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Dynamic Equivalence or Manipulation of the Source Text?

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Presentation on theme: "Dynamic Equivalence or Manipulation of the Source Text?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Dynamic Equivalence or Manipulation of the Source Text?

2 There is sometimes a long distance from the original text to the translation which actually gives us acces to it. Let´s follow the way of this New Testament verse from the Ancient Greek manuscript to some of its contemporary translations.

3 In the original Greek manuscript, the phrase in question would have appeared something like this: THE PHRASE IN THE MANUSCRIPTS ΤΗΜΙΑΤΩΝΣΑΒΒΑΤΩΝ Writers used only capital letters and did not put spaces between words.

4 Translators today have the Greek in an easier form to read. The spaces have been inserted, and a lower case script is used. The phrase we are using as an example looks like this: THE PHRASE IN TODAY'S GREEK TEXTSτη μια των σαββατωνTHE PHRASE IN TODAY'S GREEK TEXTSτη μια των σαββατων THE PHRASE IN TODAY'S GREEK TEXTS τη μια των σαββατων

5 The translator would not simply write an equivalent English word in place of each Greek word as is done below. A word- for-word replacement is of little use, because it is only a form of words equivalent, and does not convey the force of meaning (the dynamic equivalence). While each English word is a counterpart of a Greek word, this string of English words is not a translation, because it fails to convey the meaning that the string of Greek words conveys. THE PHRASE IN ENGLISH WORDS the one of-the sabbaths’

6 The translator would see three changes that need to be made in the above English rendering, so that it will give the sense of the Greek: the word "σαββατων" rendered "sabbaths'" really means "week" in this instance; the word "μια" rendered "one" has the ordinal sense and actually means "first" in this instance; there is an elipsis in the Greek phrase and a word implied in the Greek needs to be supplied in the English, namely the word "day“. So the translator writes the phrase this way...

7 THE PHRASE IN ENGLISH SENSE the first day of the week The Greek phrase is now rendered in plain English and it has been made intelligible. Most translators would be satisfied with this translation, as it nicely conveys both the form of words and the force of meaning. ``On the first day of the week, we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.´´ Acts 20.7

8 Other translators, however, deliberately forsake the form of words used by the original writer, and substitute it with their own form of words, so as not to be restricted in conveying what they believe to be the force of meaning. They would treat as paramount the "word" in the sense of "message". They would treat as secondary the particular words used to express that "word" or message. They are willing to sacrifice that form of words for the sake of the message and meaning that the words convey.

9 In this "translation" the English word used has no counterpart in the string of Greek words being translated. Moreover, the Greek words used are not rendered. We have no equivalence in words, but only dynamic equivalence. THE PHRASE IN DYNAMIC EQUIVALENCE (A) Sunday

10 As another example, let’s suppose a translator doesn´t like the word "Sunday" because of its pagan connotation. Nevertheless he (or she) still wants to substitute the form of words in the Greek with a different form of words. So he (or she) selects a phrase from another part of the Scripture which a lot of Christians use in place of the name Sunday. THE PHRASE IN DYNAMIC EQUIVALENCE (B) the Lord’s day

11 This third version may be found in a few English translations of the Bible. The translator believes that the phrase reflects Jewish time reckoning, by which a day starts with evening, six hours before midnight, when a day starts according to Roman reckoning. The translator believes the "midnight" mentioned in Acts 20:7 is the beginning of Sunday, and Sunday is "the next day" mentioned in Acts 20:7. Therefore he thinks that the disciples gathered not on Sunday, but on Saturday evening. So he replaces the words "the first day of the week" with "Saturday evening". THE PHRASE IN DYNAMIC EQUIVALENCE (C) Saturday evening

12 Many regard this type of "translation" as dubious dynamic equivalence because it reflects the translator’s own interpretation. If the translator has made a mistake and has got the meaning wrong, then he leads many who read his translation to make the same mistake. If the translator were to convey the original words and put "the first day of the week“, the readers can work out for themselves whether it was Saturday evening or Sunday evening.

13 Biblilography – Dynamic Equivalence in Translation Eugène Nida - `The Theory and Practice of the Translation``


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