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Monday, August 29, 2005

Punching the street

Mark Strauss, Professor of Greek and New Testament at Bethel Seminary West (San Diego), has consented to be a contributor to this blog. Mark is very busy, however, and probably won't be able to blog more than perhaps once a month. Mark has written on Bible translation.

Yesterday I received a Powerpoint presentation from Mark. It is an introduction to Bible translation. One of the slides in the presentation is just too good not to share with you. Many people claim that the Bible should be translated literally. They even claim this for some idioms, even though translators have demonstrated repeatedly that translating idioms literally usually makes no sense in the target language. So Mark gives us a literal translation of an idiom to illustrate the point. Here it is:
Along the path, I'm punching the street at the fissure of sunrise.
Can you figure out what English sentence that is a literal "translation" of?


(pause for a musical break)


Hint: It has at least three English idioms.


Do you have it yet?


It's this sentence:
By the way, I'm hitting the road at the crack of dawn.
I think that's a great sentence that shows that idioms cannot be translated literally, if we also want their idiomatic meaning to be communicated accurately.

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