Those lemmings the literalists!

“All translation is inherently mistranslation. The particular genuis of a language cannot be carried over into another. By this criteron every translation is an adulteration of the original, a watering down, a reduction. And if the language being translated is the word of God, and translation by its very nature is falsification, then we’d better not do it.

Oh?

Preference for the literal has a long life. But I have come to believe that it is an unthinking preference. My experience… cautions me that the peril of the literal is that it ignores the inherent ambiguities in all language, takes the source language prisoner and force-marches it, shackled and chained, into an English that nobody living speaks. The language is lobotomized – the very quality that gives language it’s genuis, it’s capacity to reveal what we otherwise would not know, is excised.”

An excerpt from Eat This Book, by Eugene Peterson.

(Interested in the title of this post? It is a quote by Luther, grandfather of reformation translators. Not what you expected, eh?!)

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2 Responses to “Those lemmings the literalists!”


  1. 1 kathryn July 24, 2006 at 12:18 am

    i am interested!!!


  1. 1 Eugene Peterson on translating literally | Bible Monkey Trackback on August 11, 2010 at 1:22 am
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