Join Us For A Life Changing Event ... Renewal From The Roots!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Am I Being Too Picky Over These Translational Differences?

A Bible Translator in Mozambique is entering into a comparison of the CEV and NLT which are dynamic equivalent translations.

My quotes from most of these translations comes from Biblegateway, NET Bible, and the New Jerusalem Bible which happened to be on my shelf.

My interest in the discussion comes from wanting to learn how to communicate more clearly to people in my county and congregation while adequately translating the Bible texts into modern English.

I was reading Psalm 4 in several translations. My inquiry is prompted by the above post and the translation of two different Hebrew phrases by the same concept, namely, "protector".

For background, the NASB translates the phrase in question (v1):

"Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!"

The NLT translates the phrase "O God of my righteousness" (the literal phrase) as

"Answer me when I call to you,O God who declares me innocent."

The NET Bible translates "O God of my righteousness" as "O God who vindicates me".

The CEV translates the phrase that includes "O God of my righteousness" as "You are my God and protector."

"Protector" summarizes the concept of righteousness for the CEV.

After mulling this over, I think that vindication perhaps explains it best to me but the NLT's "declares me innocent" is more likely to be language the people I minister to would understand. It's from the Hebrew "tsedeq"

"Protect" is a derived meaning. Trying to decide if this is a good rendering I went to the New Jerusalem Bible for a fresh look. They translate it "God, upholder of my right". So I guess protect is fair enough in some sense but starting to stray off the ranch a bit in my mind. I think "defender" would be better in Psalm 4.

What concerns me about the CEV is that in the Psalm under discussion by Lingamish, Psalm 7, the concept of protection is again used as a synonym for God being th e One to whom we flee for refuge.

I think that "protection" is closer as a modern English equivalent for "fleeing for refuge" and more appropriate in this translational context.

The fact that two such different phrases are translated by the same English term "protect" glosses over the underlying differences which I think are nice to know are there just by reading the English.

Am I being too picky?