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domingo, 30 de septiembre de 2012

Eugène Albert Nida


Hoy quiero compartir con ustedes algunos artículos que encontré al buscar información sobre el padre de la "equivalencia dinámica o funcional", Eugène Albert Nida y, comienzo con una cita de Gredos,  encontrada en "LA TRADUCCIÓN DE LA VARIACIÓN LINGÜÍSTICA" de Roberto Mayoral Asensio, Universidad de Granada:
Dice el autor (1981 [1973]: 306-7) [las citas son de la traducción española de José Ma Azáceta, García de Albéniz y el mismo autor, Gredos, 1981]:
Una lengua histórica no es nunca un solo sistema lingüístico, sino un diasistema, un conjunto más o menos complejo de «dialectos», «niveles» y estilos de lengua. (...) Normalmente, cada uno de estos sistemas es (más o menos) homogéneo desde un sólo punto de vista: en cada dialecto pueden comprobarse diferencias diastráticas y diafásicas (y, por tanto, niveles y estilos de lengua); en cada nivel, diferencias diatópicas y diafásicas (dialectos y estilos) y en cada estilo, diferencias diatópicas y diastráticas (dialectos y niveles). Además, los límites entre los niveles y los estilos de lengua pueden ser diversos en los distintos dialectos; y los límites entre los estilos, diversos en los distintos niveles. 


El País
NECROLÓGICA:'IN MEMORIAM'
Eugene Nida, traductor y lingüista
La traducción ha oscilado siempre entre la literalidad y la interpretación ad sensum, según su sentido. Los textos religiosos casi siempre se han traducido ad uerbum, pues, por definición, la llamada palabra de Dios no puede someterse a interpretación. Tyndale, Dolet, Encinas y muchos otros pagaron con la vida la osadía de traducir los textos bíblicos de manera que se entendieran.
Desde mediados del siglo XX se ha venido produciendo una verdadera revolución, pues no solo no se quema a nadie por traducir la Biblia, sino tampoco por hacerlo de modo que el vulgo pueda entender su discurso (si no sus arcanos). Cientos y hasta miles de millones de habitantes del planeta pueden leer hoy ese libro en su lengua de cada día, aunque ignoren que es gracias al empeño de un hombre del que seguramente nunca han oído hablar: Eugene Nida (Oklahoma, EE UU, 1914), fallecido el 25 de agosto.
Formado en Clásicas, Teología y Lingüística y ordenado sacerdote baptista, pronto se preguntó por qué si el Nuevo Testamento se escribió en koiné, la lengua común griega, su versión en las lenguas contemporáneas se envolvía en un lenguaje rancio, huero y a menudo ininteligible.
A cargo de las traducciones de la Bible Society of America, durante medio siglo formó a traductores nativos de casi doscientas lenguas, sobre todo del Tercer Mundo, para ofrecer traducciones adaptadas a sus culturas.
Entrelazando disciplinas (lingüística, sociosemiótica, antropología, lexicología, teoría de la comunicación), Nida establece el principio de la "equivalencia dinámica (o funcional)", es decir, el equilibrio entre la comprensión del contexto del original y su correlato en la lengua traducida, teniendo siempre en cuenta los parámetros culturales del lector.
Según este principio, la traducción correcta en algunas lenguas africanas de "Ama al Señor con todo tu corazón" sería "Ama al Señor con todo tu hígado", ya que sus hablantes sitúan en este órgano la sede de los sentimientos. Para algunos fundamentalistas esto es anatema y a veces se ha tachado a Nida hasta de hereje.
La pujanza de las teorías de Nida y su intensa labor de campo no solo beneficiaron a lenguas indígenas o minoritarias, algunas de las cuales se alfabetizaron o pudieron forjar ciertas identidades (como el fenómeno de la teología de la liberación), sino que marcaron también la traducción de la Good News Bible (1976), realizada en inglés para lectores no nativos, que ha superado los 200 millones de ejemplares.
Propició la edición de los textos hebreo y griego de ambos Testamentos (publicados por las Sociedades Bíblicas Unidas), inigualables por sus exhaustivas exégesis e imprescindibles hoy para cualquier traductor de la Biblia. Como lo es el diccionario bíblico semántico que diseñó con el mismo fin.
Durante medio siglo visitó 80 países, impartiendo conferencias y seminarios, escribió 40 libros (entre ellos obras señeras como Towards a Science of Translating y, con Taber, The Theory and Practice of Translation) y numerosos artículos, siempre en un estilo claro, simple y conciso. Fundó dos revistas, Practical Anthropology y The Bible Translator, y su labor continúa en el instituto que lleva su nombre en la Bible Society.
Pronto se vio que la idea nidiana de traducción era aplicable a cualquier tipo de textos y se le adaptó de mil maneras. Pero por encima de todo el maremágnum de teorías de la traducción destaca inconfundible y clara la suya.
Este gran teórico escribía: "A los mejores traductores les sobran todas las teorías". Para él la traducción no era teoría, sino oficio, artesanía. Solía contar que, cuando su equipo estaba traduciendo la Biblia en Japón, le preguntaron: "¿Y si ahora se entiende, qué harán los predicadores?".
Se va un gran pensador de la traducción, pero también un hombre generosísimo, bondadoso, sencillo, cortés, que cultivaba rosas en su jardín y amistades por donde iba. Hablaba español, que aprendió en México, y otra media docena de lenguas. Murió con 96 años en su casa de Madrid, horas antes de recibir las pruebas de su último libro.
Pollux Hernúñez es traductor.


The Telegraph
 01 Sept 2011
The Reverend Eugene Nida

Linguist who translated the Bible into hundreds of tongues, taking its message from the ice cap to the desert.

He believed that translators could arrive at the most accurate meaning of a particular Greek word by first examining all other uses of that word in Scripture and then determining which meaning fits best in a specific verse. His (along with J.P. Louw) Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains applies this theory, and is considered a standard lexicon for New Testament word studies.
His might not be a household name, but Nida’s work and ideas had a lasting influence on many of the Bibles on our bookshelves. He helped translate the Bible into more than 200 languages, enabling the world's most popular book to be understood by remote populations from the icy wastes of the Arctic Circle to the deserts of Africa.

Key to his work was the concept of "functional equivalence". Instead of using literal translations, his idea was to incorporate native culture and idiom into the Bible story. Using this system, translators could rearrange sentences in the Bible to convey more clearly its meaning and intention in any given language.
Nida travelled far and wide, visiting more than 85 countries to recruit native speakers to help with translations. His longest project, begun in 1978, was to translate the Bible into Inuktitut, the tongue spoken by the Inuit people who live in the Arctic; it took 24 years to complete.
This was because the Bible story is set among palm trees, olive groves and sandy deserts and features donkeys, cattle and goats, none of which makes sense to the Inuit, who live amid vast expanses of snow and are more familiar with seals and walruses. As Nida explained: "You can't translate without cultural context."
He also helped write the Good News Bible, applying his system to break down large words into smaller, clearer ideas. So, for example, the word "multitude" became "crowd," "covetous" became "greedy", and "take heed" became "watch out".
Though such changes rankled with believers who revel in the beauty and rolling cadences of the King James Version, Nida was unfazed. To him, the key to the Bible was not poetry, but comprehension. The sole aim, he insisted, should be "to read it, to understand it and be transformed by its message. Meaning is found not in dictionaries, grammars and encyclopedias, nor in texts nor even in contexts, but in our heads."

Eugene Albert Nida was born on November 11 1914 in Oklahoma City, where his father was a chiropractor. When he was five, the family moved to California, and while studying Latin in high school Eugene was already anticipating being able to translate Scripture as a missionary.
He duly graduated in Greek and Latin at the University of California at Los Angeles, and in 1939 received a Master's degree in New Testament Greek from the University of Southern California.
In 1943 he was ordained as a Baptist minister and in the same year earned a doctorate in Linguistics from the University of Michigan. He also joined the American Bible Society, becoming head of its translation programme three years later.
Though Nida was a prolific linguist, fluent in at least eight languages, he needed a system to understand the languages of many peoples around the world. His technique was to point to something on the ground and ask locals what they called it. This way, he explained, the word was not a literal translation but a reflection of their culture.
He would then compile a vocabulary and incorporate his understanding of the language and culture into his translations. But he was not vain about his efforts. "There is no such thing as a definitive translation, since there are constant advances in Biblical scholarship as well as changes in all living languages," Nida once said. "No major translation should last more than 50 years."
He retired from the American Bible Society in the early 1990s, but remained busy, conferring with translators around the world. He wrote more than 40 books on languages, translations and Bible scholarship.
Although the Bible's origins date back more than 2,000 years, Nida believed that the book had an enduring relevance. "People are discovering that the Bible has a significant message for the present day," he said. "While this is an age of technology, urbanisation and change, the world hasn't invented a new sin in 2,000 years."
Eugene Nida, who died on August 25, 2011,was predeceased in 1993 by his wife of 49 years, Althea Sprague. He is survived by his second wife, Elena Fernandez-Miranda of Brussels, a translator and interpreter, whom he married in 1997.



The New York Times
Published: September 3, 2011

The Rev. Eugene A. Nida, a linguist and Baptist minister who spurred a Babel of Bibles, recruiting and training native speakers to translate Scripture into a host of languages around the world, died on Aug. 25 at his home in Madrid. He was 96.
The American Bible Society, his longtime employer, announced the death. Mr. Nida, who also had a home in Brussels, had lived in Europe in retirement.
Widely considered the father of modern Bible translation, Mr. Nida (pronounced NYE-duh) was for four decades the head of the Bible society’s translation program. He was known in particular for developing an approach to translation — and a method of training translators — that has influenced translators of religious and secular literature.
What defined Mr. Nida’s work was his insistence that Bible translations be accessible to the people for whom they were intended. After joining the Bible society in 1943, he visited scores of countries, where he recruited native speakers and trained them as translators.
Previously, most Bible translations had been done by Western missionaries, who rarely had great familiarity with the local language. Not surprisingly, the word-for-word translations that resulted were often stiff, unpalatable and largely inaccessible.
“The genius of Nida was that he also developed a pedagogical approach,” Philip C. Stine, the author of a biography, “Let the Words Be Written: The Lasting Influence of Eugene A. Nida,” said in a telephone interview on Friday. “You could take people with very unsophisticated linguistic backgrounds and actually train them, using Nida’s methods.”
Drawing on linguistics, anthropology and communication science, Mr. Nida devised an approach to translation known as “dynamic equivalence.” (It was later called “functional equivalence.”)
Dynamic equivalence was intended to produce translations that read naturally, were rooted in the local idiom and yet retained fealty to the original Scripture. The approach, which took as its starting point Hebrew and Greek biblical texts, centered, quite literally, on the art of faithful adaptation.
Traversing the globe by plane, train and canoe, Mr. Nida set in motion the painstaking process of translating Scripture into more than 200 languages, among them Navajo; Tagalog and Ilocano, spoken in the Philippines; Quechua, an indigenous language of Peru; Hmong, spoken in Southeast Asia; and Inuktitut, an indigenous language of the Canadian Arctic.
Mr. Nida also played an active role in creating the Good News Bible, a colloquial English-language edition produced by the Bible society and published in two volumes — the New Testament in 1966, and the combined Old and New Testaments in 1976.
Sometimes criticized for its linguistic simplicity (“Behold the fowls of the air,” for instance, became “Look at the birds flying around”), the Good News Bible was originally intended for speakers of English as a second language. Embraced in unanticipated droves by native English speakers, it has sold millions of copies.
Eugene Albert Nida was born in Oklahoma City on Nov. 11, 1914. He earned a bachelor’s degree in classics from the University of California, Los Angeles, followed by a master’s from the University of Southern California in New Testament Greek. In 1943, he earned a doctorate in linguistics from the University of Michigan and was also ordained as a minister.
One of his first tasks at the Bible society, as he recounted in a memoir, “Fascinated by Languages” (2003), was evaluating a translation of the Gospel of Mark into Yipounou, a language of Gabon, in West Africa.
In linguistics, Mr. Nida did important early work in morphology, which studies the internal architecture of words.
Mr. Nida’s first wife, Althea Sprague, died before him. His survivors include his second wife, Elena Fernandez-Miranda, and stepchildren. Information on other survivors was not available.
Translated back into English, some of the Bible passages produced using Mr. Nida’s method yield a resonant poetry. As The New York Times reported in a 1955 article about his work, “ ‘I am sorrowful’ gets a variety of translations for tribes within a small area of central Africa: ‘My eye is black,’ ‘My heart is rotten,’ ‘My stomach is heavy’ or ‘My liver is sick.’ ”
American Bible Society. Nida Institute.



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