I’ve added a new forum under the [Discussions] tab titled “Verse Translations” – click here to go there now1)You’ll need to be a registered member of this website to comment, but otherwise you are free to read and download articles. This forum provides a mechanism to share your translations of various verses of the Hebrew Bible. If you wish to share one of your translations, please try to follow these guidelines (not hard and fast). They are designed to enhance your translation and reading skills. This is the format that I use for all of my formal translations.
- Type the verse in Hebrew using the Unicorn Editor (available here). If you do not have a Hebrew Bible you can copy any verse from a free Hebrew source here.
(HINT: Do not use any of the many free English-Hebrew interlinear Bibles. You should not be looking at the English text until step #3 below)
This a very, very important step. When typing (or handwriting) the actual Hebrew it forces me to focus carefully on the spelling of each word. This serves to slow me down and concentrate more intensely. Transcribing (whether typing or longhand) the words in Hebrew is one of the very best ways to learn how to recognize the words and the patterns they often form.
- When the verse is complete, I write a close approximation of how the verse is to be pronounced (HINT: I highly recommend that you listen to the verse spoken in Hebrew you’re translating here).
- Next, I translate each word in the verse as best I can. Any word I am not completely and 100% sure about, I look up in a Hebrew online lexicon such as can be found here. Finally, I highlight the word in red then say the word in Hebrew at least 20 times.
- At this point, I know the meanings of all the words in the verse. It’s now to perform three translations in the following order:
- A mechanical, word-for-word translation. Mechanical translations often make little or no sense.
- A literal translation. This is close to a mechanical translation, but the text is anglicized (e.g., put subjects before their verbs, add punctuation, and so forth). A literal translation makes a bit more sense, but is often ambiguous.
- A formal translation. This translation attempts to convey in English what you believe the original author meant to convey in Hebrew. I try to preserve, as much as possible, the form, literalness, and earthiness of the original text.
- Finally, I copy the translations from the NIV and the NET bibles for comparison.
As its first topic, I’ve added my translation of Genesis 15:1 so you might see first hand how this all works out.
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