Fairly said. I would add that the only assessment of actual ability to translate that works as true assessment is a ‘blind’ translation of a non-biblical text that the student has never seen before. Then you know if they’re actually translating or just repeating from memory the scripture they know pretty well.
Asking New Testament students to provide a translation of a known (chapter/verse) NT text in an exam or exegetical paper is a waste of time. It tests nothing and it discriminates nothing.
Every student ought to be getting 90-100% on this part of an assessment anyway, because either:
- they are smart enough to check any translation they do with several English versions and realise their errors beforehand
- they are smart and a little unscrupulous and are just going to vary an existing English version anyway.
- if it’s an exam situation, and it’s a set text, then all we are testing is their preparation, not their ability to read Greek.
Why are we even asking them to do translations anyway? They are unlikely to create a translation that is genuinely better or meaningfully different from the hyper-abundance of English versions already in existence. And, assuming that this is a paper and…
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