Friday, January 14, 2011

A Funny Translation

The NASB of Psalm 1:1 is a quite literal translation of the Hebrew text: “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!”

The Message, by Eugene Peterson, tries to make that more modern:

“How well God must like you—you don’t hang out at Sin Saloon, you don’t slink along Dead-End Road, you don’t go to Smart Mouth College.

Although The Message usually does a very good job in trying to bring the biblical language and culture into modern times, most people would never realize that living by the advice of the wicked and being one to “hang out at Sin Saloon” were the same thing. Although there must be some latitude allowed for in translations that are not literal (and they should explain their theory in the Introduction of their Bible), it still behooves the translator to communicate the meaning of the original.

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