Chapter

Translation of the Bible into English

Michael D. Coogan

in The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha, Augmented Third Edition, New Revised Standard Version

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780195288803
Published online April 2009 |
Translation of the Bible into English

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Bible translation, though in principle the same as any other translation, is distinguished from it by two considerations: first, the reverence in which adherents of Judaism and Christianity hold the text, leading to concerns whenever a new translation is published that the text be treated with the respect it deserves; and second, the great popularity of the Bible, which has led to the proliferation of translations to meet every conceivable need and audience. In order to find one's way among the great variety of Bible translations available today, it is important to understand the principles underlying all efforts at translation.

In any translation from one language to another—the “source” language, or the original, and the “target” language, or the translation— two basic approaches define the limits at either end of a continuum of methods. The technical names for these “pure” translation approaches are formal equivalence and dynamic equivalence. Formal equivalence is usually explained as “word‐for‐word” translation, and dynamic equivalence as “sense‐for‐sense” or “meaning‐for‐meaning.” In general, formal equivalence places more importance on the qualities of the source language, and dynamic equivalence is more concerned with the resulting readability in the target language.

Chapter.  3948 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies ; Biblical Studies

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