Ryken writes after this is, "There is, of course, a sense in which the statement that all translation is interpretation is true ... But there is a crucial difference between linguistic interpretation (decisions regarding what English words best express Hebrew or Greek words) and thematic interpretation of the meaning of a text" (85). Ryken goes down hill from there when he tries to define what "linguistic interpretation" is compared to "thematic interpretation." He doesn't have any linguistic training and doesn't know what he's talking about. For some reason, he's speaks as if he's completely unaware that there is linguistic interpretation to be done *beyond the word level* to the clause level and even in the discourse and text level. That is, in a very real sense, there is no such thing as thematic interpretation apart from linguistic interpretation - cf. _Analyzing Discourse: A Manual of Basic Concepts_. Ryken is great for talking about literature. He's terrible for talking about language -- I've read his published dissertation of John Milton's _Paradise Lost_; it's incredible. He needs to stick with his specialty - English literature.

#3 Readability is the Ultimate Goal of Translation

Again, if Ryken can find a translator who actually believes that this is the *ultimate* goal, I'd be quite surprised. Mildred Larson in _Meaning-Based Translation: A Guide to Cross-Language Equivalence, 2nd edition_ would say that readability is only part of the goal of translation, the other parts being accuracy, naturalness, clarity, and acceptableness. And these are constraining too: the most clear translation isn't necessarily the most accurate and the most natural translation isn't necessarily acceptable. All four of these need to be balanced for a good translation.

#4 The Important Question is how *we* would say something.

Ryken thinks that he can talk about the different goals of translation separately as if each one is the ultimate priority at any given time. Fallacy 4 is related to naturalness discussed in #3, but any good translator is going to keep this in check in relation to the other goals. And again, Ryken doesn't know the original languages. If we are not translating the Greek or Hebrew text for a group of people to understand, then who are we translating it for? Should we be translating the Greek in the way that Milton would say it? That sounds like what Ryken would want. Yeah, that will be an extremely effective translation for the 21st century. Ryken is simply confusing categories here. If we do nottranslate a text into language that a contemporary speaker would understand -- which is the point of sayings that sound like this claims -- then there is absolutely no point in translating at all. The way Paul said will always be better than the way "we" can say it and Paul *didn't* say it in English.

#5 Koine Greek was uniformly colloquial

For a third time, if anyone can find me a real scholar that truly believes this statement, I'll give them a dollar. Ryken is confusing literature and language. That which is colloquial isn't necessarily not literary. Yes. The Bible is very much literary, but that doesn't mean it's not colloquial too. The NT especially *is* colloquial in its *language.* Not it's literature. To provide an English example. Mark Twain's writings were extremely literary. BUT they were also extremely colloquial *in that* Twain wrote his books IN THE LANGUAGE THAT WAS SPOKEN OF THE DAY AND LOCATION. The same can be said of the New Testament and New Testament writers -- with the exception of perhaps Luke & the author of Hebrews. But even still, nobody has claimed that the NT is uniformly colloquial for decades, perhaps centuries. To make this one of his major translation "fallacies" is complete nonsense.

#6 Translation should be governed by the question, "How would the biblical writers express their context if they were living today?"

When I studied translation theory and method in graduate school, I cannot recall *anyone* ever saying that this question should govern how we translate. Again, see the goals of translation that I've mentioned and describe above: accuracy, readability, clarity, naturalness, and acceptability.

#7 Any Difficulty in reading the Bible is the fault of the translation

Again, no Bible translator would would make this claim. Any translator who did would stop saying it as soon as they got to translating 2 Peter 3:15-16. And Ryken is naive, yes I said it: naive for thinking that anyone would actually say this. They haven't, they don't, and they wouldn't.

These are the seven fallacies of translation as described by Ryken. He's arguing against a nonexistence opponent. So either 1) Ryken doesn't know anything about translation at all and is arguing against what he *thinks* Dynamic/Functional translators do (even though they don't) OR 2) he's intentionally scandalizing godly Christian men and women who are working extremely hard around the world to make quality translations because they don't look like or sound like the ESV, NASB, or KJV.

Personally, I really hope there's a third option that I haven't thought of because neither of those are very good, but either way, virtually nothing he claims about Dynamic/Functional translation is actually true. Perhaps at some point, Ryken met some incredibly stupid translators at some point who had no clue what they were talking about...and now he things that all translators think like that...

Either way, this book is not a helpful guide for understanding the complexities of Bible translation or for understanding the methods that REAL translators actually use when they're working on producing a translation. ( )
1 vota mga318 | Dec 23, 2009 |
This volume challenged many of my notions on translations. Leland Ryken aims withering fire at dynamic equivalence, and modern translations such as the Jerusalem Bible, the Message, and especially the NIV emerge bloody from the assault.

Different from the KJV Only crowd, Ryken's complaint is not with the original text. He has no complaint with the manuscripts used in the various translations. He is much more concerned with the method of translation, which has robbed the modern English reader of the richness of meaning inherent in the Scriptures.

From the very outset, he challenges the foundations of the dynamic equivalence philosophy, making the very important point that principles used in translating the Bible into a new language do not necessarily apply to a translation from the original languages into English--where the Bible is practically a native book.

Ryken's love for the King James Version is evident throughout the book, although he does not advocate a return to it. He laments it's loss, but recognizes that it's archaisms make it invalid for today's use. Although he never comes out and says it specifically, it is quite obvious that he prefers the English Standard Version (ESV). This comes as no surprise, since he served on the translation committee for that version.

This book is essential reading for those interested in seriously studying the translations issue. I only wish it had been part of the required reading when I was in Bible College.
  brazilnut72 | Jan 1, 2007 |
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