I don’t see why there cannot be wide agreement on the above thesis. Iyov, I know, concurs: “I prefer translations that are faithful to the stylistic choices of the original.” I know from offline discussion that Rich Rhodes also concurs.
But that means that dynamic equivalent translations like the Good News Bible and the Contemporary English Version are improperly done. For vast swathes of the Old Testament, the translation they offer is not literary enough.
Is it possible to translate a literary text in Hebrew into literary English? Of course, but the result will be far from perfect by definition. A translation of this kind may also need to be heavily annotated.
This post follows hard on the heels of this one. Be sure to check out the trackbacks and comments.
In my next post, I translate a beloved prayer, Psalm 51, into what I take to be fluent literary English. I look forward to comments from readers. Where have I failed to be literary? Where have I failed to be fluent? What kind of explanatory notes might be helpful?