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The Translation Legacy of Eugene Nida

Thomas Whitley

Eugene Nida is a name with which most of you are probably not familiar, but if you have read any translation produced in the last 50 years you have been affected by his genius and his work. Nida died today at the age of 96 in Brussels. Nida worked for the United Bible Societies, an organization which is made up of 146 national Bible societies in over 200 countries and territories, and was largely responsible for shaping the translation projects and programs of UBS. They offer a wonderful write up on him today.

Eugene Nida Dies: Using concepts from linguistics, cultural studies, communication sciences and psychology, Nida developed a practical approach to translation he called dynamic equivalence or functional equivalence, the goal of which was to make the translation clear and understandable as well as accurate. He also influenced the emerging field of modern translation studies and is generally acknowledged as having set in motion the developments that led to that discipline. Through his numerous books and publications and extraordinary lecture schedule, he was able to help scholars, translators and specialists in Christian missions find new ways to think about effective communication.

Though my write up does not do the work of Nida service, I recently talked about translation techniques, including dynamic equivalence.