St Jerome’s letter
emphasizes on using “Sense-for-sense” translation rather than “word-for-word”
translation. He justified his method of translating sense-for-sense by listing examples
of Cicero, Horace, Hilary the Confessor and other Classical authors, as well as
the Evangelists and the Seventy Translator when translating from the sacred
texts. Since the charges by the Clergy against St Jerome was considered a huge
offence back then, he mentioned these famous names in his letter. He also
explained the difficulties the translators face by mentioning that it is hard
for the translator to find the exact meaning, the equivalent rhetorical figures
and idioms of the original, in addition to the two languages which belong to
two different grammatical systems. On top of that, the meaning of a word had to
be explained by using few phrases in the other language, which would reduce the
beauty of the writing.

Here we
understand that translation depends on time, space and culture. St Jerome throws light on the fact that people were making
a fuss about the syllables and were not focusing on the idea of preserving the
meaning of the write-up, while translating. He wrote these lines to justify
himself and clear the charges imposed on him by the clergy.

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At this
juncture, St Jerome contradicts himself by supporting “word-for-word”
translation. This contradiction is an unintentionally revelation of Jerome’s
true stance in the strategy of Bible translation. We infer that Jerome
adopts a sense-for-sense strategy for Bible translation but to avoid being
in conflict with the churches,
which might charge him of heresy (mentioned in
para 9) for altering the sense of Bible, he makes a cautious yet
contradictory statement St Jerome’s letter emphasizes on
using “Sense-for-sense” translation rather than “word-for-word” translation. He
justified his method of translating sense-for-sense by listing examples of
Cicero, Horace, Hilary the Confessor and other Classical authors, as well as
the Evangelists and the Seventy Translator when translating from the sacred
texts. Since the charges by the Clergy against St Jerome was considered a huge
offence back then, he mentioned these famous names in his letter. He also
explained the difficulties the translators face by mentioning that it is hard
for the translator to find the exact meaning, the equivalent rhetorical figures
and idioms of the original, in addition to the two languages which belong to
two different grammatical systems. On top of that, the meaning of a word had to
be explained by using few phrases in the other language, which would reduce the
beauty of the writing.

Here we
understand that translation depends on time, space and culture. St Jerome throws light on the fact that people were making
a fuss about the syllables and were not focusing on the idea of preserving the
meaning of the write-up, while translating. He wrote these lines to justify
himself and clear the charges imposed on him by the clergy.

At this juncture, St Jerome contradicts himself by
supporting “word-for-word” translation. This
contradiction is an unintentionally revelation of Jerome’s true stance in
the strategy of Bible translation. We infer that Jerome adopts a
sense-for-sense strategy for Bible translation but to avoid being in
conflict with the churches,
which might charge him of heresy (mentioned in
para 9) for altering the sense of Bible, he makes a cautious yet
contradictory statement

In this
paragraph, he gave the examples of Plautus and Cæcilius and pointed out that
they followed “Sense-for-sense” translation rather than “word-for-word” and how
they wanted to keep the meaning intact. Moreover, St Jerome states one must
always try to preserve the essence of the write-up, while translating.  St. Jerome’s purpose by quoting from his
preface to Eusebius’ Chronicle was to point out that there are differences
between languages in vocabulary, grammatical and syntactical constructions,
idiom and style, which mean that word-for-word translation, would fail to be
equivalent to the original. At the same time, he wanted to tell his controversies
that from his adolescence he had always attempted to translate the sense not
words.

4

In considering a sentence from
Matthew with the Septuagint and Hebrew, St. Jerome found that the Evangelist
gave a different sense to both of them:

Behold a virgin, shall have in
her womb and bear a son and they shall call his name Emmanuel (in Matthew)

Behold a virgin shall receive in
her womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Emmanuel (in the
Septuagint)

Behold a virgin shall conceive
and bear a son, and she shall call his name Emmanuel (in the original Hebrew)

St. Jerome explained that shall
have, shall receive, and shall conceive were not the same meaning. Such is the
case with they shall call his name Emmanuel, you shall call his name Emmanuel,
and she shall call his name Emmanuel because it was the virgin herself who
would name him Emmanuel, not Ahaz nor the Jews.

5

In paragraph 11, St.
Jerome talked about the Septuagint. He explained that there were noticeable
omissions and additions in it to the degree that the Jews laughed at the Greek
version of a sentence in Isaiah like

They (Jews) also ridiculed at the phrase in Amos
following the description of luxurious living

For St. Jerome, this was
a very rhetorical sentence worthy of Cicero himself. But, the question was  :

 He explained
that the Christian indicated the omissions by marking them with an asterisk.
Moreover, these omissions were visible on comparing his translation Version
(Vulgate) and the original one. However, St Jerome made it clear that despite
the omissions and additions, the Septuagint ranked high in Christian churches
for two reasons

St. Jerome affirmed that
many phrases, though beautiful in Greek, if translated literally they would
sound awkward in Latin; and conversely, many phrases were pleasing in Latin,
but if the word order remains unaltered, it would sound conflicting in Greek and
would displeased them.