Talking About Translation

The always-irenic Wayne Leman at Better Bibles Blog links to a back-and-forth on Bible translation theory that manages to generate more light than heat. Translation issues don't get much play here, where the focus is on design and binding, partly because I follow Augustine's advice that it's best to have a variety of translations and compare, and partly because I'd quickly exhaust my little fund of expertise. (If you really want to know my thoughts, I share them in a Radio Worldview podcast called "Bible Translations" which is linked under the Features headline at right.)One thing I wonder is how the conversation on translation would change if the focus were more on how to translate particular texts than on theory in the abstract. In aesthetics, I know it's possible to build elaborate theories that aren't really borne out in the work of the artists who espouse them, and it seems to me a similar phenomenon happens with translation. We could probably all think of particular renderings that set our teeth on edge -- but is it because of the theory behind the entire endeavor, or the choices made in translating a particular line?