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Translators as Storytellers

A Study in Septuagint Translation Technique


John A. Beck

In the third century B.C.E., translators began retelling the stories of the Hebrew Bible in Greek. The Septuagint was born but its analysis had just begun. To date, most Septuagint translation technique analysis has focused on the linguistic sensitivity of these translators, but there is more to storytelling than linguistics. Translators as Storytel lers addresses the literary sensitivity of the translators, thus, expanding the tradition of translation technique analysis to include the translator’s replication of characterization, time, the patterning play of words, and the artful use of geography.


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Chapter Five: Conclusion 197


~ CHAPTER FIVE Conclusion Not just anyone can write a great story. For great stories are more than mere words and grammar. Great stories are more than the reporting of events. Great stories are carefully crafted pieces of art that have a literary soul and life. They are produced by authors who carefully select content and manipulate form to maintain their reader's interest and to shape their reader's response. Narrative is art with a message. But what happens to that art and its message when it is translated into another language? What kind of storytellers are the translators? In this century, translation technique analysis of the Septuagint has focused almost exclusively on the linguistic decisions of the translators. By contrast, we have regarded the translators more as storytellers sharing a story than as linguists replicating linguistic phenomena. We share the view of Barnstone. "Writing is translation and translation is writing. Because literary translation is a work of literature, its existence and formation can be studied only within a theory of literature. " 1 Thus it becomes imperative that we measure translation technique not merely at the linguistic level but also at the literary level. "For language learning and the study of literature are two completely different things, and translation has be a part of the latter if it is to receive the breadth that is inherent to it. "2 We have experimented with three different models for measuring the translators as storytellers. We examined the contribution of a 198 Conclusion linguistic approach,...

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