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From:  Charles Butler
Date:  Thu Jun 8, 2000  5:18 am
Subject:  Re: Hello

Comments on ASL translation of the Ten Commandments.

I, the LORD your God, brought you from the land of Egypt, from the house of

is reduced in the ASL to: "I, the Lord your God, freed you from slavery."

The translation into ASL follows the English, but the word LORD is
deliberately in upper case in the KJV original translation from Hebrew to
show that the meaning is not "Lord" as an English term of honor, but "the
Eternal (YHWH)", in the original language. The name of God in Hebrew is
holy, and not to be profaned by pronunciation, but to sign it "Lord" is

Hebrew also has couplets that are close in meaning, but not the same.

"I brought you from slavery" is not a translation, but a reduction of two
separate phrases.

I, the Eternal your God, brought you from the land of Egypt (a specific
place), from the house of bondage (a particular kind of imprisonment). It
was a particular country, a particular history, and a specific time of
slavery. It is the centerpiece of Jewish history, and shouldn't be reduced
to "I freed you from slavery".

I am reminded of a church interpreter who was translating a sermon by a
missionary to China, who when the missionary said "Mao Tse Tung" insisted on
signing "the Chinese man" not fingerspelling out the name Mao and giving the
Deaf who were watching them the benefit and assumption that they were aware
of both U.S. and Chinese history--and the Deaf protested as such after the
sermon was over.

Though I am encouraged by the first effort to translate the Ten Commandments
of the Hebrew Bible into English, I sincerely hope that this is a first
draft, and not considered the final copy in published form.

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