Bible translation is a team effort
For example, although I’m the final decision maker in producing The Better Life Bible, it’s a product of some 40 resources (listed in my May, 2005 newsletter) and 22 reviewers. The current group of reviewers includes two professional Bible translators/consultants, seven pastors, four professional educators, and nine other lay people. When I send them my initial translation of a particular section or book, they offer comments and suggestions for improvement in the areas of accuracy, clarity and naturalness. Their input is an extremely valuable aspect of the team effort to produce The Better Life Bible.
As I read other translations of the Bible, whether produced by an individual or group of translators, I’m often disappointed by the lack of clarity and naturalness. This makes me wonder how much reviewers were involved in the translation process. I’d like to see translators devote more time and effort to checking their translation with their target audience to make sure it’s clear and natural as well as accurate.
Jerome reflects the courage it took to translate the Latin Vulgate (the standard Bible for 1,000 years) clearly and naturally:
My concern is that some readers, whether they are educated or not, will realize that this translation does not agree with what they are accustomed to and will react against me with abusive language, calling me an evil person and a forger for having the audacity to add anything to the ancient text, as though I were trying to make changes or corrections to it.Categories: Bible translation, Better Life Bible, natural English, translation checking