Original Research

Attempting a first translation of the Septuagint psalms into Afrikaans: problems and challenges

Gert J. Steyn
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 41, No 3 | a315 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v41i3.315 | © 2007 Gert J. Steyn | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 July 2007 | Published: 27 July 2007

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Gert J. Steyn, Department of New Testament Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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A translation project was started during October 2004 with a small number of senior students in order to translate the Sep- tuagint (LXX) psalms into Afrikaans for the first time. The importance of the LXX for Christianity cannot be overestimated and this is an attempt to make people aware of this important first translation of the Jewish Scriptures on the African con- tinent, to give people access to it in a translation in their mother tongue, and to contribute to the importance of the psalms as a collection of hymns and prayers that is of value for the liturgy and the ministry of the church. However, a number of significant problems were encountered, among them the fact that (a) no satisfactory Greek critical text edition of the LXX psalms exists currently; (b) the LXX is already a translation from the Hebrew; (c) words have different connotations and meanings in the receptor language (Afrikaans) for different members in the group; (d) being poetic language, to what extent would a literal or a dynamic translation be more appropriate?; (e) given the pace of translation and the extent of the project, it will take quite a number of years to complete; and (f) existing dictionaries and grammars are mainly focused on the New Testament – not on the LXX. These problems are discussed by means of practical examples encountered in Psalms 1-3.


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