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Journal of Translation 7(1)

Dynamic Equivalence and Its Daughters: Placing Bible Translation Theories in Their Historical Context

Author  Kerr, Glenn J.
Abstract  The Bible translation theory called “dynamic equivalence” from the middle of the twentieth century was more than what may be called the first definable theory of Bible translation. Indirectly or directly, it spawned or related to seven other specific theories: meaning-based translation, cultural equivalence or transculturation, complete equivalence, optimal equivalence, closest natural equivalence, functional equivalence, and skopostheorie. Even the term formal equivalence originated during this time. Later in the same period, the code model of communication on which dynamic equivalence was based was challenged by the inference model of relevance theory. All this theoretical writing and postulating has been paralleled by or related to developments in the world of general translation theory and science. Oftentimes these theories have been studied in isolation; this paper, in contrast, examines those theories in their historical context, analyzing their core ideas and how they relate to each other. Concurrently we focus on who the originators of the theories are, and what Bible translation organizations have used them. The study concludes with a practical discussion of what knowing and using these theories might mean in the real world context of Bible translating.
  Dynamic Equivalence and Its Daughters: Placing Bible Translation Theories in Their Historical Context
Published  2011
Subject  Translation
Keywords  dynamic equivalence; functional equivalence; optimal equivalence; closest natural equivalence; skopostheorie; Nida; relevance theory; frames of reference; translation studies; cultural turn