Laugh in translation

I laughed out loud to discover that the verse in the New Living Translation (NLT) which reads:

You guided my conception
and formed me in the womb
.” (Job 10:10)…

… reads as follows in more literal translations:

Did you not pour me out like milk
and curdle me like cheese
?” (NIV)

Hilarious! 🙂

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** For those who are tempted to think that this is just another example of why the Bible is confusing and ridiculous, here’s a quick precis to explain a bit about the Bible translation process and how such apparent anomalies can exist 🙂

The Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek (with a teensy bit of Aramaic). We have a variety of translations in English. They are all pretty good, but the differences between them are marked. This is due to choices one has to make in translation. When translating anything from one language to another, you often must decide whether you’re going to translate the literal meaning or the word, or translate the implied meaning of the word. So as an example: if you were translating the sentence “I’m feeling blue” from English to another language – you could either opt for literally translating the word “blue” as a colour, or you could choose the word “sad” to convey the meaning of the English expression.

Literal” translations, such as the NASB and ESV, choose to translate the idiom word for word, if possible, and rely on our learning of Hebrew and Greek thought to interpret the meaning. Others, like the NLT, choose try to interpret the meaning of the idiom as faithfully as possible into English. The NIV is considered to be a bit of a “middle-road” translation between the two approaches. I wouldn’t have known it, but apparently “milk-pouring” and “cheese curdling” are Semitic idioms referring to procreation!

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