Sunday, January 17, 2010

The search for a new translation - part 1

Frontispiece to the King James' Bible, 1611, s...Image via Wikipedia
  I've always loved the King James and the New King James versions of the bible but recently I started searching for a new translation offering accuracy and faithfulness to the original manuscripts as well as updated language. The first thing I had to consider was the differences in translation philosophies. The two schools of thought on the subject are dynamic equivalence and essentially literal.

  Dynamic equivalence can best be summarized as a thought for thought translation. The top priority of the translator is to portray the message of the original in a way that the modern reader will understand. Greater emphasis is placed on the message than on representing the exact wording and structure found in the original languages. This method is employed by versions such as the NIV and the NLT. The strength of this translation would be the readability of the text and ease of understanding. The weak points would be having to depend on the translator's accuracy of interpretation of the original manuscripts and their ability to represent these messages clearly. All in all this isn't a bad philosophy. For new Christians and children this can be very helpful.

   An essentially literal translation philosophy strives to achieve a word for word translation as much as possible and yet allow an English rendition of the texts. The goal being to allow as much of the wording and structure of the originals to show through. There can be some sacrifice in readability with this approach but strength is found in its precision. This type of translation is especially suited for teaching and study.

   Valuing accuracy and usefulness in study I decided an essentially literal bible would best meet my needs. Next post we'll take a look at what I found.
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