God Didn't Say That

Bible Translations and Mistranslations

The Isaiah Translation Challenge is Here

In the fall I promised an “Isaiah translation challenge” — a collective approach to understanding and translating the exquisite poetry of Isaiah 54. I’m pleased to announce that it’s here.

My next post is a detailed analysis of the text of Isaiah 54:1, written with an eye toward guiding poets and translators. I hope you’ll post your translation attempts in the comments there. (To help people focus on the original text, the comments will not appear right away.)

If you have a blog of your own, I’ll be grateful if you help spread the word so we can reach as many translators and poets as possible.

I’m looking forward to seeing the various translations!


February 2, 2015 - Posted by | translation challenge | , , , ,


  1. […] is the first verse of the “Isaiah Translation Challenge.” Post your translations, questions, and thoughts as […]

    Pingback by The Isaiah Translation Challenge: Verse 1 « God Didn't Say That | February 2, 2015

  2. Great to have this in process – congratulations. I see an older post on the subject from 2011 on your site – one I must have missed. It raises excellent and perplexing questions concerning prepositions. These are the words that demand the most flexibility in the host language – they are a real challenge. Looking forward to this – thanks again for hosting.

    Comment by bobmacdonald | February 2, 2015

  3. I worry about the implied age of “woman.”

    Yes, the person being address is feminine.
    Yes, you don’t assume a girl is barren after only a few months of her having sex, but girl might get married quite young in those days. .

    Ideally, I’d try to cover both “girl” and “woman,” remembering that even a middle-aged woman still feels like a girl inside.

    How about something like–

    Rejoice, barren girl who has not given birth.
    Shout with joy and celebrate, woman who has not
    felt the pain of childbirth.
    The children of the desolate shall outnumber the children of the married.
    — says the Lord

    Comment by Lee Gold | February 2, 2015

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