The End of Biblical Studies
While Chris doesn't agree with everything Avalos writes, he does conclude,
- ... it does seem that in these cases (at least), translators’ faith commitments are overriding translation accuracy.
At the end of the chapter, Hector concludes that translators (knowingly) “distort scripture” when they think that the “unvarnished” text will prove offensive or objectionable; these distortions benefit translators because they “prop up the Bible’s illusory relevance” and keep people buying Bibles.
I agree with Hector that translators shouldn’t massage their renderings in order to make them more palatable to their readers. I have no doubt that translators’ religious commitments (or their sense of their target audience’s religious commitments) sometimes, maybe often, control their renderings to such a degree that the meaning of the source text does get distorted.
I can imagine a conversation like “If we don’t fudge the translation of Deuteronomy 32:8–9, people will reject the Standard Today’s Unvarnished Version (STUV) and just buy the NIV or something else.” I hope such conversations don’t happen; I’m too cynical to believe that they don’t.
In fact, yesterday I wrote,
- The committee of 15 must vote 80% in favour of a change or the change presented by the specialist will not be accepted. In many cases, this is resolved by a footnote. The reasoning is that people will not accept a translation which has wording that is too unfamiliar.