Translating Biblical Poetry as Poetry
Keywords:Bible translation, Biblical poetry, genre, meter, target language convention
After an introduction into translating biblical poetry as a new communication event in the target culture (and not as a documentation of a source culture event), an analysis is made of a Dutch poetic translation of Psalms 23 and 121 and a Frisian poetic translation of Psalm 23. Of the poetic features and means of expression in these translations, Dutch and Frisian patterns ofmeter are the most important. When a poetic translation of biblical poetry follows genre conventions of the target language and culture (rather than attempting but failing to reproduce the poetic features of the source text), such a translation is able to generate a new, direct communication event that reduces the distance between the hearer/receiver of the target culture and the text of the source culture. Such a translation engages the hearer more effectively in responding to the text, because the poetic features of the target language facilitate the expressive, appellative and phatic functions of the communication. This should be an encouragement to translators to render different types of biblical poetry into different genres and poetic patterns of the target language that will actually fit the subject matter of the text into the context of the target culture.
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