The Problem of Translation

Helen Kraus

in Gender Issues in Ancient and Reformation Translations of Genesis 1-4

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199600786
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731563 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Theological Monographs

The Problem of Translation

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This chapter sets out the difficulties encountered by translators. No language corresponds exactly with another as regards grammar, syntax or semantic domain. True translation is therefore impossible, which forces translators to make compromises. In Bible translation the situation is even more complex as the context of faith has a bearing on interpretation and may ultimately influence the formulation of doctrine. There are two main approaches to translation: firstly the precise linguistic or philological (e.g. Jerome) and, secondly, the hermeneutical, the cognitive and affective or ‘inspired’ (e.g. Augustine). Rabbinic writings make a similar distinction with peshat and derash respectively. Issues of ‘political correctness’ of both source and receptor languages may also have to be taken into account, as do semantic shifts.

Keywords: Bible translation; grammar; syntax; doctrine; linguistics; philology; hermeneutics; peshat; derash; semantic shifts

Chapter.  4431 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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