Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Comparative Analysis of Formal Shifts: A Proposal for Inter- and Intra-lingual Study of Translations and Translational Tendencies

The present article outlines a methodology for comparing and contrasting translations, applied specifically to the translations of the Christian Scriptures. The comparison begins with a vertical display of the words from representative portions of the original text, followed by a horizontal placement of corresponding words or phrases from the translations proposed for study. This procedure allows for the isolation and tabulation of objective, formal shifts in translation—such as additions to, deletions from, and modifications of the original text—thus facilitating a specific analysis of differences or similarities as well as a description of tendencies within specific translations and among historic groupings of translations, opening up the possibility for an objective comparison of translations from different historical periods or even in different languages. While this type of descriptive analysis cannot provide a judgment of "correctness" or even adequacy in translation, it can, nonetheless, objectively isolate historic tendencies in translation through statistically relevant data, which may or may not follow developments within the broader field of linguistics, and even suggest possible strategies for dealing with literary and rhetorical devices both in sacred as well as secular texts.

Abstract for "The Sacred Texts Translation Conference" in Marrakech - Morocco

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


This blog is designed to facilitate communication about my professional work in the field of translation.

David B. Bell, PhD
Universidad de Alicante

Friday, February 8, 2008

Theoretical Maturation

This is the title of a lecture I delivered at a conference in England in February of 2008. I have included here several links to the paper and the presentation.

Translation Theory

Maturation Theory

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Dissertation Defense

This is the presentation of my dissertation when I defended it in May of 2005. Of course it is in Spanish since I defened it at the University of Alicante.


Saturday, May 21, 2005


In May of 2005 I successfully defended my dissertation on Bible translation thus earning a doctorate in translation theory with a specific focus on Bible Translation. The title of my dissertation, under the direction of Dr. Javier Franco Aixela, is "A Comparative Analysis of English Bible Translations with a View Towards Defining and Describing Paradigms."

The links below provide access to all of the material in my dissertation.

David B. Bell, PhD

Spanish summary

Final Text


Sunday, May 1, 2005

Dissertation Abstract

A Comparative Analysis of Formal Shifts in English Bible Translations with a View Towards Defining and Describing Paradigms

If, as might seem evident to any reader who is familiar with the literature, there truly does exist a real difference between the traditional translations of the Bible, commonly labeled as formal equivalence, and the modern translations of the Bible, commonly known as functional equivalence, then there should be some objective way to study these two families of translations and verify that there truly is a distinction, as well as describe and definie those prctices which differentiate the two. This study creates a vertical arrangement of ten different major English translations, comparing their formal features with those of the original Hebrew and Greek texts. The data of this comparison are then represented through numerical scores and then analyzed in further detail. The reults of this comparative analysis yield facts which can lead to broad conclusions concerning the treatment of the form of the original in traditional and modern English translations of the Bible.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003


I spoke on this topic for GBU in 2003. Unfortunately the file is in Powerpoint 4.0. I am working on getting it converted.