The Paroikos Bible Blog exists as a resource to those interested in Biblical studies and Koine Greek. It is hoped that this blog will simultaneously provide food-for-thought to the reader while pointing him or her in the direction of valuable resources, both in print and on the internet, that will further help his or her studies in the Word.

Jul 9, 2019

Translating from Hebrew into Japanese: Challenges and Issues

Last spring my father and I had the privilege of teaching "Translation Issues in Greek and Hebrew." In preparation for that class, I translated Genesis 15, two Psalms, and the whole book of Obadiah from Hebrew into Japanese. There's a whale of a difference between translating from Hebrew into one's native tongue (English, in my case) and translating from Hebrew into a language that is not one's native tongue!

I have posted those files on Academia.edu (click here and scroll down to "teaching documents"), not because this is meant to become an "authoritative" translation or replace or correct the Shinkai-yaku (which is currently the best complete Bible out there in Japanese, in my humble-but-correct opinion), but rather to give you, dear reader, a glimpse into the challenges and issues that face a translator going from Hebrew into a language other than his or her native tongue. The notes include discussions on the Hebrew as well as Japanese. 

My father (far more the expert on Japanese than I am) graciously reviewed my translation and offered critique as needed (his comments are in a different font).

As a side-note, although the Shinkai-yaku is currently the best complete translation in Japanese (imo), my father has completed the rough draft of a New Testament, the "Lifeline Bible", which will be able to be freely distributed without cost. (Note that it will be the first New Testament in Japanese not based on the critical text in almost 100 years, specifically, since the 1935 Nagai-yaku, which was written in classical Japanese and thus not the easiest version to read!). There is a plan to distribute the John-and-Romans of the Lifeline Bible during the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Any questions on the Lifeline Bible can be e-mailed to phimes@gmail.com, and I will forward them on to my father.