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New Accordance Translation of the Bible?


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#1 luoar

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 02:09 AM

When the Accordance Syntax Module came out I wrote a review of it in which I said that it would necessitate a new translation of the Bible. I was wondering recently if Accordance had any such plans, that is, to produce their own translation of the Bible into English, based on their own research modules? I had this in mind because I noted that Logos have produced their own translations of the Bible, including, "The Lexham English Bible."
 
rari

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#2 Abram K-J

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 09:03 AM

That's a great idea.


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#3 Julie Falling

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 09:51 AM

I like the idea, too.


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#4 Harold Hosch

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:17 AM

I may be one of the dissenting voices on this subject, but with the tight schedule the Accordance team is trying to balance, and the plans for yet new features in the Accordance program (I do not speak out of any specific knowledge here) trying to do a new translation of the Bible, and do the work from the original languages, would be a profoundly time consuming task in itself. Even to set up a team for such an effort is time consuming, and the organization process would indeed be an immense task. I know that one member of the team was heavily involved with the HCSB. Members of the Accordance team are really good at all that they do, and thus need the time and space to work in the program development. I speak from a very small perspective working as a volunteer with SIL for two or three years engaged in developing a series of study commentaries for the Old Testament pericope texts.


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#5 JonathanHuber

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:35 AM

I agree with Harold - there is no need for Accordance to do this. They already offer plenty of good translations and tools for working with the original languages.


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#6 Julie Falling

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:27 PM

We certainly want the other stuff more than we want yet another Bible.  I agree with Harold and Jonathan there.

 

I also agree that there are a lot of good versions out there.  But I confess that I am not completely satisfied with any of them - every single one of them falls down somewhere.  Of the versions I see in my church, only the Amplified gets Phil 4:13 right, where Paul is talking about being more than doing (see UBS Handbooks and BDAG @ ισχυω); only the HCSB gets Jn 3:16 right (see BDAG for ουτως, an adverb of manner, not degree).  

 

Now, I know that the integrity of the Bible does not stand or fall based on the "standard" renderings.  God does love the world to a superlative degree, it just doesn't say that in Jn 3:16.  We really are able to do anything God calls us to do as He enables us, but does it really say that in Phil 4:13?  My 3rd year Greek professor didn't think so.  

 

I'd rather have a version that was willing to jettison the traditional rendering in favor of one that better reflects the text.  I also prefer that the version leave out the English words when they're not there in the Greek or Hebrew, and put a translation of the variant in the notes (the ESV does a good job here).  I also appreciate a version that is careful with verb tenses (don't know a thing about the Hebrew, but do about the Greek).  The imperfects should not be consistently rendered as simple pasts.  The future perfects Mt 16:18 & Mt 18:18 should be recognizable as such.  I would rather the English be a little more accurate, even if less smooth, than be very smooth but a little sloppy when it comes to accuracy.

 

I suppose that if another version appears on the scene, it, too, would have "warts."  Certainly anything I tried to produce would be very warty indeed.  Guess I'll just stick to adding notes to my User Notes and wait until heaven for perfection.  


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#7 Dan Francis

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 01:11 PM

Lexham has serious deficits as points on Logos forums, that being said it was laudable for them to desire to do it, but hardly a necessary thing. This has also led to a handbook series that isa basically a very expensive deice pointing to other resources you may or may not own. Lexham for Logos has become a way to sell other resources. Accordance is a business but I believe they have more sense and ethics than to be trapped in a circle where they try to promote their own resource creations over others.

 

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#8 JonathanHuber

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 02:06 PM

I also agree that there are a lot of good versions out there.  But I confess that I am not completely satisfied with any of them - every single one of them falls down somewhere.  Of the versions I see in my church, only the Amplified gets Phil 4:13 right, where Paul is talking about being more than doing (see UBS Handbooks and BDAG @ ισχυω); only the HCSB gets Jn 3:16 right (see BDAG for ουτως, an adverb of manner, not degree).  

 

This is the problem with expecting a perfect translation. I actually don't like the HCSB on this verse (I think the ουτως is manner but looks backwards - God now loves the world in the same way that he loved covenant Israel, with the result that he gave his son). Let's not start a discussion on that here - just understand that all translation involves interpretation, so it's futile to think that a new translation will "fix everything".


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#9 Julie Falling

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 04:39 PM

I agree, Jonathan.  In heaven, it won't be an issue, and nothing will be perfect until then.  We had a really good Sunday school teacher who said, "No one has correct theology except God Himself."  I agree with that statement, too.


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#10 luoar

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 05:08 AM

I think there is much truth in the comments made thus far. I myself have no strong desire for a new translation of the Bible, only an interest if that idea had been considered. There is some financial advantage to a software company owning the rights to its own translation. I do not think that if such a work were to be undertaken it would necessarily require too many people. The presence of one General Editor of requisite skill and handful of skilled translators could manage reasonably well. Translations of a bygone era required many years to complete. But in today's world of communication and software, I do not believe that that is any longer required. While I think most English translations are admirable, many of them are beginning to show their age, including those for which I have a high degree of respect. As for Lexham, I have found its wooden literalness quite refreshing. Dan raises an important caveat about ethics. I must admit that sometimes it seems that money plays too central a role in the decision making process. However, one must bear in mind that the market is highly competitive and one needs to do what one must do in order to continue being financially viable. I have always found Accordance to be a company with the highest ethical standards. 


Edited by luoar, 06 January 2013 - 05:09 AM.


#11 Joe Weaks

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 10:31 AM

We will always need new translations, each with particular purposes in mind. One purpose could be to enable suitability for use with a syntactical database. That is something Accordance could commission, for sure. (They would commission outside scholars to do the work, of course.)

But, it's a matter of priority and need and best use of time/resource, as always.

 

And, as for the perfect translation... you will NEVER ever find one you agree with completely. Not even your own, cause if you did your own translation, when you read it 5 months later, you'd find places where you say, "What? What was I thinking there?"


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#12 Daniel Semler

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:26 AM

Hi luoar,

 

  I've been meaning to ask you about your opening post on this thread : "'When the Accordance Syntax Module came out I wrote a review of it in which I said that it would necessitate a new translation of the Bible.". Why do you believe that a syntax module would require a new translation ? I have not read your review (could not find it in the forum archive, perhaps its somewhere else) and I'm only just getting into the Greek Syntax module for GNT now.

 

Thx

D


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#13 Alistair

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 07:45 PM

I'd rather see the Accordance folks put their resources into developing the timeline and atlas, IMHO.



#14 Robert Holmstedt

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:08 PM

I don't speak for Accordance, but rather from the perspective of the Hebrew syntax project behind the modules. The simple answer is "yes, I have a translation module planned." But it won't come any time soon. My intention is to produce it as I proof the entire Hebrew Bible module after the first full release is completed this summer; this second stage of proofing will likely take me @ 5years. Moreover, since I am not a translator nor the son of a translator, the product will have as it's only raison d'etre the illustration in English of the syntactic choices we made in the Hebrew analysis.


Edited by Robert Holmstedt, 07 January 2013 - 11:08 PM.

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#15 luoar

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:18 AM

There is little to add to what Professor Holmstedt has said. I am trilled to hear that he is going to be preparing a translation illustrating his syntactic choices. The fact that he does not regard himself as a translator is to my mind an advantage. It frees him to render the text as he understands it, rather than in conformity to a set of translation principles.

 

As for Daniel's question, I would like to say that the syntax modules are based on an entirely fresh linguistic approach which results in quite a different reading of the Hebrew Bible than one is accustomed to. In particular Professor's Holmstedt's close study of the valency of verbs has produced ground breaking results. It is for this reason that I felt that the syntax modules would require a new translation.

 

rari


Edited by luoar, 08 January 2013 - 12:19 AM.


#16 Daniel Semler

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:16 AM

Hi Rari,

 

  Thanx for the explanation. I understand where you are coming from now.

  I had wondered why a syntax module would require a new translation, as though one text was somehow better suited to syntax modules than another, which of course did not make sense to me. I see now that I had it backwards and that you feel that the syntax study has produced a sufficiently different reading that it suggests a substantially new translation. Understood.

 

Thx

D


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#17 luoar

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 03:56 AM

I have taken the liberty to provide a brief example of how the syntax impacts translation by providing a very literal rendering of Psalm 41 (a Psalm which I happen to working on at the moment) which I translated this morning directly from the syntax. I have provided one or two notes (in bold) to show how the syntax challenges conventional wisdom. I have also provided words which are implied by the syntax but which are omitted in it. These words can be found in square brackets.
 
Translation of Psalm 41
 
[This is] a Psalm for the choir director according to David.
 
[He who] is considerate of the poor [and needy], Yahweh will deliver him on [the] day of calamity (2).
 
Yahweh will guard him and [He] will keep him alive. He will be called happy [or, was called happy] in the land; and [Thou] do not give him into the soul of his enemy (3). 
 
Yahweh will support him upon his sickbed; [Thou] has changed all his bed in his sickness (4).  
 
I said, “O Yahweh [Thou] be gracious to me; [Thou] heal my soul for/though I have sinned against Thee (5).
 
The final כי could be explanatory and concessive or provide a reason. The syntax leaves the decision up to the translator, contra Andersen-Forbes.
 
My enemies speak evil concerning me: when will [he] die and his name perish? (6) 
 
And when [one] came that [he] might see [me], he would speak lies; his heart would gather wickedness to itself; [he] would go out to outside; [he] would speak [it] (7).
 
All [those] [who] [are] hating me whisper together against [me]; [They] reckon calamity against me to my hurt (8).
 
A deadly thing is poured out on him; and [he] will not again rise up [in the place] where [he] lay down [there] (9).
 
The syntax makes it clear that the relative clause is locative, excluding the translation: “he who lay down.”
 
Also someone, my peace, magnified his heel against me, whom [I] trusted him; who [was] eating my bread (10).
 
The syntax treats the phrase in Hebrew “Man of my peace" as two distinct words, and not as a construct phrase, contrary to all English translations. 
 
In Hebrew the word for “heel” is difficult to explain. Kraus deletes it altogether. The syntax makes it clear that it must be treated as a complement of the verb.  
 
And Thou O Yahweh be gracious to me; and [Thou] raise me; and [I] will repay them (11).
 
By this I know that [Thou] do delight in me for my enemy will not shout over me (12).
 
The words “by this” are taken by the syntax to refer to what precedes [by your raising me up] or to something not specified, and not to the words “that my enemy will not shout over me” which would then be set in apposition, which they are not.
 
And I, you uphold me in my integrity, and [Thou] do set me before you forever (13).
 
The syntax brings out nicely the grammatical problem of two different subjects. 
 
Yahweh, God of Israel [is] blessed from eternity and to eternity; Amen! and Amen!
 
rari
 

Edited by luoar, 08 January 2013 - 05:59 AM.


#18 Robert Holmstedt

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 11:29 AM

Rari,

 

As with your earlier proofing notes on the later Psalms, your explication above is excellent. Your translation also clearly illustrates the kind I intend to produce, with the brackets (or parens) indicating where we fill in English words for null or assumed words in Hebrew. 

 

Want a job? ;-)


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#19 luoar

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:30 PM

Robert,

 

Thank you for your kind words! They are greatly appreciated.

 

rari.



#20 Daniel Semler

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 12:02 AM

Hi Rari,

 

  many thanx for that. Very interesting. Alas I have no Hebrew but even a quick comparison of your translation is enlightening. I'll bear it all in mind as I go on.

 

Once again many thanx.

 

Thx

D


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Mac : 2009 27" iMac                 Windows : HP 4540s laptop
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