Quality in Translation
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Quality in Translation

A Multi-Threaded Fabric

About the Book

The subtitle of this volume reflects the idea that quality in translation entails a multi-dimensionality, a multi-threaded fabric of sorts. Just as strong fabric consists in the warp and weft of opposing threads, so in Bible translation the multiple facets of translation should be brought together in a holism. This holism entails balancing the tension of the objective details of the Biblical text and the languages into which we translate, and the subjective framing of our aspirations for its Christian use among the peoples of the world. 

The volume practices frontier science in the sense that the authors put forward ideas that are new, or ideas that are hypotheses that are not supported by years of scientific experience or theoretical reflection. This is in contrast to consensus science that refers to data, models, ideas, and laws that are widely accepted. Rather, authors employ ideas emerging out of the changing cultural contexts of the Global North and South and adapt them for use in pursuing quality in translation. They also engage with the issues around changing technology and how this will affect ways of measuring quality.

The need to adapt to changing cultural complexes has been a perennial challenge for Christianity beginning with its spread across the countries around the Mediterranean and into the countries of Europe. As it has engaged with the cultural complexes of its day, it has required much thought, writing, and scholarship. This is no less true in our day as we engage around the issue of quality in translation in the context of the interaction of the Christian faith and the emerging cultural turns in the Global North and South. This involves risk in part because we, as authors, do not have prescribed answers, and in part because the proposed solutions may invite disagreement. Nevertheless, we believe that engaging with the difficulty of the tension is part of the role of scholarship, and that by engaging with this tension we may extend the boundaries of our knowledge about quality in translation.

About the Editors

Steve Watters
Stephen Watters

Stephen Watters is Research Director in the Corporate Research Office of SIL Int’l, and is Associate Director at the Pike Center for Integrative Scholarship. He has an adjunct teaching position at Baylor University, and is a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Studies of Religion, Baylor University where he is involved in research on the relationship between language and human flourishing. He holds an MA in linguistics from the University of Texas at Arlington and a PhD in linguistics from Rice University. He has done fieldwork throughout South Asia and the Himalaya with interest in many aspects of sociolinguistics, linguistics, and translation.

Reinier de Blois
Reinier de Blois, Editors

Reinier de Blois is director of the Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship at the American Bible Society. He has a PhD in Linguistics from the Free University of Amsterdam. Before his current role, he served as exegete with the Izi/Ikwo/Ezaa dialect cluster in Nigeria. After that he joined UBS and worked as translation consultant in Guinea (West-Africa) and Tanzania. From 2011-2019 he was director of the Institute for Computer-Assisted Publishing (ICAP). He also is the editor of the Semantic Dictionary of Biblical Hebrew.

Table of Contents

    • Preface
    • Contributors
    • 1.Quality in Translation: The Warp and Weft of Subjective and Objective Threads
      • 1.1Why revisit quality in translation?
      • 1.2Some Caveats
      • 1.3Bible translation: between modernity and post-modernity
      • 1.4Quality as a holism
      • 1.5The post-colonial turn
      • 1.6Proselytes and converts
      • 1.7What is the meta-narrative of the BTM?
      • 1.8Summary
      • 1.9References
    • 2.Re-modeling quality: A comparison of implicit values revealed by translation metaphors
      • 2.1Introduction
      • 2.2Mental Models and Hermeneutics
      • 2.3Science model
      • 2.4Art model
      • 2.5Craft model
      • 2.6Dialogue model
      • 2.7Journey model
      • 2.8Mission model
      • 2.9Tension points for quality assurance
      • 2.10Conclusion
      • 2.11Abbreviations
      • 2.12References
    • 3.“… And Behold, Angels Came and Ministered to Him.”
      • 3.1A case study in text interpretation
      • 3.2The multidimensional nature of text, meaning, and context
      • 3.3Multiperspectival text analysis
      • 3.4Main results of a multiperspectival reading of Matthew 4:1-11
      • 3.5Interpreting the meaning and function of idou in Matthew 4:11b
      • 3.6Application to translation
      • 3.7Conclusion
      • 3.8References
    • 4.Scripture, or Translations of Scripture? Septuagint, Doctrines of Scripture, and Bible Translation Today
      • 4.1Introduction
      • 4.2The Nature of the LXX
      • 4.3The use of the LXX in the Apostolic Period
      • 4.4The LXX Conundrum
      • 4.5Recent Discussions About Doctrines of Scripture
      • 4.6Toward a New Theological and Hermeneutical Paradigm of Scripture
      • 4.7What, Then, of Quality in Translation?
      • 4.8References
    • 5.Theology and Hermeneutics: From Translation Challenge to Unrealized Potential
      • 5.1Introduction
      • 5.2The challenge of theology in Bible translation
      • 5.3Empowering Bible translators
      • 5.4The BTM joining in with the Holy Spirit
      • 5.5Conclusion
      • 5.6References
    • 6.Multimodality In Bible Translation: Could It Contribute To Quality Assurance?
      • 6.1Introduction: the mandate of the ETEN Innovation Lab on Quality Assurance
      • 6.2Recommendation 1: Multimodality and multimedia
      • 6.3Defining multimodal translation
      • 6.4Recommendation 2: An expanded role for the Church in Bible translation
      • 6.5Recommendation 3: Different quality assurance tools and processes
      • 6.6Conclusion
      • 6.7References
    • 7.A Method for Exegeting Emotions in the Bible for Higher Quality Translation
      • 7.1Introduction
      • 7.2Foundations of emotion studies
      • 7.3Emotion and society
      • 7.4Emotion and language
      • 7.5How to exegete emotions in the Bible
      • 7.6Case study: Mark 7:24-30
      • 7.7References
    • 8.Euphony as a Central Component of Quality
      • 8.1Introduction
      • 8.2Theoretical Considerations: Relevance Theory
      • 8.3Translations with Limited Aesthetic Appeal
      • 8.4A Literary Functional Equivalent Approach
      • 8.5A Tibetan Literary Translation Experience
      • 8.6Conclusions and Recommendations
      • 8.7References
    • 9.Tacit Linguistic Knowledge is Not Enough: Participatory Methods to Improve Quality in Bible Translation
      • 9.1Introduction
      • 9.2Can you not just rely on native speaker intuition?
      • 9.3Are there also mistranslations in oral Scripture?
      • 9.4Won’t translators become aware of language structures through the normal translation process?
      • 9.5Isn’t the Scripture adequate for the language communities?
      • 9.6Won’t machine translation tools make Scripture adequate?
      • 9.7Why is a study of the sound system key to developing a readable orthography?
      • 9.8Why is the study of discourse key to making a natural, asthetic, coherent and accurate Bible text?
      • 9.9In what ways have participatory studies on the part of the mother-tongue speaker actually improved the quality of the Bible text?
      • 9.10Conclusion
      • 9.11References
    • 10.African Access to a Quality Bible Translation
      • 10.1Introduction
      • 10.2Roadblock 1 for Borana language
      • 10.3Roadblock 2 for the Dangme language
      • 10.4Roadblock 3 for Maasai language
      • 10.5Orthography Recommendations: Support comprehensibility of Scripture text
      • 10.6References
    • 11.Translating the Bible with People for People: How Current Anthropological Insights contribute to Quality
      • 11.1Introduction
      • 11.2Anthropological theory and Bible translation
      • 11.3Towards a theologically engaged anthropology
      • 11.4Reflexive practice
      • 11.5Questioning culture
      • 11.6Organising Bible translation
      • 11.7What is quality in Bible translation?
      • 11.8Semiotics in Bible translation
      • 11.9Language and semiotic ideologies
      • 11.10Turning to ontology
      • 11.11Ontonic words in northwestern Benin
      • 11.12Awkward equivalence in translation
      • 11.13Semiotic ideologies and media
      • 11.14Conclusion
      • 11.15References
    • 12.Artificial Intelligence Tools as Quality Assessment Copilots
      • 12.1Introduction
      • 12.2Expectations and workflows
      • 12.3Anchors in reality
      • 12.4Methods of assessment
      • 12.5Evidence from field trials
      • 12.6Future Work
      • 12.7Conclusion
      • 12.8Acknowledgements
      • 12.9References
    • 13.Lost in Translation: Navigating the Intersection of Humanity and Technology in Bible Translation
      • 13.1Introduction
      • 13.21. What problem is the technology trying to solve? 2. Whose problem is it?
      • 13.33. Who might be most seriously harmed by a technological solution? 4. What new problems might be created because we have solved this problem?
      • 13.45. What sort of people and institutions might acquire special power because of this change?
      • 13.56. What changes in language are being enforced by new technologies?
      • 13.6Recommendations
      • 13.7References
    • 14.Summary, Synthesis, and Future Research
      • 14.1Summary
      • 14.2Synthesis
      • 14.3Future Research
    • 15.Appendix: Re-modeling quality: A comparison of implicit values revealed by translation metaphors
      • 15.1Illustrative Quotes
    • 16.Appendix: “… And Behold, Angels Came and Ministered to Him.”
      • 16.2LITERARY FORM
    • 17.Appendix: Tacit Linguistic Knowledge is Not Enough: Participatory Methods to Improve Quality in Bible Translation

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