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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A SENT translation

Webb Mealy, PhD is writing a translation called SENT (the Spoken English New Testament). He says in the appendix to Romans:
My aim is to create natural spoken English, not literary English. This translation is especially intended for reading aloud--whether in church, or in one's own private reading. I find that the supposed virtue of reading "without moving your lips" is no help for really engaging with the scriptures. Silent reading may be good for maximizing reading speed, but it is not necessarily good for letting the full impact of the sacred text soak in.

He goes on to say:
My experience has been that the biblical text has the greatest impact on English-speaking hearers when it is translated so that it reads just as naturally in English as it presumably did in Greek.

For a look-see, you'll find three PDF files here. He has drafted Matthew, Mark, Romans, and 1 Corinthians.

His translation of OUN in Romans is thought provoking. I appreciate how he has tried to capture the flow of thought. This is difficult to do since "connective" words don't only have meaning, but perform a function within a discourse. English words like: therefore, so, finally and even phrases like let's review are not so much truth propositional as they are guides to the reader. Let's review is how Webb Mealy translates OUN in Romans 3:27.


At Wed Mar 15, 09:28:00 AM, Blogger Adam Omelianchuk said...

Link is broken.

At Wed Mar 15, 10:18:00 AM, Blogger Mike Sangrey said...

Adam said:

Link is broken.


Link is fixed.


Also, Webb has informed me of a better link and that he has also published a draft to Mark.

At Wed Mar 15, 10:36:00 AM, Blogger Webb Mealy said...

Please note that my translation philosophy is to aim for entirely natural-sounding English wherever possible, and so explanations of work-arounds end up in footnotes.

I also use the convention of putting words supplied for sense in lighter type, so that, in most cases, you could selectively read aloud to yourself only the regularly-formatted text to form a sense of the literal rendering.

At Rom. 3:27, commenting on my non-literal rendering of OUN as "Let's review", I supply this footnote: [[Lit. “So…”, Gr. oun. Putting a pause after the word “so” in spoken English would signal that what follows is a recap of the argument up to this point. It’s clear that he is reviewing the bidding in preparation for moving ahead in his argument.]]


At Wed Mar 15, 11:47:00 AM, Blogger KAT said...

I like it, though I think it could be even better if the English better reflected the use of Greek "energy". At least in Mark's case. Perhaps one shouldn't translate the tenses precisely (else it wouldn't be good English), but there must be an equivalant way to capture the enthusiasm and pace of the originals.

On another note, I think there's less work to be done with a translation like this, as the Gospels already stem from a tradition of oral transmission. Matthew, Luke, and John do have a certain literary cohesion, of course, but for the most part, it's only our translated Bibles that impose the idea that these stories were meant to be read, and not heard.

The epistles, on the other hand, were literary in nature (even if they were directed to be read aloud). Except in the case of Hebrews (which was probably homiletic), I don't see why they shouldn't reflect this.

As for the Old Testament, I think the task would be much more difficult.

At Wed Mar 15, 08:04:00 PM, Blogger Jim said...

Have you seen the Recovery Version? You can actually get a free bible just by asking for it. You should be able to find easy, I think it's under Bibles for America.

God bless,

At Wed Mar 15, 10:13:00 PM, Blogger Ted Gossard said...

It looks good. I agree that the best way to read Scripture is out loud. Though I rarely do so.

At Wed Mar 15, 10:51:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

It looks good. I agree that the best way to read Scripture is out loud. Though I rarely do so.

It's alloued, Ted!


At Fri Mar 17, 12:31:00 AM, Blogger Ted Gossard said...

Wayne, Good point. I have been refreshed when doing so. Seems to get you more engaged in the text and thus in God's Word!


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