I have maintained in a number of posts that it is pointless to talk about accuracy in a medium intended to communicate without involving the audience that is intended to receive the communication.Henry explains what he means by including an appropriate example of inaccurate communication from the movie Angels in the Outfield. In a particular scene the baseball players think they were accurately communicating to a newcomer to the game when they tell him to "Run home!" But he is so unfamiliar with baseball and its terminology that he literally runs home. (We have a story with the same plot in Cheyenne, as well.)
Too often when we think about translation accuracy we think only of whether words or other units of language in a source document have the correct interpretation which translation exegetes have rendered to language which they believe accurately conveys that interpretation. But that is not how communication works. Henry tells us how it really works.
I added the following comment to Henry's message:
Henry, I could not agree with you more. I few years ago I coined the phrase “communicative accuracy” to refer exactly to what you discussed in your post. Some people objected saying that accuracy really should only refer to exegetical accuracy. But I maintained that no matter how exegetically accurate a translation was, if the way it was worded did not accurately communicate the message intended by the exegetes (or, farther back, the original author), then that translation was not accurate. So far, the big name producers of English Bible versions have not caught on to this use of the term accurate, but I am convinced that it is accurate!What do you think? Can a translation be accurate without an audience? (Remember, we are not discussing whether or not an original message is true, or even an accurate statement of events or concepts it is describing. We are talking about whether or not translation of a text is accurate.)