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National Identity in Translation

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Edited By Lucyna Harmon and Dorota Osuchowska

Language as an essential and constitutive part of national identity is what obviously gets lost in translation, being substituted by the language of another nation. For this reason, one could perceive national identity and translation as contradictory and proclaim a total untranslatability of the former. However, such a simplified conclusion would clearly deny the actual translation practice, where countless successful attempts to preserve the element of national identity can be testified. The authors of the book focus on the possibilities of various approaches to national identity as a research subject within Translation Studies. The authors hope that the variety of topics presented in this book will inspire further research.

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Ideological Plane of Bible Translations

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Abstract: The article sets out to explore divergences in interpretations of the Bible at the early stage of its shaping and in later national translations. The author proceeds from the premise that the discrepancy between Masoretic texts and Septuagint, and between national translations correspondingly result from ideological factors of patronage and refraction. Some key Messianic verses in Septuagint and Masoretic texts may differ to such a degree that it provoked theological disputes and even heresies. Yet not infrequently do the translators’ tendency to follow a Masoretic text lead to toning down Messianic implications. Ideological deviations for socio-political reasons may openly digress from the original to satisfy the requirements of the elite. More widespread, however, are theological deviations introduced to support dogmas of a Christian denomination or religious group.

Keywords: ideological divergences, patronage, refraction, Byzantine tradition of Bible translations, Masoretic tradition of Bible translations

Within the sociocultural translation studies paradigm translation is viewed as “cultural political practice, constructing or critiquing ideology-stamped identities for foreign cultures, affirming or transgressing discursive values and institutional limits in the target-language culture” (Venuti 1995:19). One may logically dispute the applicability of this power-related approach to the translation of the Holy Scripture which is the unique and absolutely true spiritual message. Yet the history of Bible translations evidences of the inescapable interference of ideological factors, or, according to Lefevere’s term (1992:13), positive or negative patronage.

Ideological foundations of Bible translations have been aptly conceived of by the...

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