Sunday, April 26, 2015

On The Translation Of New Testament Texts (Part 7)

TWH: Y. C. Whang has a chapter in a book on Bible translation edited by Stanley E. Porter and Richard S. Hess. The book is Translating the Bible: Problems and Prospects. Whang's chapter is called "To Whom Is a Translator Responsible–Reader or Author?" Since I just posted on this subject, I thought I would just share with you a little of what he wrote regarding the competence of translators in the languages they are working with. Here it goes:
"Translation is such a complex work, involving many factors, that it seems almost impossible to approach the subject of translation as a whole. The first factor is a personal one. It is unnecessary to point out that the most important factor in translation is the competence of translators. They have to be competent not only in the source language, but also in the receptor language. However competent they may be in the source language, if they are not good writers of the receptor language, they are far from being good translators. Many publishers have learnt this truth by trial and error. The other important personal factor is the professionalism of a translator. Translation is such an energy-consuming intellectual work that the translator may always be tempted to finish the work roughly and quickly. If the translator spends more time reading and analyzing the Vorlage, the possibility of mistranslating will be reduced. If a translator spends more time reviewing the translation, the sentences can be made smoother and more readable. These factors are mainly related to the professionalism of the translator." (47)
Knowing that receptor language is critical. Failure to have a working knowledge of that language can render all the hard work of exegesis null and void. It's not enough to just know that language though. It's important to be mindful of it throughout the translation. Working in the source language is like chiseling a sculpture. Working in the receptor language is like putting that fine polish on marble.

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