When Notes Start to Speak: An Investigation of Footnotes and Interlinear Notes in Contemporary Chinese Bible Versions

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Abstract

This article investigates an often-neglected element in Bible translations, namely footnotes and interlinear notes. The notes in Mark from five contemporary Chinese versions are examined through an analytical framework based on Skopostheorie. These notes serve as test cases to illustrate how different versions deal with difficult translational and text-critical issues. In particular the example of the shorter and longer endings of Mark shows the tension between present-day New Testament textual criticism and the conservative mentality of Chinese churches. On the basis of six selected examples, this article concludes that notes should not merely be seen as trivial information but, on the contrary, they can offer a fresh look at the contexts of Bible versions, their skopoi, and their translation decisions. Therefore, in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of Bible versions, investigation of paratextual elements should receive more attention than it presently does.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-78
JournalThe Bible Translator
Volume69
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Article first published online: April 12, 2018

Keywords

  • Bible translation
  • Chinese Bible versions
  • Chinese Union Version
  • paratext
  • Skopostheorie
  • textual criticism
  • Gospel of Mark

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