The students “translated” a passage from Josephus into contemporary language. I used the Whiston translation which is awkward and stilted to the modern ear.  I further handicapped three groups by limiting how they could write. Group 1 could not use any form of “to be” verb. Group 2 could not use any adverbs. Group 3 could not write sentences longer than 7 words. At the end, someone from their group emailed their paragraphs to me.

The exercise seemed to work well. They seemed to understand the frustrations of translation. The first two groups tended toward more formal correspondence translation. The final group, however, pushed toward more dynamic equivalence translation (bordering on the Dr. Seuss).

Robert Wallace

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