The translation problem (Sir 0:15-0:26)

“You are invited therefore

To read it

With good will.

You are invited

To read it

With attention.

Be indulgent in cases where,

Despite out diligent labor in translating,

We may seem to have rendered some phrases imperfectly.

What was originally expressed in Hebrew

Does not have exactly the same sense

When translated into another language.

Not only this work,

But even the Law itself,

The Prophecies,

And the rest of the books

Differs not a little

When read in the original.”

This author hits at a big problem that has plagued biblical scholarship since the early years. How do you insure that you have a good translation? He poses this question as many of the Jewish people in the Diaspora may not have been able to read Hebrew, let alone read at all. In fact, he states that the Greek translation, the Septuagint, of the Law, the Prophets, and the rest of the books may differ from the original Hebrew text. He apologizes at the beginning. He said that it was hard to take a Hebrew expression and put into another language with the same sense. Sometimes it will differ from the original text. Thus we see this 2,000 year old problem of translation.

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