David Daniell’s biography of William Tyndale is really opening my eyes to the art of translating text. Tyndale had one keen ability to reach the hearts with the English tongue:

Tyndale has also grasped how narrative must be kept moving. To illustrate, consider the teaching and parable of Jesus in part of Luke 14 below.  Note the monosyllables of the spoken language, ‘the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind’ (not, as someone might try to make it, ‘the impecunious, the disfigured, the limping with the addition of the slightless’) and the running-forward rhythm of that phrase. Indeed monosyllables dominate–‘The first said unto him: I have bought a farm, and I must needs go and see it’. The parables share with the teaching a tone of absolute clarity. Polysyllables, like ‘recompense’, are placed at the end for weight: ‘lest they bid thee again, and make thee recompense’. In the parable, the similar rhythmic effect of disyllables and polysyllables is striking: ‘Come, for all things are ready… I pray thee have me excused… Then was the good man of the house displeased… lord it is done as thou commandest…’ Such technique adds power to the unexpected word ‘compel’ at the end.

I love this stuff.