God Didn't Say That

Bible Translations and Mistranslations

Translation Challenge: Song of Solomon

In keeping with the spirit of spring, here’s another post on the Song of Solomon, this time addressing how hard it is to translate the romantic imagery there.

Here are two translation challenges:

Fragrant Oils

Verse 1:3 is supposed to express the physical beauty of the male hero of Song of Solomon, but translations like “your anointing oils are fragrant, your name is perfume poured out;” (NRSV) or “Your name spoken is a spreading perfume — that is why the maidens love you” (NAB) seem neither particularly poetic nor to mirror the Hebrew.
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March 25, 2010 Posted by | translation challenge, translation practice | , , , , | 17 Comments