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WBTC Bible Translation Basics

Translation step by step


Step 1

Exegesis for Bible translators


Adapted from the Luke Partnership Project by Katy Barnwell
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Exegesis for Bible translators


Step 1

Discover the meaning of the source text


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What is exegesis?
In doing exegesis, we are trying to discover what the original author wanted to communicate to the original audience.

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Translation step by step


12: Publication 11: Final read-through 10: Final editing 9: Testing and revie ing 8: Content correction 7: Back-translation !: Preli"inar# testing $: %e# biblical ter"s ): Tea" check &: 'u((le"entar# hel(s 2: *ra+ting

Step 1

Exegesis

1: ,-egesis
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What is exegesis?
In doing exegesis, we are trying to discover what the original author wanted to communicate to the original audience. We are trying to understand the original authors messageso that we can retell it to a new audience.
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Remember
! GOOD translation communicates the intended meaning o" the original in a clear and natural way.

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Remember
! GOOD translation communicates the intended meaning o" the original in a clear and natural way. ! BAD translation communicates the wrong meaning, o"ten $ecause it is unclear and unnatural.

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Remember
! GOOD translation communicates the intended meaning o" the original in a clear and natural way. ! BAD translation communicates the wrong meaning, o"ten $ecause it is unclear and unnatural. &he WORST translation o" all communicates the wrong meaning in a clear and natural way.
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The translators tas


! translators tas( is to communicate the same message as the original author. &ranslators must $e care"ul not to tell their own message. &heir tas( is to retell the message o" the original author to a new audience. )o before translating, the translator must discover the meaning o" the source text as exactly and fully as *ossi$le.
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If you are building a house,

you first dig the foundations. I" you dont, the house may "all down.
If you are going to make soup, you first prepare the ingredients.

I" you dont, the sou* may not taste good.


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If you are making a translation, first stu!y the meaning of the source text.

I" you dont, you will not $e a$le to retell the message correctly, and the translation will not $e "aith"ul to the meaning o" the original.
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Translation is the transfer of meaning


&he translators goal is that the translation will convey the same meaning as the source text did to the original audience as clearly and accurately as *ossi$le.
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Translation " transfer of meaning


Text in the Source language
Translation in the .ece(tor /anguage

Meaning
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Context
Includes in"ormation the )cri*ture writer assumed the audience (new. ,ur *ro$lemIn"ormation availa$le to the original audience is o"ten not availa$le to our readers.

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The #iceberg$ of meaning


The explicit meanings of a piece of writing are the tip of an iceberg of meaning: the larger part lies below the surface of the text and is composed of the readers own rele ant knowledge.
!"irsch #$%&:''(')*

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%mplicit %nformation
&o understand what someone says or writes we must in"er the necessary im*licit in"ormation that the s*ea(er assumes we (now. .or exam*le+ollector: Would you li(e to $uy a "lag "or the /oyal 0ational 1i"e$oat Institution2 ,asser(by: 0o than(s, I always s*end my holidays with my sister in 3irmingham.

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Relevance ?
4ontextual assum*tionsIn 5ngland, charities o"ten sell little "lags "or donations &he /oyal 0ational 1i"e$oat Institution is a charity. 3irmingham is inland. )omeone who s*ends his holidays inland is unli(ely to need the hel* o" the /oyal 0ational 1i"e$oat Institution. )omeone who is unli(ely to need hel* "rom a charity cannot $e ex*ected to su$scri$e to it.

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Relevance ?
4ontextual Im*lication&here is a su""icient reason "or re"using to su$scri$e to the 0ational 1i"e$oat Institution.

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&eople !o not un!erstan! 'hat a translation says (ust from the 'or!s on the page) They infer meaning by combining 'hat they rea! from 'hat they alrea!y no')
Context is crucial "or inter*retation
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*eaning to convey

Thoughts +n!erstoo!

Communicator

Addressee

Co!e ,Con!uit- *o!el S,en!er- *,essage- R,eceiver2007 World Bible Translation Center 2+ 01/29/14

*eaning
Thoughts +n!erstoo!

Communicator

Addressee

Co!e ,Con!uit- *o!el S,en!er- *,essage- R,eceiver2007 World Bible Translation Center 21 01/29/14

*eaning to convey

Share! no'le!ge an! assumptions

Context

Thoughts +n!erstoo!

Communicator

%nferencing

Addressee

.ct of inferential communication


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)*ea(er meaning

9!:
8tterance meaning
6&here is almost always a ga* $etween what *eo*le say and what they mean.7
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*ar 1/012
;esus said, 6<ou dont understand what you are as(ing. 4an you drin( "rom the cu* that I must drin( "rom2 4an you $e $a*ti=ed with the same $a*tism that I must go through27

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Comprehension proce!ure in a nutshell


We show we intend to communicate ,thers ex*ect our communication will $e relevant >ma(ing sense? ,ur hearers "orm a hy*othesis a$out our intentions. &hey access the shared >cognitive? context &hey in"er conclusions "rom utterances@text A context &hey sto* trying to "igure out what we are saying when the inter*retation satis"ies their hy*othesis

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Maize for sale ready, says board


&he 0ational 4ereals and :roduce 3oard has #14,1+# $ags o" mai=e in its de*ots. ,ut o" this, a$out 5 4,1+# $ags are "or sale to customers at mar(et *rices. In a statement yesterday, the $oardBs *u$lic relations manager, Cr D. C. said the mai=e is availa$le at all its stores as sur*lus stoc(s are trans"erred to re*lenish de*leted su**lies. Cr C. said that 1++,+++ $ags are sold every wee(.
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What do you su**ose was the authors *ur*ose in *roviding this in"ormation2

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Maize for sale ready, says board


&he 0ational 4ereals and :roduce 3oard has #14,1+# $ags o" mai=e in its de*ots. ,ut o" this, a$out 5 4,1+# $ags are "or sale to customers at mar(et *rices. In a statement yesterday, the $oardBs *u$lic relations manager, Cr D. C. said the mai=e is availa$le at all its stores as sur*lus stoc(s are trans"erred to re*lenish de*leted su**lies. Cr C. said that 1++,+++ $ags are sold every wee(.
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Context0
E Cr C. was res*onding to *ress re*orts a$out hungerFrelated deaths in *arts o" the country to to drought and "amine. E &here had $een accusations that the government had $een hoarding grain. E &he "acts say otherwise E 60o grounds "or the accusation7 FF le"t to $e in"erred "rom the "acts stated.
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Adapted introduction /es*onding to *ress re*orts a$out hungerFrelated deaths in *arts o" the country and accusations that the government had $een hoarding su**lies "or sale at *ro"it, Cr. D. C., *u$lic relations manager "or &he 0ational 4ereals and :roduce 3oard, announced that the 3oard has #14,1+# $ags o" mai=e in its de*ots. ,ut o" this, a$out 5 4,1+# $ags are "or sale to customers at mar(et *rices. In a statement yesterday, Cr. C. said the mai=e is availa$le at all its stores as sur*lus stoc(s G

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Im*licit in"ormation de"initely a *ro$lem 0o ex*licit way to deal with the *ro$lem o" context In a 3i$le translation, how much contextual in"ormation should $e su**lied2 6!s little as *ossi$le, as much as necessary7

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3ui!elines 4
Im*licit in"ormation needs to $e added only when G it is necessary to communicate correct meaning G or to insure naturalness in the /1 translation.
C. 1arson >1''%-4#?

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.ccuracy 5 Clarity
.rom a readers *oint o" view !ccuracy must $e measured in the readers understanding o" the text ! translator must ta(e res*onsi$ility "or the extent to which the second audience understands what the original authors intended to convey to their audiences.

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.ccuracy 5 Clarity
! text that is not clear is not accurate "or a reader, or ! text does not convey an accurate sense, unless the reader understands it. ! *er"ectly natural text may seem clear to a reader, $ut the inter*retation may $e clearly not the one intended $y the original author H
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.ccuracy 5 Clarity
&here are di""erent 6levels7 o" understanding "or many texts $ut G !n accurate understanding de*ends on a modern readers access to the essential $ac(ground in"ormation the author assumed original readers would $e a$le to access.

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.ccuracy 5 Clarity
&his accounts "or how G
a text may $e accurately understood $y one reader, $ut misunderstood $y another reader .

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To assure un!erstan!ing 'e must


&a(e the 3i$le context and the context o" our readers as seriously as we ta(e the 3i$le text. !ssess whether *ro$lems o" understanding are due to G the translation itsel" or G the readers lac( o" the necessary $ac(ground in"ormation

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The role an! significance of context in communication


not a 6remainder7 a"ter one has dealt with the text not Iust $its and *ieces o" in"ormation that may $e needed here and there
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6o' to stu!y the meaning


.irst loo( at the $ig *icture the context and the message.

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6o' to stu!y the meaning


.irst loo( at the $ig *icture the context and the message.

&hen loo( at the small *icturethe details.

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6o' to stu!y the meaning


.irst loo( at the $ig *icture the context and the message.

&hen loo( at the small *icturethe details.

&hen loo( at the $ig *icture againhow do the *arts connect2


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7oo ing at the big picture


1. 5xamine the historical and social setting
Who is the author2 &o whom was he writing2 What was the situation2

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7oo ing at the big picture


2. 9et an overview o" the whole document
Jiscover the authors *ur*ose and the main themes.

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7oo ing at the big picture


3. Jiscover the maIor units o" the $oo(divisions sections *aragra*hs

4. )tudy the structure o" the $oo(

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3ospel Beginnings
*atthe' *ar 7u e 8ohn

1 &his is the "amily history o" ;esus the Cessiah. Ke came "rom the "amily o" Javid and "rom the "amily o" !$raham. 2 !$raham was the "ather o" Isaac. Isaac was the "ather o" ;aco$. ;aco$ was the "ather o" ;udah and his $rothers.

&he 9ood 0ews a$out ;esus the Cessiah, the )on o" 9od, $egins 2 with what the *ro*het Isaiah said would ha**en. Ke wrote1

61istenH I will send my messenger ahead o" you. Ke will *re*are the way "or you.7

Cost Konora$le &heo*hilusCany others have tried to give a re*ort o" the things that ha**ened among us to com*lete 9ods *lan. 2 What they have written agrees with what we learned "rom the *eo*le who saw those events "rom the $eginning.
1F3

3e"ore the world $egan, the Word was there. &he Word was with 9od, and the Word was 9od. 2 Ke was there with 9od in the $eginning. 3 5verything was made through him, and nothing was made without him.
1

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9ocusing on a section
.irst loo( at the section in its context
Kow does this section connect with section $e"ore it2 Kow does it connect to the "ollowing section2 What is the main theme o" the section2 What mar(s the section as a unit2
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the

9ocusing on a section
Luke !"#$%&' 4ontext&his *assage comes early in the third division o" 1u(e.
;esus is on his way to ;erusalem. Ke is *re*aring his disci*les "or the time when he will no longer $e with them. 0otice the re"erence to )amaria in 1u(e '-51F5 .
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9ocusing on a section
&he time was coming near when ;esus would leave and go $ac( to heaven. Ke decided to go to ;erusalem. 52Ke sent some men ahead o" him. &hey went into a town in )amaria to ma(e everything ready "or him. 533ut the *eo*le there would not welcome ;esus $ecause he was going toward ;erusalem. 54;ames and ;ohn, the "ollowers o" ;esus, saw this. &hey said, 61ord, do you want us to call "ire down "rom heaven and destroy those *eo*le27 55 3ut ;esus turned and critici=ed them "or saying this. 5 &hen he and his "ollowers went to another town.
51

Luke ("$ %$)

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9ocusing on a section
Luke !"#$%&' /ead the section in the &)&. &his *rovides a loo( at the text in a more literal "orm >one that "ollows the "orm o" the original language text closely?. &hen read the section in one or more meanin* ba+ed versions, such as the 5/L in 5nglish or another language.

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%!entify the :uestions that nee! research


Luke 10:25-37 Asking the right questions is the way to begin doing good exegesis

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%!entify the terms that nee! special attention


Words that have theological im*ortance, such as
sal ation redemption grace &hese are called 6(ey terms.7
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Or terms that have important social or historical significance, such as ... Temple synagogue -abbath Discuss: What key terms need special study in Luke 10:25-3 !
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Some ey terms that nee! stu!y in 7u e 1/0;<=1>


,er+e+ #$-#) expert in the .aw .aw eternal life teacher lo e priest .e ite -amaritan
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,er+e #' ,er+e+ & %&&

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Stu!y the !etails 4 an! as :uestions


!re there any un(nown ideas2 !re there any customs or things that are di""erent in the 3i$le and target culture2 !re there idioms or "igures o" s*eech2 !re there *laces where the grammar is com*licated2 !re there a$stract nouns ex*ressing events2 !ny am$iguities or unclear meanings2 !ny textual *ro$lems2
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7u e 1/0;<=1>
8n(nown ideas2 pouring on oil and wine denarius /erusalem /ericho 4ustoms or things that are di""erent in the 3i$le and target culture2 *erha*s animal Idioms or "igures o" s*eech2 fell among thie es
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7u e 1/0;<=1>
Ji""icult constructions to unravel2 bandaging, then cleansing !$stract nouns ex*ressing events2 feel compassion !m$iguities or unclear meanings2 inherit eternal life neighbor

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9in! the 9.CTS


8se re"erence hel*s
3i$le versions >in di""erent languages? W3&4 Kel* Jes( 3i$le dictionaries, 3i$le commentaries, )tudy 3i$le ...
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The Bible text itself ,TST an! ?R@is your most useful resourceA
"he #e$s said% 6&t has taken '(rty-six years t( )uild this temple% and y(u $ill raise it in three days!7 21 *ut the temple he +#esus, $as talking a)(ut $as his )(dy- 22.'ter he $as raised 'r(m the dead% his followers/disciples remem)ered that he had said this/ and they )elie0ed the Scripture and the $(rds #esus said23 While he +#esus, $as in #erusalem during the 1ass(0er Festival/Feast% many pe(ple )elie0ed in him2% )ecause they sa$ the 3miracul(us4 signs that he $as d(ing- 25*ut #esus did n(t trust himsel' t( them% )ecause he kne$ all pe(ple- 256e had n( need '(r s(me(ne t( tell him a)(ut pe(ple% )ecause he kne$ $hat $as inside people/in peoples hearts20

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.fter stu!ying the !etails


Dey terms 8n(nown ideas 4ustoms 5/L and &)& >)ource text? /e"erence hel*s
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Return to the big picture


1. &hin( or tal( through the whole *assage 2. /eview how everything "its together, noting the relationshi* $etween the di""erent *arts. 3. :re*are to translate. 4. Ca(ing an oral translation is a good way to $egin.
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Translation step by step


12: Publication 11: Final read-through 10: Final editing 9: Testing and revie ing 8: Content correction 7: Back-translation !: Preli"inar# testing $: %e# biblical ter"s ): Tea" check &: 'u((le"entar# hel(s

2: *ra+ting
1: ,-egesis
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