Monday, August 13, 2007

Taking Liberties

A blog post I read this morning attempts to disparage a couple of translations of the Bible. The critic writes: “both translations take liberties with the original language.”

Here are a couple of responses:

1) What if translations don’t or won’t or can’t “take liberties”? Would we be any better off? What if Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her colleagues hadn’t taken liberties with the original wording of the Declaration of Independence, particularly the original phrasing all men, when writing and speaking the Declaration of Sentiments, to further liberate every one of us equally, as “all men and women”?

2) And is there ever really an original (as if there are no liberties to take from the beginning)? What if I share a few of my original stories? And may I dare you not to take liberties with these, or any other parable, by translating my original into your personal application?


Iyov said...

First and foremost -- thanks for the link!

My comment was intended somewhat in jest -- I don't really think a limerick version of the Bible is equivalent to the TNIV. Still, I do think that many readers of the TNIV (and NIV) are unaware of how free some of the translations are. Given the high esteem that many Evangelical readers of Scripture give to literal readings, I think that this creates a certain cognitive dissonance among many advocates.

Your works looks fascinating, and please accept my best wishes for continued success with your studies.

J. K. Gayle said...
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J. K. Gayle said...

First, thanks for your gracious and kind comments.

I appreciate your jest, and the clarifications. Sounds like what you're rightly wanting is truth in translation. If a translator is going to take liberties, to make a "free" translation, then that really ought also to be made clear to the readers. For that, and for many other reasons, I agree with you that some translations of the scriptures are better than others.

Looking forward to reading more of your blogging!