Saturday, April 18, 2009

Literal vs. Dynamic

Sean Harrison from Tyndale (NLT Study Bible) reposted three terrific examples of difference between being literal and capturing meaning, in a recent talk (notes online). That is why formal translations don't get you "closer to the original meaning" than dynamics do. I have a bunch of examples but these are so pithy there were worth repeating:

The first was in Spanish (from Mark Strauss)
Original: ¿Cómo se llama?
Literal Translation: “How yourself call?”
Formal Translation: “How do you call yourself?”
Dynamic Translation: “What is your name?”

Then one in French (from Mark Taylor)
Original: mon petit chou
Literal: “my little cabbage”
Dynamic: “my dear”

Finally one in English to English which shows the problem of literal vs. dynamic (Mark Strauss)
Original: “By the way, I’m hitting the road at the crack of dawn.”
Literal: “Along the path, I’m punching the street at the fissure of sunrise.”
Dynamic: “I wanted to let you know, I’m departing very early in the morning.”


Sean Harrison said...

Hi, CD-Host. I want to give full credit to Mark Strauss for these examples, which are from his part of the talk. Thanks for re-posting them.

Sean Harrison said...

Oh, and Mark Taylor contributed the "mon petit chou" example.

CD-Host said...

Sean --

Thank you for the attribution correction. Is this version correct?