The SFL analyses of Holy Scripts. Eugene A. Nida (1964) Toward a Science of Translating

Eugene A.  Nida (1964) Toward a Science of Translating: With Special Reference to Principles and Procedures Involved in Bible Translating





See also: Cay Dollerup Eugene A. Nida and Translation Studies  Dimitriu, Rodica and Miriam Shlesinger (eds). Translators and their Readers. In Homage to Eugene A. Nida. 2009.(Brussels: Les Édition du Hazsard), 81-93

This article discusses the nature of scholarship in the humanities in order to put into perspective Eugene Nida’s Toward a Science of Translation. It describes European linguistics, literature studies, and foreign-language teaching in the 19 th and 20 th centuries in broad and simplified outline. When Nida published his book in 1964, the European Union was being formed, and international trade and cooperation were about to increase enormously. This would call for new generations of translators with an academic training rather than merely a bilingual (childhood) background. The article points out Nida’s arguments concerning, e.g. the division into decoding and encoding, the time spans between actual translations of the Christian Bible, the identity of the source texts, and the relevance of directionalities in Bible translation to professional translation work. Rounding off with a view of the divergences and ‘sameness’ of source and target texts today, the article concludes that Nida’s book was published at a crucial epoch, when translation had become a profession for many people; that ‘equivalence’ is often useful in a classroom setting; that Nida’s work was pioneering in its stringency; and that it inspired fruitful debates, insights, and research, thus leading to the foundation of Translation Studies. Key words: Eugene Nida; scholarship in the humanities; directionality; synchrony; diachrony; equivalence; international organisations


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