Sunday, March 1, 2015

Translating Matthew 1:18-25

     In this article I will  translate  Matthew  chapter  1, verses 18-25. I will produce
two  kinds  of  translations. The  first  will  be modified-literal, and the second will
be   idiomatic.  The   purpose  is  to illustrate the benefits of both literal and idiomatic
translations. The literal translation will be  as  close  to  the  Greek  as  possible, except
for  changes  in  word  order where  necessary in order  to  attain  some  degree  of
readability. The idiomatic translation will be reflect modern English meaning and style.

Modified-literal translation of Matthew 1:18-25.

     "Now the birth of Jesus Messiah was thusly. The mother of him, Mary, having
been engaged to the Joseph, before they came together, was found in stomach
through the Holy Spirit. But Joseph the man of her, being righteous and not wishing
to expose her publicly, planned privately to release her. But while he, having reflected
these things, behold a messenger of the Lord appeared to him in a dream saying,
Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary, the woman of you; for the in her
having been conceived is through the Holy Spirit. And she will give birth to a son,
and you will call the name of him Jesus, for he himself will deliver the people of
him from the sins of them. Now this all has become in order that might be fulfilled
the word having been spoken by Lord through the prophet saying, Behold the virgin
in stomach will have and will give birth to son, and they will call the name of him
Emmanuel, which is being translated with us the God. But the Joseph having been
raised from the sleep did as he was commanded by the messenger of the Lord, and
he took the woman of him. And he did not know her until which she bore a son; and
he called the name of him Jesus."  

Idiomatic Translation of Matthew 1:18-25.

"Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. His mother Mary was
engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant
through the Holy Spirit. Now her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not
desiring to publicly shame her, decided to divorce her secretly. Now while he was
thinking about these things, behold, and angel of the Lord appeared to him in a
dream and said, Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary to be your wife,
for the child that has been conceived in her is through the Holy Spirit. And she will
give birth to a Son, and you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people
from their sins. Now all this happened in order that what had been spoken by the
Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, Behold, the virgin will be pregnant and
she will give birth to a son, and they will name him Emmanuel, which means, God is
with us. When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded
him and he took her as his wife. And he did not have sexual relations with her until
she gave birth to a son , and he named him Jesus."

     The modified-literal translation  has some  awkward  phrasing  and it is difficult,
though not impossible to read. It is good for study purposes because of its closeness
to the Greek text.  The idiomatic translation is designed to convey the meaning of
the Greek text without adding unnecessary words or becoming a paraphrase. The
former reflects form; the latter reflects meaning and form to a lesser degree. Which
is accurate? Both are accurate in the way they are designed to be. One in form, the
other in meaning.
                                                                                                                      R. Daly
Copyright 2015 

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