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Friday, June 03, 2005

Meet a translator ... Dan Sindlinger (BLB)

With this post I am starting a series in which I will interview members of English Bible translation teams. My desire is that this series will connect a human face with each Bible version, and that you will get to know something of that translator's heart for God and his Written Word. The first interview will be with my longtime friend, Dan Sindlinger, who is translating the Better Life Bible (BLB). If you would like to learn more about the Better Life Bible, click on the title to this blog post to read an introduction to the BLB. You can download portions of the BLB from its website. You can critique the BLB by posting to the BLB section of this blog and/or by emailing Dan with your comments. His email address is in the introduction to the BLB.

Hi Dan, when did the Bible first start becoming important to you personally?

While I was in a Christian elementary school. In the eighth grade, I felt God's call to dedicate my life to full-time Christian service.

What is your role in the production of the Better Life Bible?

I've been translating the New Testament from Greek to English since 1999, gearing it to people who rarely read (or have never read) the Bible.

What are one or two revisions during the translation process that you remember?

When I translated Matthew and Mark, I used the expression God in human form to convey the meaning of Son of God. Since then, I’ve noticed that Son of God is often used in connection with Christ (Messiah):
Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16 - NIV)

The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God!" (Matthew 26:63 - NIV)

"She [Martha] told him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world." (John 11:27 - NIV)

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:31 - NIV)
Simon Peter, the high priest, Martha, and John all used Son of God in apposition to Christ, suggesting a close association in meaning. Luke appears to use the two terms synonymously:
Demons came out of many people, shouting, "You are the Son of God!" But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Christ. (Luke 4:41 - NIV)
The only occurrence of Son of God in the entire Old Testament is in Daniel 3:25 where it conveys the idea of God’s special messenger. That meaning relates well with Christ (Messiah), the one whom God promised would help people enjoy a better life, and it makes good sense in many other New Testament contexts where the term Son of God occurs. So instead of keeping the expression God in human form in my translation of Matthew 16:16, I revised it to the following:
Simon Peter answered, "You are God’s special messenger whom God promised would help people enjoy a better life.”
How would you like people to pray for the ministry of the Better Life Bible?

That God would help me translate the New Testament accurately, clearly and naturally for my target audience, so God would find it helpful in transforming people's lives.

Thanks, Dan.

My pleasure.

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At Sat Jun 04, 03:59:00 PM, Blogger Ron Conte said...

The Better Life Bible is a paraphrase translation, along the lines of the Good News Bible. It is easy to read, but it lacks accuracy and often substitutes the translator's understanding of the meaning for what the text actually says.

At Sat Jun 04, 07:04:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Ron, thank you for this comment. If you have the time, I'm sure that Dan would appreciate your citing some specific examples of lack of accuracy and interpretive translation. You can post your comments in the BLB section of this blog, if you wish, and/or send them directly to Dan by email.


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