Translation Guidelines

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Translation Guidelines

russellallen
Administrator
OK, here is a first stab at a set of translation guidelines. I’d appreciate input on this :) Some of this is from the FAQ and some is what I have personally been doing.
Russell

Translation Guidelines
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1. The Open English Bible project aims to create a translation of the Bible into formal but contemporary English which is completely free of copyright restrictions and available without cost for any purpose.

2. In general, the OEB aims:

2.1 to be a scholarly defensible mainstream translation usable within a religious community rather than a translation focused on a readership completely unfamiliar with the Bible or Christianity (as an example, the OEB is comfortable with the word ‘Christ’ and will not replace them with ‘Annointed One’ or similar),

2.2 to reflect modern English usage (including the use of ‘they’ as a third person single pronoun) at a reading level corresponding roughly to the NEB/REB or NRSV,

2.3 to reflect modern scholarship, including on the translation of terms such as ‘the Jews’ in John and terms referring to sexual practices (see TNIV and Dr Ann Nyland’s version).

3. The normative text for the OEB New Testament is the Westcott & Hort critical text. (Since the NA27/28 is subject to a claim of copyright, W&H remains the best available (public domain) text.) The commonly accepted Western non-interpolations in the NT are included as footnotes. The Pericope Adulterae is at John 7:53-8:11 and footnoted as not being in all manuscripts.

4. The normative text for the OEB Old Testament is the Codex Leningradensis (Leningrad Codex), specifically the electronic version of the Westminster Leningrad Codex. Alternate readings in the LXX may be footnoted but are secondary. 

5. Some guidelines for translators:

5.1.  Resulting English should be: clear, grammatically correct, modern (but not slang), genre-sensitive (i.e. we have more latitude in poetry).

5.2.  Unless there is a good reason, keep within the scope of the various translation choices of the mainstream English translations, e.g. NRSV/ESV REB (T)NIV, TEV, CEV, CEB, NJB, NET, NLT(2nd Ed).

5.3.  All things being equal, prefer:

    5.3.1 the existing OEB/20CNT wording,

    5.3.2 the non-Tyndale (i.e. the KJV/RV/ESV/WEB/NRSV family) option, (This is just to keep us from falling into the trap of slowly converting the OEB into the NRSV/ESV bit by bit)

    5.3.3 the rendering which is simpler (i.e. shorter less complicated sentence structures, less use of passive voice etc). But don't turn poetry into an instruction manual!

5.4.  Walk a midline between translating Greek/Hebrew idioms into contemporary idioms or translating more literally, but prefer something which will communicate the meaning to someone who doesn't already know the passage's meaning. Don't be too current or trendy. The REB/NRSV is the aim not either Young's Literal or The Message, and prefer the REB to the NRSV.

5.5.  The OEB uses the following: Christ, baptize, Gehenna, Tartarus, [ tba ].

5.6 The NRSV is the authoritative source for English language versions of proper names including personal and place names.

5.7.  Following Eric Blair's wise words, break any of these rules rather than say something outright barbarous.

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Re: Translation Guidelines

Timchambers
Like all of these!

Is there any need to describe the idea of where the OEB is trying to be in terms of a word-for-word translation style, vs thought for thought translation, vs trying for a balance between word-for-word and thought-for-thought translation?
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Re: Translation Guidelines

russellallen
Administrator
5.4 is sort of in that area.
The difficulty with word-for-word vs thought-for-thought is that those terms have become so overused and polemicised (is that a word :) that I’m not sure they are much help to us. Certainly professional translators don’t seem to use them much.

I would maybe say that for our purposes
- a word-for-word approach that doesn’t end up with natural, gramatically normal English has gone too far, (see e.g. Young’s Literal Version)
- a thought-for-thought approach that destroys too much of the worldview of the original has also gone too far (see e.g. the Message, or the Cotton Patch Version)

But both of those can be useful in other situations. The Cotton Patch Version is great, but I wouldn’t use it as a primary translation in communal worship.

I guess I don’t think of w4w and t4t as being opposed and therefore needing balancing. They are two aspects of translation which can work together.

- Russell



On 20 Nov. 2016, at 8:12 am, Timchambers [via Open English Bible] <[hidden email]> wrote:

Like all of these!

Is there any need to describe the idea of where the OEB is trying to be in terms of a word-for-word translation style, vs thought for thought translation, vs trying for a balance between word-for-word and thought-for-thought translation?


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