It’s not my fault. John Piper made me do it.

Someone just send me a link to this article by Blake White, a Reformed blogger from the Houston area. (Actually, this is a link to Blake’s blog post. You have to click the link there to read the article itself. Technology, man.)

Anyway, after years of pushing rope uphill (otherwise known as launching the TNIV translation), I don’t normally expect to see articles like this, at least not from individuals of Blake’s theological persuasion. (That’ll teach me to stereotype.)

Blake’s article is called:

Why I Now Prefer the NIV (2011) to the ESV

(There. Now you have a direct link to the article itself.)

The real reason you should read Blake’s article (that is, if you care about translation-y stuff like this) is because he does a thorough job comparing the updated NIV (replacement to both the old NIV and the TNIV) with the ESV, a.k.a. sacred text of the Neo-Reformed. He also shoots a few holes in the ESV’s smokescreen marketing tactic of calling itself an “essentially literal” translation. (There’s no such thing.)

But I have to confess my favorite thing about the article is what Blake says about his reason for originally switching to the ESV: “John Piper said to.” And he thinks there are plenty of others who switched to the ESV for precisely the same reason.

Sola scriptura, eh? Or is that “sola celebrity pastor”?

12 thoughts on “It’s not my fault. John Piper made me do it.

  1. You: “He also shoots a few holes in the ESV’s smokescreen marketing tactic of calling itself an “essentially literal” translation. (There’s no such thing.)”

    There is such a thing as an essentially literal translation… Translations who try to stay as transparent to the original text as possible, and not paraphrase… What are you trying to prove by say things like that man?

    Like

  2. Hence the phrase “essentially literal.”

    Do you not know the difference of dynamic equivalent and essentially literal? One aims to be as literal as possible, and the other paraphrases parts of the origianl text, if not the whole.

    Like

    • Believe me, after 6+ years in the Bible publishing business, working with translations day in and day out, I’m well acquainted with the different theories of translation. 🙂

      And for the record, dynamic equivalence is not the same thing as paraphrase.

      Like

  3. I’ll trust an essentially literal translation over ANY dynamic equivalent translation any day… I’ll leave it at that.

    I just believe the original writers wouldn’t like translators writing what they thought they meant instead of trying to stay as transparent to what the original authors wrote as possible, that’s all.

    Maybe a better phrase is essentially paraphrasical… 🙂 Or equivocally dynamic… j/k

    Like

  4. I would do the phrase injustice if I tried from rote memory. Though my first thought was what is your name, but there seems to be a variety of different meanings, what is his name, what is it called etc…

    I think what I am talking about for one example, the more lengthy texts in the old testament that tend to be metaphorical writing… Of which the dynamic equivalent translations tend to insert a more ‘explained metaphor’ type translation, instead of leaving the deepness of the writing and metaphor intact through the translations process…

    But to answer your question… I wouldn’t know what to tell someone what como se llama translation is in English… I probably could though if I studied it a little, but def not prior to study…

    Like

    • Well, the most literal translation would be, “How yourself call.” (Como = how; se = yourself; llama = call.)

      What we might call an “essentially literal” translation would be, “How [do] you call yourself?”

      A dynamic translation would be, “What’s your name?”

      On the literal side, you have simple word replacement – which most linguists will tell you is something less than real translation. On the other side, you have an idiomatic phrase in Spanish being translated into the closest natural idiom in the target language. The question is, if the goal is to achieve at least some level of comprehension, which is the better translation?

      Re. your point about dynamic equivalence translations opting for more of an “explained metaphor” approach in some passages, I think you do see this sort of thing in versions like the NLT (a true dynamic equivalence translation) but much less in the NIV (which is technically not a dynamic equivalence translation). And I agree w/you up to a point: where the metaphor can be preserved in the target language, it should be.

      The goal of good translation should be to give the contemporary reader the same experience (or as close to it as possible) that the original audience had. If the original writer intended to convey a sense of literary beauty through extensive use of metaphor, for example, then the translator should seek to preserve that as best as he or she can. Of course, this isn’t always possible, but it’s still a good goal, I think.

      Like

  5. You: “The goal of good translation should be to give the contemporary reader the same experience (or as close to it as possible) that the original audience had. If the original writer intended to convey a sense of literary beauty through extensive use of metaphor, for example, then the translator should seek to preserve that as best as he or she can. Of course, this isn’t always possible, but it’s still a good goal, I think.”

    Me: Totally agree men, couldn’t have said it any better…

    The NLT was exactly what I was referring to with the “explained metaphor”, not so much the NIV, it has it’s more literal points, and some not so much. One that I don’t advocate much at all though is the Message, way to loose of a translation for, at least for in depth study…

    Like

  6. Ben, Scott Bolinder sent me the link to the Blake White blog entry, but apparently it’s been moved or removed. Do you know where I can find it?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s