Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I translate some spiritual texts and this word revelation is very tricky to translate to another language that really does not have a similar word. For example: "God has sent a new revelation to the world." What could be good synonyms for it in a general (non-Christian) spiritual context, where I am coming from. The original text is in American English.

Possible translations:

  1. New message
  2. New information
  3. Insight

What else?

Dictionaries mainly refer to Bible and book of Revelations, but that is just confusing, because this text is not about Bible and should not be confused with it.

share|improve this question
3  
No word has a single synonym that is an appropriate direct replacement in every instance. The appropriate synonym will depend on context. In any event, if you pick a synonym and then translate that directly into another language, there is even more scope for incorrect or inappropriate translation as a result of 'double translation' (relevation > synonym > foreign). It is the job of the translator to know the language into which he is translating sufficiently well to pick the appropriate foreign word. I suggest you ask an English speaker who is a native speaker of the other language. –  TrevorD Jul 10 '13 at 11:43
3  
From what I understand, revelations are often prophetic in nature. Might that be a jumping-off point? –  user22138 Jul 10 '13 at 12:31
2  
To reveal basically means to uncover, for example, "The architect revealed his plans for the building". The basic idea of the word is your second option, "New information". What language are you translating into? –  terdon Jul 10 '13 at 13:19
1  
What you are asking for is an English synonym which would work in place of "revelation" in a specific context. The context is apparently some sacred or spiritual text other than the Bible. It is impossible for us to guess at the context. Please provide at least one, and ideally several, examples of the word "revelation" in the English texts that you plan to translate, with plenty of lead-up text so we can understand the context. –  MετάEd Jul 10 '13 at 22:20
add comment

closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, tchrist, Kristina Lopez, p.s.w.g, MετάEd Jul 10 '13 at 22:20

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. A list of these references can be found here: List of general references" – FumbleFingers, tchrist, Kristina Lopez, p.s.w.g
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2 Answers

The notion of revelation is informed by the concept of mystery and hidden or secret knowledge. A new revelation, therefore, involves the revealing or exposing of what was once secret but has now been made public in the world, even if to only a "chosen few."

That that revelation involves the Deity makes sense, since the Deity, by definition, possesses all knowledge and has the freedom to dispense that knowledge to those who need it and desire it.

Your suggested translations are therefore quite apt. I would simply add to them the notion of mystery. That mystery is made known, or revealed, by its possessor, God.

share|improve this answer
add comment

There is no acceptable synonym in this context because in theological matters revelation is a technical term. It denotes matters of faith and doctrine which are held to have been communicated directly and authoritatively by God, not deduced by fallible human reasoning.

For some Christians, for instance, the Bible constitutes the entirety of "revealed religion". What is set down in that anthology is held to be the Word of God, and nothing which contravenes or qualifies it is theologically acceptable.

(Other Christians, however, maintain the doctrine of "progressive revelation": that God has from time to time added to and subtracted from His message to mankind through new revelations.)

As far as translation goes, I suggest you look at writings on this subject in your own language and see what term is used for this specific narrow meaning. If your culture does not possess the concept, then you could employ whatever term your language employs for ordinary uses of "reveal", explaining the technical sense in which you are using it.

share|improve this answer
1  
Do you have a cite that shows that in this context or in theological matters revelation is a technical term? Also, the mere fact of being a technical term does not rule out the possibility of synonyms. –  jwpat7 Jul 10 '13 at 14:38
    
@jwpat7 Will Wikipedia do? Or OED 1, svv. Revealed and Revelation. Or search Google Books for "revealed religion". –  StoneyB Jul 10 '13 at 14:59
1  
From those sources I conclude that "divine disclosure" is workably synonomous, rather than that there's no acceptable synonym in this context. –  jwpat7 Jul 10 '13 at 16:25
    
@jwpat7, but on Christianity.SE there is a tag named "revelation"; do you really think one can change it into "disclosure" without losting in comprehension? –  user19148 Jul 10 '13 at 16:56
    
@Carlo_R., I agree that disclosure by itself isn't an adequate replacement. I don't agree that tags on Christianity.SE are relevant here. ¶ My claim is that a translation of “divine disclosure” probably would work; but until Inspira tells us the target language, one can't say much more. –  jwpat7 Jul 10 '13 at 19:21
show 1 more comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.