Saturday, January 28, 2017

Kind helpers on the Psalms translations

Title Page of Great Bible
Courtesy Wikipedia
A very kind priest friend has spoken to a number of her colleagues and 7 of them have kindly agreed to look at a number of my draft translations of psalms and comment on them. This is enormously encouraging and helpful.

For example one of the commentators has already come back with a significant improvement on my translation of Psalm 121 - which I was already pretty happy with.

My last lines ran
The LORD will guard you from all [that is] evil
[yes it is even He] who'll guard your soul.
The LORD will guard your leaving and returning
For now and evermore [while time is turning].
(The square brackets are around words that aren't in the Hebrew but are added to scan.)

But the correspondent pointed out that 
The LORD will guard you from all [that is] evil
wasn't quite right.

The temptation is to translate it as;
The LORD will guard you from all evil [things]
But the problem is that that the Hebrew is “the LORD will guard you from all evil” and I don’t really want to disambiguate with “from all evil things” because (I think) it means both that the LORD will guard you from evil things and that he will guard you from evil ways/actions.  Indeed the Hebrew goes:
The LORD ishmararh mikol rah
Ishmor et naphshe(r)ah
The LORD will guard you from all evilHe will guard {your life and soul/ the soul of you}

Sadly this rhythm and rhyme doesn't carry on the whole way or I'd have tried a different form.

But we can do
The LORD will [surely] guard you from all evil
which reads a lot better, partly because of the rs and ls, and partly because it scans better.

If you'd like to review 5-7 draft translations Psalms let me know and I'd be happy to send you a few of your favourites.

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