Thursday, April 24, 2008

Nida on worshipping words

tra(To do the puzzle at left, start here)

Eugene Nida, one of my homeheros, has a great interview in CT.
Why are we inveterate bibliolaters and word-worshippers, anyway?
Reminds me of Eugene Peterson's two definitions of translation, and must-see video by George Bush on the art of translation.


When we bring together a group of folks who want to be translators, it takes a month to get them willing to make sense intellectually. It takes another two weeks to make them willing to do it emotionally. They can accept it intellectually but not emotionally because they've grown up worshiping words more than worshiping God.

We can't have conferences for new translators in less than six weeks because of this psychological hurdle. Otherwise, within a year's time they will be producing literal translations because it's so much easier to do it word-for-word.

Bible translators often think they must aim at almost exact verbal correspondence to the original in order to make sense. Many of them insist there must be consistency of words. But consistency in principal words is misleading because words have a variety of meanings depending on context. So a translator can be consistently wrong as well as consistently right.

This "word worship" helps people to have confidence, but they don't understand the text. And as long as they worship words, instead of worshiping God as revealed in Jesus Christ, they feel safe.Eugene Nida

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