Sunday, September 4, 2011

Part 4, Dynamic UnEquivalence: Nida v. Jin (and Gayle)

Somebody at the Better Bibles Blog called Eugene Nida a “translation statesman.” It was Wayne Leman.
(And I thought to myself, “Cicero, the statesman of translation.”)
Wayne later just as publicly accused me of caricaturing Nida. Wayne made what he claimed was a “safe” assumption that I had not read Nida or Nida disciples very widely or deeply. His evidence for his rather flimsy claim was the fact that I had quoted early Nida (because nobody else had quoted Nida in his very own words); I used direct quotations and had applied these statements by this "statesman" to actual examples of Bible translation that others in the comment thread were bringing in. And Wayne went even further, to say, to me, not to you, rather pointedly, directly, and even repeatedly: “I would, again, refer you to the actual writings of the Bible societies people, people trained by Nida, to find out that they are concerned with the very things you are concerned about, but which you claim DE people are not.” And so Wayne directed me, not you, to some books, as if this would help me get them and read them faster, presuming, by his claim, that I have not already read very deeply or widely the disciples of Nida who have moved on from their teacher; Wayne linked to the first-published jointly-authored book by Lynell Zogbo and Ernst Wendland and two other books by Wendland.
(And I thought to myself, “I wonder why didn’t Wayne mention and link to Zogbo’s and Wendland’s more recent book, Prophetic Rhetoric: Case Studies in Text Analysis and Translation.”)
[Please do note, dear reader, the comments below here, the on-going exchange between Wayne Leman and me.  He's wanting you not to see my comments here about him, in this post here above the comments, to be the first ones you read.  And, agreeing with him, I'd actually advise you to go back to the BBB comment thread to read it for yourself if you are interested in how different it might be from how I've framed here in my post what he wrote at the BBB.  In fairness to Wayne, he's continued to appeal to me, saying, "Again, I would encourage you to revise your first comments about me in your post, especially since they are the first things people read in your post. And you know how important the first and last things are for readers in terms of memory retention of the contexts of something they have read."  This is Wayne's caution to you, my dear reader.  Please read as you will, critically if you can.]

The conversation at BBB is winding down. Wendland has contributed frequently, constantly pressing everybody to move on beyond Nida. More than that, Wenland has made two recent comments in which he even “steers” BBB readers away from his “own stuff” – his publications, even the two with Zogbo, that move on from Nida – and Wendland goes on to “recommend just five older, (I would say) classic works, for starters.” He recommends three books by Robert Alter, including his Literary Guide to the Bible with Frank Kermode, and two books by Leland Ryken, including his Complete Literary Guide to the Bible with Tremper Longman III. Then Wenland agrees with Wayne on one final point, finally saying the following: “[M]uch more interdisciplinary work is necessary in the field of Bible translation. Intra-disciplinary as well, I would say—that is, interacting with the field of secular translation studies.” He urges BBB readers to go to the SIL center in Dallas next month for “Bible Translation 2011” after he’s made this final, parting comment: “Secular translators need to keep up with what’s going on in the theory and practice of Bible translation—and not remain with their eyes fixed, for good or ill, on Nida and his works.”
(And I thought to myself, “Eugene Nida only died 10 days ago.”)
This is now my fourth post in a series of four on Nida. Wendland’s final comment, dividing “secular” translators from “Bible” translators got me wondering how he’d classify Eunice Pike and Naomi Seidman and Lynell Zogbo and Willis Barnstone.
(And I thought to myself, the following:

I wonder how Jin Di would find himself classified by Ernst Wendland. Have the two ever met? What they have in common – regardless of some strict middle-exclusionary divisive “secular” v. “Bible” translation categorization made by Wendland in a parting comment at BBB – is that both Jin and Wendland have met Nida and want to move on. Wenland wants to move on with Bible translation, now with a more literary focus.  Jin wants to move on with secular translation and with Bible translation but with a notable difference from Nida.

Jin, of course, is perhaps best known in the USA for his translation of James Joyce’s Ulysses into Chinese. But I think he wants me, and you too, to know that he’s moved on from Nida.

In 1984, Jin and Nida co-wrote the book, On Translation: with Special Reference to Chinese and English. And then in 2006, Jin annotated and republished their entire book as Part 1. In the same 2006 volume, he added his own Part 2, several of his own essays, to explain just how far from Nida he then was.

Jin describes the difficult parting between himself and Nida. He’d disagreed with Nida over his famous and repeated appraisal of the J.B. Phillips’s translation as exemplary DE translation, a sort of watershed in the progress of Bible translation, as evidenced by Nida’s most-oft quoted example, the line: “give one another a hearty handshake all around” as opposed to the more literal “greet one another with a holy kiss.” Jin began to appeal to what works better for “a literary piece as a work of art” and began to question Nida’s linguistics as serving purposes for merely “religious translation” [see page 211 of the 2006 edition.]

In the Appendix for On Translation: An Expanded Edition, Jin publishes and comments on an interview he’d granted to John Kearnes. One section of the interview transcript is entitled, “Translation Theory and Eugene Nida.” There, Kearnes asks Jin if he would comment particularly on his work with Nida, particularly on their book, On Translation: with Special Reference to Chinese and English. Jin replies:
Sure, that was a really important link in my work on translation theory. You must have noticed that my relationship with Dr. Nida, mainly in regard to my theoretical approach to translation, was a main theme for the talk, “Literature and Exoticism” that I gave at the ceremony two days ago. . . Because of my three decades of experience in translating, I had been asked to serve at my university as a translation consultant for a group translation project and to work as a translation teacher at its new graduate school. . . . and toward the end of those 1970s I was writing first drafts of what eventually evolved into On Translation. I was giving lectures based on those drafts, and an American professor by the name of Tom Scovel found, when he attended one of my lectures, that my views were very close to Dr. Nida’s. Professor Scovel was not translator or translation theorist and did not know Dr. Nida personally but, being a warm-hearted Christian, he got in touch with Nida’s American Bible Society and helped make arrangements which enabled me to meet Dr. Nida in the U.S. in 1982. . . [D]uring the year, and for each chapter of the book I traveled to Greenwich, Connecticut where, in Dr. and Mrs. Nida’s very hospitable house, he and I discussed my draft and brought it into shape.

The discussions were very thoroughgoing. . . . I was and am still extremely grateful to him for the time and energy he generously put into this close collaboration, and in particular for the theoretical orientation based on the concept of equivalent effect that he had treated in his books . . . .

I believe On Translation, published in 1984, was and remains a sound exposition of the principles of translation and has been particularly useful for translation practitioners and students with the examples it provides. In the mid-1908s I began to deviate from Nida’s teachings in one particular aspect of the concept of dynamic equivalence, as I explained in my talk “Literature and Exoticism.” I don’t think we have time to go into that in this interview, but . . . in 1987 I sent Dr. Nida a copy of my typescript of the very first article I wrote which indicated that deviation. Obviously he did not like it, for he never replied to my letter . . . . [pages 304 – 305].
That Nida never replied to Jin was most difficult. Neither man was trying to reconcile the difference in their [Bible] translation theory. Jin’s theory departed from Nida’s. But, more importantly, Nida left Jin in silence.)
Nida has left all of us and is now silent. Like Cicero, the translation statesman, he’s left us with a theory perhaps dynamically equivalent to that of the Roman rhetorician. As we all know, Nida loved to quote, and even at times misquoted, Cicero. We have their words.
(And I thought to myself, I’m not so sure we all need to rush to leave Nida behind. I’m not talking about embracing his theory now that he’sgone.

But I’m not talking about going with his project full force either. It’s the missionary ethnocentricism that is embedded in Western logic, yes even Aristotle’s and Cicero’s who were not Christians but were missionaries for their own causes, that those who would abandon Nida now still embrace. What I’m talking about is the arrogance of presuming one’s own cultural and tradition is normative for everybody else.

Let me just say again what I’m finding about translation. I’m saying this again as an evangelical Christian missionary’s kid still growing up as a third-cultural kid. I’m saying this as somebody who continues to talk with SIL/ Wycliffe Bible translators after having done lots of reading and having completed a Master’s oF arts degree in Linguistics, which involved many lectures and articles and books by Bible translators, some secular translators too, including Nida. I’m saying this as someone who will try to make it over to Dallas to SIL for their Bible translation conference next month, because a BBB contributor, David Frank, is giving a paper there and as invited me to hear his talk. I’m saying this as somebody who applies his linguistics training to higher education work every single work day of the year. I’m saying this as someone who has a ph.d. in language, in rhetorics and in Aristotle’s Rhetoric of Athens and now of the West and in its reception and its translation.

What I’m finding is that Nida’s dynamic translation theory is too reductive. It’s complicit in what Nancy Mairs sees as the “fundamental structure of the patriarchy”: the binary. Good translations do many different things. They engage, alternatively, in what Robert E. Quinn has called, in a far different academic context, the “telling strategy,” the “forcing strategy,” the “negotiating strategy,” and the “self transforming strategy.” Statesman Nida, I believe, engaged in the “forcing strategy.” That is, he forces receptors of Bible translations to stay in their own cultures and prevents them from engaging in the Other. This post is already going way too long to explicate this any further. [Elsewhere, there's another 4-part series on something like this that went on something like that:  part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4.]

I do want to acknowledge, nonetheless, that although Wayne has accused me of being ignorant of Nida and of his later disciples and of failing to read, he’s also apologized at BBB to me in a sense. I have no hard feelings. And I do want you to know that I believe that Wayne, despite his entrenched views on missionary Bible translation, is one who engages nonetheless in “self transformative strategies.”  And that is, in fact, a very very good thing.

Wayne, in comments at another BBB post, made these precious statements. In email, he has given me permission to repost them here:
"Similarly, I believe that Jesus set new patterns for treatment of women. He treated them with greater respect and honor than they were typically accorded in his day. We did not see abolition of slavery within Bible times nor specific calls from any biblical authors for slaves to be emancipated. Yet I believe that God has been pleased whenever emancipation has occurred, especially if it was done in a way that accorded dignity to freed slaves and helped them become financially independent.

Similarly, I don’t believe that God has been pleased when men have owned their wives. But God has tolerated inferior social systems rather than calling for changing everything within them all at once. I personally believe that a marriage model that focuses more on a woman’s submission to her husband than a husband’s duty to sacrificially love his wife is inferior and, yes, even unbiblical. I grew up in such a household. My mother had to submit to my father or else he would beat her. He beat her anyway when she did something that displeased him such as accidentally scorching potatoes when she was cooking them."
The only exception I take to Wayne's precious statement above is that I do not think that "Jesus set new patterns for treatment of women."  I strongly believe that Jewish women and men long before Jesus, who was a Jew and was not a Christian, were the ones who actually set the patterns for good treatment of women by men and by women.  Jesus, in fact, did recover them.  And that also is, in fact, a very very good thing.  Eugene Nida's DE theory and practice, I'm afraid, may have contributed to burying the good and the Jewish cultural patterns of good treatment of women.
Wayne did want me to let you know who he is by name. He said to quote him by name when I reproduced the quotations. And he added this:
“BTW, Kurk, since my father has died I now feel free to have my Al Johnson poems under my own name.
I’d told him I wanted to link to an older post where, also with Wayne’s permission, I reproduced one of his poems. Here it is:

I’m telling you all of this because I have a missionary evangelical Christian patriarch, my own father, who is in the final stages of what his doctors have told him is inoperable and incurable cancer.  He was, in some unfortunate respects, like Wayne's father.  In some fortunate turns for my father and for my mother and for all of us in my family, my father has rethought things and has made amends and has given much and has received much requested forgiveness.  There is restoration and reconcilation.  The translations are coming. The transformations and self transformations are already happening.)
I hope I’ll remember Eugene Nida and his dynamic equivalence theory for the rest of my life. Not because I believe in his missionary project. I do not. But because he’s contributed to our thinking and practices of translation, secular and Bible, theory and work that we who are still alive may and do need to continue to study. When we stop changing, when we quit remembering, when we cease from learning, we die.


Wayne Leman said...

Kurk, it hurts me that you continue to state something about my response to you on BBB which I have already clarified for you there. I did NOT question anything you said about Nida based on any of your quotes from Nida. Instead, please read my response to you in which I clarified what I was concerned about that you have written. Here is that response to you from BBB:

"Kurk, we missed each other about what I was claiming you were caricaturing. Here are the paragraphs in which you caricature DE inaccurately:

The DE translator could care less whether (in the Book of Acts) Luke’s Greek translation of James’s speech in which he quotes the Hebrew prophets plays on the Hebrew “HaShem.” In Acts 15:17, it is the message of James, perhaps the message of the prophets and of Luke (which must all be dynamically equivalent in message) that the DE translator will convey into the natural English message.

The DE translator could care less that Jesus is playing on the words of the Samaritan woman or that John, translating both people in written Greek as spoken Hebrew Aramaic, might be playing with the Greek for a complete un-equivalent effect on his audience. In John 4:17, what is the message. The DE translator does not have to ask, Whose message?

In complete naturalness of English expression, in the modes of behavior relevant within 21 century English-dominant cultures, the DE translator does not have to insist his reader understand.

The English reader does not have to understand the cultural patterns of a woman (whose name is irrelevant in the narrative), a Samaritan woman in this region, a nameless Samaritan woman in this region who is in a series of relationships with different men.

The English reader does not have to understand the cultural patterns of Jesus, a Jew, a man, with a following of Jewish religious apprentices, who call him Rabbi, even though he’s not from Jerusalem or Judea but nonetheless amazes and puzzles the best of them with riddles and Greek-like parables (which Aristotle called fables). Rabbis were not so friendly or conversant with Samaritans or women or adulterous and fornicating types. But that cultural pattern, like a shadow in Socrates’s cave, gives way to the platonic message for the English reader.

The English reader does not have to understand the cultural patterns of John, translating and narrating in Greek, in a very different sort Greeky cultural pattern noticeably different (to Greek readers) from the cultural pattern of the synoptic gospel translator-writers. The DE translator gives the English reader instead English that lets John’s word choice and varied syntax be completely irrelevant. The DE translator imagines and works to deliver the effect but disregards the causes of that effect, as if there’s to be one and only one effect.

I refer you, again, to The Bible Translator, the journal of the UBS (United Bible Societies, for whom Nida worked for many years) in which there are numerous articles on word plays, translation of poetry, and other aspects of Bible translation that you claim DE translators disregard. The evidence doesn’t seem to support your claims. Before making your claims, you should first check with DE practitioners or their scholarly publications to find out if they are true or not. Now, it may be the case that some DE practitioners don’t care enough and flatten out word plays. But that is not a factor of DE itself. We can and do get sloppy translation using any translation theory. Sloppiness on the part of individual practitioners does not reflect on the theory itself.

Provide evidence, my friend, evidence, it’s so important for accuracy when evaluating translations and translation theories."

Kurk, those paragraphs which I quoted were written by you, not by Nida. That is what I was concerned about, not anything you quoted from Nida.

I request that you revise you blog post to say what I actually was referring to, as you can see from what I have just quoted.

Wayne Leman said...

Kurk, in case it is not clear what it is that I was objecting to it is the paragraphs that I quoted directly from your comment on BBB. You have made blanket statements about DE translators which are untrue about DE translators. Now, if you had kept your comments only to direct quotes of Nida, throughout his career, you would have been on safe grounds. But to besmirch "DE translators" as you have done is unfair and untrue of so many DE transslators.

I, like Ernst Wendland, do not agree with everything that Nida said or believed. He was a translation pioneer and statesman. But as I wrote on BBB, he had his blind spots. You have correctly noted some of them. Dr. Wendland has, as well. Note that Dr. Wendland was trained in DE Bible translation theory. But he does not fit the accusations you have made so broadly against DE translators. Nor do many other Bible translators trained in DE theory, such as my friend Lynell whom you refer to favorably in your blog post. I'm another one trained in DE theory who does not fit your broad stroke accusations. I believe that we need to progress. Whenever something better comes along we need to embrace it. I embrace Nida, the man, for the good that he did. I do not embrace everything he taught. And I am thankful for those who have stood on Nida's shoulders and improved translation theory. I am thankful for those who recognize that Bible translation is not adequate unless it recognizes the thorough Jewishness of both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. I have been studying in this area and believed it for years. I am not alone. There are one or more translation institutes in Jerusalem which train Bible translators to be more alert to the Jewishness of the Bible. One of the worst sins of the Christian Church has been its frequent attempts to remove that Jewishness from the very teachings of Jewish rabbi that they follow.

All I'm asking, my friend, is that you be fair and honest with the broadstroke accusations you so frequently make. We've been over this issue many times before.

Ernst Wendland said...

“Wendland’s final comment, dividing “secular” translators from “Bible” translators got me wondering how he’d classify Eunice Pike and Naomi Seidman and Lynell Zogbo and Willis Barnstone.”
The issue of “authorial intention” strikes back! Sorry, I did not intend either to create or imply a “great divide” between secular and scriptural translators. There is a continuum of interests and applications, especially in the work of some scholars and translators, such as Willis Barnstone, whom you mention. However, I can see now how my words might have suggested such a division. I was speaking in generalities, which can of course be misunderstood: most Bible translators (myself included at one time) know very little about what is going on in the field of secular translation studies. And as I found out at the recent Research in Translation Studies II conference in Manchester, the converse also seems to be true. As for Jin Di, I cited his work (“Literary Translation: Quest for Artistic Integrity”) several times in “Translating the Literature of Scripture” because he had some important things to say regarding the subjects at hand. I hope that I did not give the impression of “classifying” him in my work.
About “moving on from Nida”: Perhaps “building upon” would be more precise. Those of us who carry on try to correct what we find wrong, add what is missing, and develop the theory and practice (including translator training) where we can—most recently using the context-sensitive model of conceptual “frames of reference,” which is based upon the theory of cognitive linguistics. But personally speaking, I learned a lot from Gene, and he was always most patient and gracious when teaching and correcting me. I will always be grateful.
Be sure to pass along my greetings to our friend in common, David Frank, when you see him!

J. K. Gayle said...

Wayne and Ernst,
Thank you each for coming over here to this blog and for taking time from your busy schedules not only to reader and to consider some of what I've written but also to comment.

I remember when Kenneth Pike would do monolingual demonstrations he required two (but remarkably only two) preconditions. One was that he shouldn't have heard or read or have any familiarity whatsoever with the language of the person whose language solely he'd be learning and using with that person. The second was that the person had to be "friendly." That, to me, is a remarkable universal, the possibility of human friends and of friendliness when so much already is hostile and divisive.

J. K. Gayle said...

You and I have been friends for a long time, and I more than anything else about you, have appreciated your unconditional friendliness towards me and others in the blogosphere! I'm thrilled to know that your BBB blog would introduce and now allow for some extended conversations with Dr. Wendland. I'm excited to learn. but am hardly surprised, that Dr. Zogbo is also your friend. I have sifted through our interactions at BBB and have re-read thrice your recent comments here at my blog. Please know that I'm not going to revise what's been written, not because I'm against setting the record straight, but mainly because I think we may have to agree to disagree on some of this. And I do want readers, who are not part of our particular conversation, to get a sense of my own blindspots. Don't each of us have them? Or maybe blindness is too harsh a metaphor in some instances. There is to me a sense in which we are not just doing communication in the reductive sense that Nida's various models of DE or even of functional equivalence would suggest communication must be done. He might suggest that blindspots are analogous to "noise" in the machinery or as obstructions in the code. Tomorrow morning, first thing in my work day, I have a meeting with a co-researcher who is one of the world's leading experts on the science of communication. He buys into similar sorts of models, including Relevance Theory, and yet, amazingly, we are able, despite our differences, to conduct research together on communication and now to draft some writing together after speaking on it back and forth, back and forth. Some of all of this possibility of work together is due, I think, not to some cherished model or some correct(ed) thinking about who thinks what and who said such and such in some sort of way or another. But the possibilities come because of friendship and above all friendliness. When you start in saying, "it hurts me that you" then you may imagine that that hurts me too. God help us not hurt each other.

J. K. Gayle said...

Please know how refreshing is it to hear how you yourself are so interested in the literary as you build on what Dr. Nida theorized. It's refreshing how you encourage us in your conversations with us at BBB to consider and to reconsider and to develop various viewpoints. (And by refreshing I think I mean something as in the sense of מְנוּחָה in the context of Genesis 49:15 and of ἀνάπαυσιν in the context of Matthew 11:29.) When you remind me here or at least bring to our attention how you've cited Jin Di, you show us how we really might build upon Nida's work. Jin's departure, to a degree, from Nida was a development of or from or out of their collaborative work. But both Jin and Nida were aware, I think, of the secular translator / Bible translator divide. This was, I'm convinced, one of the reasons for the ultimate division between the two. And so here we go again. I read something you write that seems to participate in this binary. You come to this blog to say "Sorry, I did not intend." This is exactly what I'm wanting to say to my friend Wayne when he talks about his hurt. The divisions, I think, and hope, we can work against! Our good intentions need always to be clarified when misunderstood. And yet there's always the irony of Plato. He "writes" as if it's Socrates speaking to Phaedrus, warning, "Once a thing is put in writing, it rolls about all over the place, falling into the hands of those who have no concern with it just as easily as under the notice of those who comprehend; it has no notion of whom to address or whom to avoid. And when it is ill-treated or abused as illegitimate, it always needs its father to help it, being quite unable to protect or help itself." What could father Socrates have intended by saying that? Ironically, what did father Plato intend by writing it? Have you read what our friend David Frank wrote and read for the 2009 Bible Translation conference in Dallas? “Do We Translate the Original Author’s Intended Meaning?” I can hardly wait to see what has developed for him this year. Clearly he has some intentions. But can he know them all yet?

Ernst Wendland said...

“J.K” and Wayne,
It is too bad that we won’t have a chance to get together (at BT-2011) to discuss some of the important issues that Rich stimulated in his original blog. Maybe some other time, though I do happen to live somewhat off the beaten track (and removed from major airline routes) here in this happy heart of Africa! Email and blog correspondence can be very misleading and hence misconstrued at times. But if Ken Pike could learn to communicate in a completely foreign language within 20 minutes (I witnessed his performance at the Horsley’s Green, UK SIL in 1972, though I have long forgotten the language)—then we should be able to (learn to) communicate amicably, albeit in argument, in English. Of course, I too am still learning, and our recent blog-line has taught me a few things.

Thanks for reminding me about David Frank’s scholarly, well-formulated essay. I read it some time ago, but it was well worth a re-read. I have a few points of disagreement, but not many. I also have learned from David how to express my own ideas on “authorial intent” more precisely, probably more acceptably as well. Please ask David to share with me what he comes up with in Dallas (perhaps he is reading this).

I would also be greatly interested, J.K. in your own research and the communications model that you are working on. So when it’s ready in writing, I would appreciate a read (

My apologies for not participating in these blogs more frequently, but time and the present workload do not allow. Besides, my friend, Iver Larsen, normally handles the non-Western (and other) translation issues in a first rate manner (no need for me to comment). However, the present topics “Gene Nida” and “dynamic equivalence” caught my attention, so I was moved to enter the discussion. I have learned much from all who contributed.

Wayne Leman said...

Kurk, I disagree with your decision not to correct your post about what I said you were caricaturing, but I understand your desire to "let it all hang out there for everyone to see." I, personally, try to correct my errors online as soon as someone advises me of a mistake, and I have made many, so I have made many corrections.

I hope, at a minimum, that you will take the time to recognize that "DE translators" have not followed Nida in the claims you made about the DE translators. It is a healthy, good thing that many DE translators moved beyond Nida's myopia on some points.

On a more general topic, I have noticed that pioneers in a field often have strong personalities and opinions. Cam Townsend who founded SIL (Wycliffe came later) was another one of these. Both were wonderful men with groundbreaking ideas and vision. Both had their blind spots, as we all do.

May God give us the grace to hear others when they try to help us see them, and then correct them, so what we say and do will be even more profitable for progress in our field, our effect upon colleagues, and even our personal growth. I'm a work in progress. You've noted in your post the effect my abusive father had upon me. One effect is that I am triggered whenever I am falsely accused of something. It arouses strong emotions within me because my father often accused me of things I did not do. And the consequences of his accusations were very painful and demeaning. This is why it is so painful to me when what I say on BBB is talked about elsewhere differently from what I actually said. If I had been direct quoted, that's better. Because if I was wrong, I then can correct what I said wrong. But I have little recourse to correct an inaccurate characterization of what I said, other than to try as I have done here.

Again, I would encourage you to revise your first comments about me in your post, especially since they are the first things people read in your post. And you know how important the first and last things are for readers in terms of memory retention of the contexts of something they have read. Even just shifting from your own words to directly quoting me would be a help. Please re-consider your decision for my well-being.

J. K. Gayle said...

Dear Wayne,
Oh dear. I'm afraid we may just have to agree to disagree, if you would. The best I can do for your "well-being" is to put a note to my blogger readers appealing to them not to read things out of order or to misunderstand you. [I've done that in block quotes now in the post]. Since you bring up your analysis of how my words affect you perhaps the way your abusive father's words did, then please consider how your repeated insinuations that I am wrong in my perceptions may be affecting me. I dare say that constant correction and even appeals of pathos were some how my own father abused me. So we're at a double stalemate, and you want to keep playing the game. We disagree how things went down at BBB (but I constantly resist telling you how, there, your words affected me). And we disagree about whether and now how I ought to try to help you with your own pain here at my blog (so let's not talk about your part in my pain). I still stand by my statements (you have no idea which DE translators I might be referring to since I'm not going to name them), and I think it's wrong to change a post (in the name of "correction") when readers should have the record. I don't believe in censorship and consider revisions so that the reader will be "guided" to be some an insult to, somewhat a misguiding of, the reader. Readers here should understand that you do not intend to hurt me. Likewise, it grieves me to think that I've hurt you, and I want readers to see that too. But you and I and our readers must be responsible for our own perceptions. Sincerely, Kurk

J. K. Gayle said...

Please call me Kurk; all my friends do. And please do know that I appreciate your works, especially your Prophetic Rhetoric: Case Studies in Text Analysis and Translation. It's not often that linguists or biblical studies experts will cross over into rhetoric. Ken Pike did, of course, writing pieces for rhetoric and composition studies journals and co-authoring a textbook with Richard Young and Alton Becker (i.e., Rhetoric: Discovery and Change, which was heralded by scholars of rhetorical criticism as "new rhetoric" although they did treat Aristotle and classical rhetoric very briefly). I love how you work with George Kennedy's materials, both his study of the rhetorics of the New Testament and his translation of and commentary on Aristotle's Rhetoric. Kennedy is one of those rare rhetoricians who does take a look at the Bible as literature, as rhetorical. I also appreciate how you bring in not only the classical rhetorical analyses, with the various Greek classifications of tropes but also how you generally regard Aristotle's divisions of three applications or domains of rhetoric, finding a three-fold "Classical rhetorical perspective on Obadiah"! In addition, you have to be commended for branching out and forward into more contemporary rhetorical criticism; for example, you bring in Lloyd Bitzer's rather famous and highly practical theory of the "rhetorical situation" and its "exigency" (although I believe you are crediting Yehoshua Gitay, who applies Bitzer's lens to Isaiah).

One reason I'm particularly interested in your work is because you have, indeed, worked with the literary and have included now both poetry and also rhetoric! You've done this from the DE or functional equivalence translation theory framework. (My phd is in rhetoric and composition with a particular focus on what Aristotle's Rhetoric overlooked in Greek and womanly and barbarian rhetorics, all with a focus on what that implies for translation. The work with my colleagues here in the university on communications science is more a look at how adult second language acquisition affects learning and communication in and by that language. At first, I'm not sure how you might be interested in such; however, you do seem very interested in very many different things all related to translation.) Maybe we talk more. Maybe we could collaborate to a paper together on rhetoric and translation theory. Some day, I hope to meet you in person.

Ernst Wendland said...

Thank you for your kind words. Sometimes I am afraid, though, that my competence in some of these subjects is, as they say, “a mile wide and an inch deep!” But I do try to pin down what I happen to be writing about at the time to some specific texts so that folks can go through the material for themselves and come to their own conclusions.
As far as rhetorical study goes, I have been interested to see how Bantu (Chewa) rhetoric tends to be more inductive than deductive in nature. This has considerable implications for a Westerner trying to preach a sermon in the local vernacular, as I have learned, often the hard way! You mention your interest in “how adult second language acquisition affects learning and communication in and by that language.” Just today when working through a doctoral dissertation proposal (Stellenbosch), I encouraged the student to explore something similar in Setswana (spoken in Botswana): One of the newer translations that he plans to investigate involves translators who could not access the original text (in this case the Hebrew of Ruth). So how did an English “interposed” linguistic and cultural frame of reference affect not only their exegetical quality, but also their naturalness of style in their mother tongue? It will be interesting to see what he comes up with!
As for collaborating on a paper or some other study, two heads are always better than one. The problem is finding the time to fit it into the day. But I am always open to invitations to work together on a project, especially when it comes to some aspect of biblical exegesis and/or translation.

J. K. Gayle said...

Ernst --
Thank you for sharing such intellectual curiosity and genuine, positive humility. Your student's dissertation question sounds much like those that Kenneth Pike would ask, never really wanting to box things up into a single discipline or tying it down my impersonal formalism. On rhetoric, are you familiar with this group? I was excited, recently, to find their website. Little has been done in what George A. Kennedy called "Comparative Rhetorics," a phrase he entitled a book by (which in my view was unfortunately ethnocentric for all its announced intentions otherwise). In TESOL, which is a field I work directly with, there's also what Robert Kaplan discussed as "cultural thought patterns" now more known as "contrastive rhetoric." The interactions between languages, cultures, rhetorics, literatures, and methods and metaphors in translation by scholars can be very productive indeed. Yes, there's the time issue, and space / distance, for all of us. And yet, if there's something that really grabs us, we seem to make the time and narrow the distances. My email address is jkgayle at gmail dot com. And I have yours too. Hope to stay in touch. --Kurk