On Bible translations: an overview.

On translating the Bible…

Ten Commandments from Robert Alter

  1. Thou shalt not make translation an explanation of the original, for the Hebrew writer abhorreth all explanation.
  2. Thou shalt not mangle the eloquent syntax of the original by seeking to modernise it.
  3. Thou shalt not shamefully mingle linguistic registers.
  4. Thou shalt not multiply for thyself synonyms where the Hebrew wisely and pointedly uses repeated terms.
  5. Thou shalt not replace the expressive simplicity of the Hebrew prose with purportedly elegant language.
  6. Thou shalt not betray the fine compactness of biblical poetry.
  7. Thou shalt not make the Bible sound as though it were written just yesterday, for this, too, is an abomination.
  8. Thou shalt diligently seek English counterparts for the word-play and sound-play of the Hebrew.
  9. Thou shalt show to readers the liveliness and subtlety of the dialogues.
  10. Thou shall continually set before thee the precision and purposefulness of the word-choices in the Hebrew.