Functionalism And Foreignisation: Applying Skopos Theory To Bible .

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FUNCTIONALISM AND FOREIGNISATION:APPLYING SKOPOS THEORY TO BIBLE TRANSLATIONbyANDY CHEUNGA thesis submitted to theUniversity of Birminghamfor the degree ofDOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHYDepartment of Theology and ReligionSchool of Philosophy, Theology and ReligionThe University of BirminghamSeptember 2011

University of Birmingham Research Archivee-theses repositoryThis unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or thirdparties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respectof this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 oras modified by any successor legislation.Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be inaccordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Furtherdistribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permissionof the copyright holder.

ABSTRACTThis thesis considers the practice of Bible translation from the perspective of contemporarytranslation studies and provides a fresh translation and accompanying commentary ofaspects of Paul's Letter to the Romans.The emergence of functionalism, particularly skopos theory, in the latter part of the 20thcentury is seen as a key moment in the development of translation theory. The thesis arguesthat it has significant advantages over source text orientated approaches which havetraditionally dominated Bible translation practice. An essential history documents thisevolution of theoretical developments in translation study. The advantages of skopos theoryover equivalence-based approaches are discussed with particular reference to Bibletranslation theory and the work of E. A. Nida.The functionalist approach increases the range of possible translations, with this thesisadopting a foreignising purpose in a new translation of Romans 1:1-15, 15:14-16:27. Theforeignising approach owes its origins to F. Schleiermacher (popularised more recently by L.Venuti among others) and involves rendering a text so as to preserve or heighten the senseof otherness of the source text, thereby retaining something of the foreignness of theoriginal. An accompanying commentary is provided to explain the translator's choices.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSMy thanks to Dr Philip Burton for his helpful suggestions andrecommendations in the research and writing of this thesis.I am also grateful for much stimulating and thought-provokingdiscussion on Bible translation theory and practice.

ὅτι ἐξ αὐτοῦ καὶ δι' αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰς αὐτὸν τὰ πάντα:αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, ἀμήν.For from him and through him and to him are all things.To him be glory forever. Amen. (ESV)Romans 11:36

CONTENTSINTRODUCTION . 11.0 AN ESSENTIAL HISTORY OF BIBLE TRANSLATION. 131.1 Translation Theory Before the 20th Century . 151.1.1 Roman Translation . 151.1.2 English Bible Translators . 201.1.3 16th Century Translation Theorists . 221.1.4 17th and 18th Translation Theorists . 301.1.4 Victorian Translation Theorists . 381.1.5 Section Summary . 411.2 Translation Theory in the 20th Century . 421.2.1 Philosophical Theories of Translation . 421.2.2 The Linguistic Era . 481.2.3 Towards Contemporary Translation Studies . 571.2.4 Functionalism and the Cultural Turn . 601.2.5 James Holmes: Mapping Translation Studies . 741.2.6 Chapter Summary . 782.0 BIBLE TRANSLATION AND EQUIVALENCE. 802.1 Criticisms of the General Notion of Equivalence . 83Equivalence is impossible to define with precision . 84Equivalence should be seen as one of many possible goals . 86Equivalence assumes that languages exhibit interchangeable symmetry . 87There are more usable or more efficient alternatives to equivalence . 88Equivalence discounts the social and cultural aspects of translation . 89Equivalence does not take into account developments in postcolonial studies . 93Equivalence elevates the source text too highly . 952.2 Criticisms of Dynamic and Formal Equivalence . 97The underlying Chomskian theory behind dynamic equivalence is untenable . 97Reproducing 'equivalent effect' is unobtainable . 98Dynamic and formal equivalence are wrongly presented as scientific . 101

The dynamic vs. formal equivalence paradigm is unnecessarily binary . 102The dynamic vs. formal equivalence paradigm does not reflect the variance of text types . 104Supporters of formal and dynamic equivalence are not always aware of other translationtheories . 105Dynamic equivalence fosters undue fluency . 108Dynamic equivalence tends to generate unnecessary explicitation . 109Dynamic equivalence fosters ethnocentric bias . 111Dynamic equivalence assumes that the form of the source text is unimportant . 114Dynamic equivalence is sometimes presented as the only right way to translate. 115Formal equivalence generates overly literal translations, which are not necessarily more'accurate' . 1172.3 Chapter Summary . 1193.0 FUNCTIONALISM, TARGET TEXT APPROACHES AND BIBLE TRANSLATION . 1223.1 Defining Translation and Translating . 123Gideon Toury and Descriptive Translation Studies . 124Functionalist Approaches. 1273.2 Terminology Among Functionalists . 130The Term 'Skopos' and its Variants . 130Other Terms in Functionalism . 1323.3 Action Theory . 135Translatorial Action Theory . 1363.4 Skopos Theory . 138Skopos Theory and Bible Translation . 1513.5 Criticisms of Skopos Theory . 153Skopos theory introduces unnecessary complications . 153Skopos theory potentially justifies any translation . 156Not all actions have a purpose. 156The translator is not always the expert . 157Under skopos theory, translation success depends too highly on satisfaction of the brief . 159Skopos theory does not fully replace equivalence . 1603.6 Chapter Summary . 1614.0 FOREIGNISING TRANSLATION AND THE BIBLE . 162The Concept of Foreignisation . 162Ethical concerns of translation . 164

Extending the boundaries of translation . 166Visibility and the translator . 167Postcolonialism and Foreignising Translation. 168Some Limits of Foreignisation . 1694.1 Foreignisation and the Bible . 170A preference for domestication? . 172Civility and domestication. 175Anachronisms. 176Biblical Imagery and Terminology . 178Metaphor . 182Neologisms . 187Transliteration . 1894.2 The Acceptability of Foreignising Translation . 1924.3 Chapter Summary . 1985.0 A FUNCTIONALIST TRANSLATION OF ROMANS . 200Towner's Translation of 2 Corinthians 1:5-6 . 201Nord and Berger's Skopos Driven Translation . 206Skopos Definition for a Foreignising Translation of Romans . 209A Rationale for the Translation and Commentary Text . 2125.1 A Foreignising Translation: Introduction . 2145.2 Translation and Commentary Notes . 216Romans 1:1-15 . 216Romans 15:14-33 . 237Romans 16:1-27 . 2535.3 Chapter Summary . 278CONCLUSION. 279REFERENCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY . 286

INTRODUCTIONSince the middle of the 20th century, the dominant figure in Bible translation theory hasbeen Eugene Nida, best known for his work on establishing the notions of dynamic andformal equivalence. Since that time, a range of Bible versions have been produced inaccordance with one or other of these principles, such as the dynamic equivalence GoodNews Bible and the formal equivalence New American Standard Bible. Meanwhile, anongoing and sometimes heated debate has taken place in scholarly literature over therelative merits of each of these approaches to translating Scripture. The discussion overdynamic versus formal equivalence is, in fact, a 20th century refashioning of the age-oldfree/literal dichotomy known to have been discussed as far back as Cicero, and one that hasbeen a near constant debate throughout the history of Bible translation. The details of thisdiscussion are discussed in detail in Chapter 1, a historical survey of the field.From the vantage point of the 21st century, what is perhaps somewhat curious incontemporary debates about the relative merits of Bible translation philosophies is that thediscussion is often carried out mainly within the confines of Nida's theory. That is, theliterature on Bible translation practice (e.g. the edited volumes of Scorgie et al. (2003) andGrudem et al. (2005)) is dominated by deliberations about where on the spectrum fromdynamic to formal equivalence to translate.But in the latter half of the 20th century an impressive body of research emerged in what isnow known as translation studies, offering fresh and vital contributions to its theory andpractice. This has brought about a more extensive range of approaches to the theory and1

practice of translation and provides fertile ground for examining Bible translation from adifferent perspective. On this emergence of translation studies, it has been said:The study of translation in its manifold forms is now a well-established field ofscholarly activity. Once seen as a homeless hybrid at best, and later as aninterdisciplinary area best approached through its neighbouring disciplines (e.g.theoretical and applied linguistics, discourse analysis, literary study, comparativeliterature), it has now achieved full recognition as a discipline in its own right, towhich related disciplines make vital contributions. (Malmkjær and Windle 2011:1)The approach of this thesis is therefore to incorporate contemporary research fromtranslation studies in tackling the age-old task of translating the Bible. Of particular interestis the development of skopos theory (discussed in detail in Chapter 3), which provides anescape route from the free/literal axis by making the function of the translation the guidingprinciple upon its form. In addition, the work of Lawrence Venuti and others in promotingforeignising translation will be a key feature in this thesis. Foreignisation is discussed in fullin Chapter 4 but, briefly, it may be seen as the strategic rendering of the target text as aconspicuous translation of a source text from a different culture.Bible Translation Theory: HistoryThis thesis begins with an essential history of Bible translation theory, and it is important tohighlight this discussion as (1) an essential history (it is selective not exhaustive) and (2) ahistory of translation theory (rather than practice). Any survey of the history of translation isnecessarily selective because of the expansive and sporadic nature of its development.Furthermore, its progress has not been linear and it is difficult to trace a single threadconstituting a unified evolution. Here, the history is focused upon the development oftranslation theory as it is directly related to Bible translation, which in turn concentrates2

attention primarily upon Western history. The intention is to select and focus upon the mostimportant contributions to theoretical discussions relevant to Bible translation theory.Moreover, as a study in translation theory, it is necessary to omit details of the productionand reception of actual Bible translations. According to Daniell (2003: xiii) there are over 350published complete English Bible versions, most of which have appeared in the 20th century,while part translations of the Bible (mostly individual books) have reached over twelvehundred since 1945 alone (ibid: 735). As such, the historical survey is restricted to the knowndevelopment of translation theory (for example in writings by Cicero, Horace and Jerome).In concentrating on theoretical development, there is an unavoidable omission of discussionover known events in the practice of translation. It is recognised, for example, thatthroughout the ancient Near East, decrees of kings were translated and disseminated intomultiple languages across empires (Jinbachian 2007:29). The book of Esther tells the story ofKing Ahasuerus sending letters to "every province in its own script and to every people in itsown language" (Esth 1:22). And there is evidence that professional translation was takingplace, including the existence of lexical lists for bilingual document production betweenSumerian and Akkadian (Burke 2007:59).So there is no suggestion that translation was not practised in the ancient world, but ratherthat there is an absence of explicit theorising about the process of translation. It is, ofcourse, possible to infer translation theory from ancient translations themselves asdemonstrated with some success in the following extract:In modern Septuagint studies, one can glean how the translators of old were familiarwith and applied, 'translation techniques' that linguists today call 'modern'. The3

ancient translators used such techniques as making 'explicit' what is 'implicit' andleaving 'implicit' what is redundant . The Septuagint translators tried to adapt thecultural specificities and practices of the Hebrew religion to the Hellenistic world,which we today call 'cultural adaptation'. (Jinbachian 2007:30)The most systematic study of translation techniques in the Septuagint has been undertakenby Emanuel Tov (1999, 2008). He observes, for instance, that there are variations intranslation styles from woodenly literal through to paraphrastically free, with gradationsbetween these poles throughout. He argues that literal renderings display the translators'reference for the Hebrew Scripture, while the very free renderings are aimed more atadapting the text to the Greek readers' cultural situation. Other renderings appear to derivefrom the particular cultural background of individual translators coming from bothPalestinian and Egyptian societies, and he notes that different books within the Septuagintare characterised by varying translation styles, but admits that the reasons for suchdifferences are unclear (2008:50-7).Therein lies the problem of studying translation theory from inference. This is not to suggestthat Tov's conclusions are incorrect, but that they are necessarily deduced. We have noaccurate record of who the Septuagint translators were, nor their philosophies ontranslation methodology, nor their viewpoints on the relative advantages and disadvantagesof the choices they made. And while we have early English part translations of the Bible fromCaedmon and Alfred the Great, we can only presume from their renderings what theirtheoretical positions may have been. At least when discussing the stated opinions oftranslation theorists, be it Jerome, Luther or Schleiermacher, there is a tangible opinion withwhich we can interact. Accordingly, the historical survey of this thesis is limited to explicit4

statements about translation theory. This is admittedly a somewhat arbitrary division,especially since in studying statements by theorists themselves, there is a natural tendencyto study their actual work and infer from that additional thoughts. Nevertheless, given thevolume of ancient translations of the Bible, it is not possible within the space of this thesis toinfer and study the translation activity from ancient versions including, for example, theJewish Targums, or the Syriac, Latin, Coptic, Gothic, Armenian, and Ethiopic versions.Beyond NidaFor several decades, writings on Bible translation theory and practice have incorporatedsignificant discussions over the relative merits of dynamic and formal equivalence. Forexample, in their undergraduate-level textbook on Bible translation, Fee and Strauss discusstranslation only within the context of choosing between dynamic and formal equivalencetranslation (2007: ch. 2). Bible translations such as the New Living Translation (2004) andHolman Christian Standard Bible (2004) include detailed justifications for their respectiveapproaches to the dynamic/formal dichotomy, while even some of the most recentacademic texts devoted to the theory and practice of Bible translation stay firmly withinNida's categories, e.g. Porter and Boda (2009).Viewpoints on how the Bible should be translated can sometimes be deeply entrenched,with a steady stream of publications advocating either dynamic equivalence (e.g. Scorgie etal. 2003) or formal equivalence (e.g. Grudem et al. 2005). Some even claim the debate canbe terminated on the basis that it is now 'settled': Mark Strauss has claimed that,Indeed, though we speak of a 'translation debate' between these two methodologies[dynamic/formal equivalence] from the perspective of linguists and internationalBible translators the debate was over long ago. The technical writings and research5

emerging from major international translation organizations like Wycliffe BibleTranslators and the United Bible Society view it as a given that dynamic or functionalequivalence is the only legitimate method of true translation. (1998:83).It might be argued that Strauss has somewhat exaggerated the climate within Wycliffe andUBS but, as will be seen in Chapter 3, there is a widespread approval of dynamic equivalenceamong Bible translators generally. The dominance of Nida's theories in the practice of Bibletranslation is widely noted among contemporary writers (e.g. "For half a century, dynamicequivalence has been the guiding translation philosophy behind most new [Bible]translations", Ryken 2009:194). Therefore, it is necessary to explore some of the problemsand disadvantages of dynamic equivalence (and the broader notion of equivalencegenerally) as a translation approach. This is the topic of Chapter 2, which explores theproblems and prospects of tackling translation from the perspective of equivalence, asubject that has seen significant debate among translation scholars.In line with some recent work among Biblical scholars (e.g. Wilt 2003; Noss 2007) ofincorporating research from 'secular' translation studies, this thesis attempts an approach toBible translation from a perspective that enables moving beyond the dynamic/formal axis. Inparticular, the notion of 'skopos theory' is important as a departure from this debate byrecognising the function or purpose of the target text as the justification for its form. As issometimes said among skopos theorists, the end justifies the means, which means that the'correct' approach to translation depends on the target text function. If a target culture has apurpose for a dynamic equivalence text, that becomes the 'correct' translation for it, and soalso if the 'skopos' is for a formal equivalence text. This functional approach will be discussed6

in detail in Chapter 3, the essence of which is that the form of a translation depends on thepurpose of the text in a target community.Rendering the ForeignWhile Nida's dynamic equivalence approach calls for idiomatic, 'thought for thought'translation, others have advocated something quite different. Laurence Venuti haspromoted foreignising translation, whereby the target text is deliberately crafted in such away as to display or even flaunt the foreign origins of the source text. Such practice seeks toallow the 'otherness' of the source text to stand as a challenge to the modern reader,highlighting the foreignness of the original. Venuti was not the first to call for suchtranslation: he himself traces a line of thought back to Friedrich Schleiermacher, whopreferred translators to move the reader toward the source text author. As we will see, anumber of other 19th and 20th century translation theorists favoured this kind oftranslation, although in Bible translation, the influence of Venuti and others has beenlimited, compared to research in 'secular' translation study.All told, this backdrop provides a suitable possibility for a new, functional translation of partsof the book of Romans. The advantages of a foreignising approach to translating the Bibleare discussed in detail in Chapter 4, and, in order to demonstrate how skopos theory andforeignisation can be deployed in practice, the final part of this thesis provides a newtranslation of Romans together with an accompanying commentary which seeks to explainthe choices made in rendering Scripture.The thesis takes the following form:7

Chapter 1: An Essential History of Bible TranslationThe first section of the thesis provides 'an essential history' of Bible translation,concentrating primarily on the development of translation theory, as opposed to a historicalsurvey of either the creation or reception of Bible translations themselves. The chapter isdivided (somewhat artificially) into two halves: the development of translation theory beforethe 20th century, and subsequent developments concerning the emergence and growth oftranslation studies, whereupon there came a significant broadening of theoreticaldiscussions.This chapter has a particular emphasis upon two aspects that are central to the topic of thisthesis. The first is the development of functionalist approaches to translation such as skopostheory and the second is a concentration on theories which emphasise foreignisingtranslation. It should also be noted that most of the treatment concerns Western translationtheory (such as Cicero, Horace, Jerome, Luther and Schleiermacher), because this has beenthe tradition behind Bible translation theory and practice. The contribution to translationstudy from other regions in the world has been remarkable, but a study of the history ofBible translation theory inevitably means concentration upon Western traditions.Chapter 2: Bible Translation and EquivalenceThis chapter explores the notion of equivalence, providing discussion of its problems andpracticality in translation generally, albeit with particular reference to Bible translation. Inthe development of translation theory, Nida's twin poles of dynamic and formal equivalencebelong properly to linguistics-based theories of translation. Within these, various paradigmshave been developed under a broad heading of 'equivalence', which is a general term8

referring to the nature and extent of the relationship between a source text and atranslation. As such, dynamic and formal equivalence are types of equivalence, subexamples of a broader category. Different types of equivalence from other theorists will alsobe briefly mentioned but the principal topic in this section is an analysis of Nida's theoreticalbasis with respect to Bible translation.As will be seen, both the general subject of equivalence and the sub-level specifics ofdynamic/formal equivalence have been subject to considerable debate amongcontemporary scholars. Given the dominance of Nida's theories in Bible translation, it isnecessary to explore in depth the objections (and responses) that have been levelled againstboth equivalence in general and Nida's views in particular.Chapter 3: Functionalism and Bible TranslationThe major part of Chapter 3 is a detailed presentation of functionalism, with particularreference to i

Bible Translation Theory: History This thesis begins with an essential history of Bible translation theory, and it is important to highlight this discussion as (1) an essential history (it is selective not exhaustive) and (2) a history of translation theory (rather than practice). Any survey of the history of translation is

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