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Some aspects of style in twentieth-century English Bible translation: one-man versions of Mark and the Psalms
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts.
1979 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This is a study of the work of some seventy of the many hundreds of translators of the Bible, in whole or in part, into English during this century. Style, with particular emphasis on diction, is the major concern, though other aspects can be touched on at times, as well as methods of translation. Part one deals with versions of Mark into English prose, and part two with versions of the Psalms into English verse forms. The translations are grouped according to the aims and purposes of the translator and/or the type of language he employs. First a short passage is analysed - generally Mark 1:1-11 or Psalm 23 - and then a larger body of text is examined and the various levels of diction and phrasing are noted with examples cited of each. Some evaluation occurs, set against the criteria of comprehensibility and suitability of the style to the subject-matter, to the style of the original, and to the limitations of the intended audience.

Several factors are seen to affect the style of a Bible translation, the most conspicuous being the influence of tradition, the translation method used - formal or dynamic equivalence - or the amount of restructuring necessitated by audience-orientation. The main trend this century is the gradual departure from "Biblical" English and the increased interest in the use of comprehensible contemporary language. A comparison between the versions of Mark and the Psalms shows that their translators seemed to have- different objectives. Translators of Mark were generally more interested in dynamic equivalence, some in reflecting the linguistic level of koiné Greek, and many in audience-orientation. There are also several, however, who preferred to lean toward literalism. Translators of the Psalms into verse forms were not concerned with reflecting the linguistic level but rather the prosodie features of the original Hebrew Psalms. There is less interest both in literalism, audience-orientation and in dynamic-equivalence, except perhaps in versions into rhymed verse or a few of those into free verse. The overall impression gained from this study is that style is of vital importance when it comes to the effectiveness, usefulness and impact of a translation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 1979. , 226 p.
Keyword [en]
Bible, translation, style, Mark, Psalms, formal-equivalence, dynamic-equivalence, audience-orientrtion
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-66941ISBN: 91-7174-037-6OAI: diva2:610861
Public defence
1979-05-31, Humanisthuset, hörsal E, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:00
Available from: 2013-03-13 Created: 2013-03-07 Last updated: 2013-03-26Bibliographically approved

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