Translating from English to Biblical Hebrew

Translating from English to Biblical Hebrew

Fundamentals of Translation

  • Familiarise yourself with the core vocabulary in Biblical Hebrew. Keep in mind that key terms often have deeper, culturally specific meanings.
  • Recognise the syntax and grammar that underlies Biblical Hebrew. This includes understanding various verb forms, noun forms, and the meaning of different word patterns.
  • Develop knowledge of the Scriptural culture and context, arming you with essential background information and a greater understanding of the figures of speech and idioms used.

Practise Translation Skills

  • Maintain accurate phrase translations rather than word-for-word literal translations. This helps to capture the intended meaning of words and phrases.
  • Appreciate the need for an idiomatic rendering. Understand that idioms often do not directly translate, as they are culturally bound expressions.
  • Be mindful of connotation and denotation. A word’s connotation is its commonly understood cultural or emotional association, while its denotation is its precise dictionary definition.

Working with English Texts

  • Consider the context before translating. It is crucial for grasifying the meaning behind the text. The context could be a single verse, a passage, or the entire body of Scripture.
  • Pay attention to English syntax and idiom, ensuring that the translation reads naturally in English. Adjust the structure when necessary to convey the intended meaning.
  • Be alert to semantic equivalence, the pursuit of equivalent meaning in the target language. This aims to make the message of the source text understandable to the target audience in a culturally appropriate way.

Retaining Original Elements

  • Strive to maintain linguistic structure where possible, as long as it does not hinder the understanding of the text.
  • Preserve literary devices of the original text when possible. This could include parallelism, chiasmus, allegories, metaphors, and other poetic forms.
  • Respect the distinct rhythmic and stylistic elements of the Biblical Hebrew text. These aspects contribute to the text’s unique literary beauty.

Reviewing Translations

  • Regularly review and revise your translations. This ongoing process will increase your understanding of Biblical Hebrew.
  • Seek critical feedback from those with more expertise or different perspectives. Constructive criticism can improve translation skills.
  • Finally, compare your translations with established Bible translations. This exercise will not only confirm your work but also reveal any discrepancies to be addressed.