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Monday, January 23, 2006

In the days of his flesh - Part 2

Yesterday I blogged on the phrase "In the days of his flesh" in Heb. 5:7. In this post I point out Bible versions which use better English for Heb. 5:7.

First, versions which use the poor English wording for Heb. 5:7 are KJV, NASB, RSV, the two revisions of the RSV, NRSV and ESV, and the ISV.

Better wordings are:
In the course of his earthly life (REB)
In his life on earth (TEV)
During his earthly life (NET, HCSB)
During his life on earth (GW)
During the days of Jesus' life on earth (NIV, TNIV)
while Jesus was on earth (CEV)
While Jesus lived on earth (NCV)
While Jesus was here on earth (NLT)
For myself, it sounds better to use "during" or "while", rather than "in," to introduce a period of time. I'm surprised that the TEV, which ordinarily uses rather natural English, precedes the time phrase with "in."

How can Bible translators avoid using wordings which are not good English? One of the best ways is by asking good speakers of English to help them spot any wordings which do not sound natural. It is difficult for Bible translators to catch all poor wordings by themselves. It helps to bring a kind of open source approach to the translation process and ask others to help with those parts of the translation process that they can. Translation checking should be required of every Bible version produced. And it should be required that such checking be done by ordinary fluent speakers who have a good sense of what good quality English is.

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At Mon Jan 23, 11:31:00 AM, Blogger Ted Gossard said...

Wayne, I couldn't agree more.

It seems to me that the translation we use can, at times affect our own English and communication. At least I've perceived that with myself especially. And wonder if it isn't true for others.


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