Language Barrier

I’m doing surveys of the Minor Prophets for the Sunday school and this week is Micah. Here is the frustration, there is no way that I can see in Spanish to put 7:18 so that it has the slightest glimmer of the majesty of the words Samuel Davies used: Who is a pardoning God like thee?

Some things are like that. For example, the lines “Amazing love, how can it be, that thou my God shouldst die for me!” we cannot have in Spanish. It simply works out to less no matter how you arrange it. We have the whole hymn translated, but the chorus is a lesser thing than that climactic original.

So you have to do it differently, or just forego the effect entirely. What simply saying “Who is a pardoning God like thee?” would accomplish in English is not accomplished by saying “¿Qué Dios hay como tú, que perdona la iniquidad?”

And no, we don’t–to the best of my knowledge–even have Great God of Wonders in Spanish.


2 thoughts on “Language Barrier

  1. Well, part of it is that we don’t have the line with all the resonances of the known hymn, true. That is not everything going on when one speaks that line though.Part of it is that what those words in that order do is not possible in another language. That order of sounds and how the sounds contribute beyond the associated meanings is not going to be the same in any other system. There are things beyond difficult. There are things you can say in Spanish the which will never come out the same in English for that same reason. Give me the anglophone problems though.

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