5. Types of translations: 3. Paraphrase.

3. Paraphrase.

When creating a paraphrase, understandability is foremost in the mind of the translator. This sometimes leads to elaborated texts, much longer than the original but often looses the “feeling” of the original. Where there is more than one possible interpretation of the text, the translator makes his own choice. He could also decide to give all possibilities, or describe at length what he deems necessary to serve the meaning.

* Before the healing of the boy mentioned above, the father asked Jesus why his disciples couldn’t drive out the demon. According to the MKJV, Jesus exclaimed: “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you?” (Mat.17:17)

Though this is a direct translation of the Greek, one cannot help to wonder how this reaction of Jesus should be understood.

The Message, a paraphrase, makes Jesus’ words even sharper: “What a generation! No sense of God! No focus to your lives! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? (Mat.17:17) It is clear that the translators elaborated on Jesus’ words to create what they felt His intentions could have been. It almost looks as though Jesus was on the point to physically attack those listening to Him.

* In the same narrative Mark tells us that the father reported that the demon often tried to kill the boy by casting him “into the fire and into the water”. Even only a few burning embers can cause severe burns or even set the child’s clothes alight. But to drown him, a lot of water would be needed. One can immediately picture the terrible ordeal should the boy get these seizures while they were fishing or passing over a river on a flimsy bridge. In aid of understanding the Message changes “water” to “river” (Mk.9:22)

The Message and to a certain extent the Good News Bible are examples of this type of translation.


About bibledifferencesfacts

I am a retired preacher of the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa. Since my studies at the University of Pretoria I had a keen interest in the reasons for the differences between the translations of the Bible, especially the New Testament. Since 1973 I am married to my dear wife and greatest friend, Leah Page. We are blessed with two daughters and two sons, two grand sons and one grand daughter. God is alive and omnipotent! Glory to His Name! Herman
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