Sunday, July 31, 2011

The New Translation

Esolen, an English scholar, has an opinion about the CURRENT Mass translation.

...The bland, Scripture-muffling, colorless, odorless, gaseous paraphrase American Catholics have had for forty years often was not a translation at all, nor even a paraphrase into English. It was a paraphrase into Nabbish, the secret official language of the New American Bible.

Hooboy! That's a rollicking start. He explicates on 'the principles of nabbish.'

Principle One: Prefer the general to the specific, the abstract to the concrete, the vague to the exact.

And he provides an example:

Here, for example, is a famous verse from Psalm 23, translated into early modern English in the King James Bible: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. That is exactly what it says in Hebrew.

But in the New American Bible it is: Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil. Notice the muffling. The affirmative yea, translating the Hebrew gom, is simply folded into the conjunction. The verb tense - Hebrew has no future - with its delicate shading of supposai and purpose ("I trust in the Lord, I affirm that I will not fear") is flattened down to the present. And then that shadow of death, the shadow we all feel at times, is reduced to the ordinary and comfortable adjective dark.

Then there's:

Principle Two: Prefer the neuter, the indefinite, and the impersonal.

Read the rest here. It's marvelous.


Al said...

"It's marvelous."
It is, it explains a lot, including why I prefered the 1966 version of the Jesrusalem Bible to the NAB.

schmenz said...

"Principle One: Prefer the general to the specific, the abstract to the concrete, the vague to the exact."

How precisely that describes the past fifty years of Papal utterances, unfortunately.

Dad29 said...

Schmenz, you're wrong. But hey! It's prolly not the first time.