"Traduire sans trahir": The theory of translation applied to biblical texts
Lurdes Auzmendi


As Georges Mounin says, this book, written by J.C. Margot, has a great linguistic and pedagogical value. Based upon the problems arised by the translation of biblical texts, it represents a model for the analysis of the difficulties which translation will have to face, both in space and time.

The book considers that the question whether or not it is possible to translate has already been answered; therefore, it pretends to answer another one how to translate.

The Bible is translated into 1800 languages. There are nowadays hundreds of translators still working at it, translating the Bible into new languages or correcting the already existing translations. There is always something new to study or to reconsider, for one reason or another, as for exemple the fact that our linguistic and cultural knowledge keeps growing all the time.

As a matter of fact, in the XXth century the number of translations has greatly increased and the theoreticians are now using new elements for the theory and criticism of translation.

It is known today that to be able to translate, apart from the understanding of a language it is necessary to be acquanted with its cultural, historical, geografical and intellectual background; this is particularly important for the sacred texts. Therefore, the translator will have to work within a team, searching for assistance from other fields, mainly concerning the contribution of theoretical and applied linguistics.

Thus, speaking of the relationship between linguistics and translation, the author points out: there is never a literal equivalence between two languages: single words cannot he translated as it is within a context where they get their sense. From this point of view, the translator ought to translate the whole message, that is, not only the lexical meaning of an expression, but its whole sense. That is why differents subjects will come to help the translator:

The theory of communication, which underlines the importance of redundancy, not as mere repetition hut as something that assures the understanding of the message.

The psycholinguistics, which will help him to understand the connotations defining different styles, as for instance those that can be found in the Bible.

Finally the author deals with the paraphrases giving them a special consideration. He distinguishes two different types of paraphrases: legitimate and not legitimate ones. The former mean the different ways of expressing an idea which one given language possesses; the latter is an explanatory development of a text, which could result in a long and obscure text.

Most of the biblical translators do not accept paraphrases. In the Bible where there is a continuous risk of having recourse to paraphrase it can be avoided by using what it is called dynamic equivalence.

The hook has a second part dealing with the application of the theory; specific cases are analysed based upon the translation of the bible into English French and German. But in this article only the first part has been developped.