Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cipriano de Valera: A Spanish Reformer, Part 4

This is the fourth post in a series. Access prior posts below:

A Forgotten Reformer (sbcIMPACT!) published September 23, 2011

The remainder of my series on Valera will focus on the 1602 Reina-Valera Bible and draws from the short biography[1] I found on GoogleBooks.

When seventy years of age, Valera edited in 1602 the whole Spanish Bible. … Reina was the first to publish the whole Bible in Spanish. His edition of 1569 was repeatedly re-read by Valera, who besides enriching it with fresh annotations, occasionally varied the text after consultation with learned and pious men. This process of revision extended over a period of twenty years before Valera committed the work to the press. … When he calls his Bible a second edition, he wishes thereby to state that the translation is on the whole the same in both editions, the second being a revision of the first. (154).
As I’ve stated before, Valera stood on the shoulders of giants. He was, however, somewhat of a contemporary of these giants. Reina did the real leg work of producing a Spanish translation of the Scriptures, but it was Valera who took it in, processed it, and edited it into the translation that would become the standard Spanish text.

Whereas the King James Version of the English Bible has largely seen its heyday as the English translation, being surpassed in sales volume by the NIV, the derivatives of the 1602 Reina-Valera Bible still exercise a strong majority control over the Spanish-speaking world over the more modern translations (such as the NIV and NASB Spanish equivalents).

One thing that stands out is that Valera was not 100% satisfied with Reina’s work. Through “consultation with learned and pious men” he made corrections and improvements to the Spanish translation of the Bible. The 1602 Reina-Valera version came out just before his death. There is nothing indicating he thought his revision was the end-all be-all. People make mistakes. Translations can be improved.

What I like best is that even with the changes, updates, and revisions, Valera still gave credit where credit was due, recognizing the work of Reina before him. No Spanish Bible translation can exist without first paying respects to Reina and Valera. To fail to continue their work, through textual criticism, updated and revised translations, and brand new translations, would be to disrespect and disregard their work to provide an accurate and accessible translation of the Bible in the language of the people.

[1] Boehmer, Edward & Benjamin B. Wiffen. (1904). Bibliotheca Wiffeniana: Spanish Reformers of Two Centuries from 1520. Karl J. Trübner: Strassburg. Google Books. Digitized May 15, 2008.

1 comment:

gail said...

Great post.This is how translation should work.We all have editing,proofreading and updates and revisions but never forget to acknowledge people who first provide the translation.This is how professional translation company should practiced in their day to day task.At the end of it all we could come up a quality translation without disregarding people who provides an existing translation work.Thanks for sharing.