Glory to God who gives us words to express the thoughts of our heart, language for love, and songs to reflect or change the moods we feel.
Glory to God who through the use of humor allows us to see the serious nature of our situation, who through metaphor allows us to understand the invisible truths, who through language allows us to know the depths of his love and the reach of his grace.
• Got our plane tickets today, all passports are valid, so we’re good to travel, I suppose. August 3. And seems like I just got back yesterday.
I went over a few minutes ago to the upscale grocery mart on the plaza for something different from the sweets I’ve been buying at the bread store on the other corner.
I asked the girl behind the counter for a mistura of nuts. I used the Brazilian word for mixture. Continue reading
I read a lot around the Internet. One political blog just got deleted from my list. Continue reading
From an AP report on Alabama jails: “He said he is constantly on the lookout for good deals on food, pays two cooks and supplements their work with trusty labor, …”
To go an entire day without mouthing or writing the words: I, me, my, mine. Is that even possible? Continue reading
I’ve been using this phrase lately, and can’t figure out why nor whence it came. Unless … Continue reading
Language changes. All languages change. Some, such as Latin, die, which is why they are called dead languages. Others, by internal and external influences, mutate into new languages. The Bible reflects the truth of language mutation. Continue reading
Tell me what this literally translated phrase means:
Original: A médica da minha esposa lhe passou uma receita.
Translation: “The doctor of my wife passed to her a recipe.”
First, there was no way to show that the doctor was a woman, which the original makes clear. Limitations of English, which has no way of distinguishing gender in nouns like “doctor.”
This is almost a literal translation. (If it were literal, it would read: The doctor of my wife to her passed a recipe.) And a bad translation. The word “passed” is literal, but incorrect, because we do not say in English that someone “passes” a recipe or prescription. The proper translation, is “gave.”
It is also a wrong translation, because it is literal. In this context, “receita” does not mean recipe, but prescription. Literalness has changed the meaning of the verse entirely.
The proper translation of the phrase above is this: “My wife’s doctor gave her a prescription.”
This small example shows that those who claim the necessity for a literal word-for-word translation are, at the least, exaggerating the claim. There is no such thing as a literal translation. And, if there is, it will be, by nature, unintelligible. While the abuses of dynamic equivalence principle must be acknowledged and repudiated, we must see the whole process as more of a sliding scale than an either-or contrast. Most versions, if not all, utilize, to some extent, a thought-for-thought translation.
Here’s another example from the Portuguese language. I make a statement or question, let’s say, I ask you, Do you believe in God?, and you exclaim, “Absolutely!” What did you mean by that? You meant, “Yes, by all means, of course, positive: Absolutely yes!”
Now, let’s say that that I ask someone the same question in Portuguese: “Você acredita em Deus?”, and someone responds: “Absolutamente!” Let’s translate that literally into English:
“[Do] You believe in God?”
Looks fine, doesn’t it? Except that we have just made an atheist into a believer. In Portuguese, the exclamation “Absolutamente!” means “absolutely not!”
So much for literal translation.
This same inversion of meaning also holds when someone offers you something, say, to drink or eat. In English, saying, “Thank you,” means “Yes, I accept with gratitude.” Saying “Obrigado” (thank you) in Portuguese is a refusal, meaning “No thank you, I don’t want any.” Many an American has refused when he meant to accept, because he translated literally from English into Portuguese.
This is not a chance fluke between Portuguese and English, but lies within the very nature of human language and the process of translating meaning from one language to another.
Soon: some examples from Greek to English.