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Saturday, July 16, 2005

Literary excellence poll

For quite a few weeks there has been a Quick Poll on this blog asking:
Can a Bible version have literary excellence if it has many wordings which are not good quality, proper English?
I think that not too many more people will vote in this poll so it is time to take it down. Thank you to each one who voted in this poll. The results (see the following poll chart) are interesting. A significant number more respondents voted that if a Bible version does not have good quality, proper English it also does not have literary excellence. That response is the same one I would have given as well. It is difficult for me to contemplate a situation where there would be a piece of literature, including any Bible version, which people would say has literary excellence, but which has many ungrammatical sentences, obscure wordings, obsolete vocabulary, and other language problems.

The results from this poll support the idea that any translation team should have language scholars on it, not just exegetical scholars. Language scholars can help ensure that the translation itself is written in some standard form of the language. There can be a variety of standard forms, but all of them will be recognized by fluent speakers and writers of the language as being good quality literature, with good quality wordings. In the case of English Bible versions, for instance, English professors, would be able to read a Bible version and tell if it has literary excellence or not. If the version has many wordings which do not sound like they were written by native speakers of the language, if it has many wordings which are obscure, many wordings with obsolete words or syntax, I believe that these language scholars would assess that Bible version as not having literary excellence.

Again, thank you to each one who voted in this poll. Following are the poll results until today:

Can a Bible version have literary excellence if it has many wordings which are not good quality, proper English?

Answers Votes Percent
1.
Yes 30 34%
2.
No 50 57%
3.
I don't know. 8 9%

Total Votes: 88


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