Mother tongue translation
Many of us have read appliance manuals or other materials which have not been translated (or composed) by mother tongue speakers of English. We quickly recognize various language oddities in what we are reading. Often we can understand what is meant by what is written, but we know, as mother tongue speakers of English, that we would not say or write it that way. It's just not the way that English expresses that idea.
Some English Bibles sound like they were translated by mother tongue speakers of English. I personally find that refreshing. My head and my heart respond better to English which follows the rules of grammar and lexicon for English. I understand more accurately and respond, spiritually and emotively, better to English which follows its standard patterns, as English is spoken and written by millions of its mother tongue speakers.
Sadly, many English Bibles sound like they were translated by individuals who are not native speakers of English. I find those Bibles more difficult to understand. They introduce ambiguities, lack of clarity, and other difficulties which were not part of the original biblical language texts.
Here are some Bible translation wordings which sound to me like they were written by mother tongue translators. In an attempt to help us evaluate the wordings objectively, I will not give the names of the versions or the Bible references.
What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!In contrast, here are some wordings which sound like they were not written by mother tongue translators:
Is that a joyous choir I hear? No, it is the Lord himself exulting over you in happy song.
Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
Deacons must also be of good character. They must not be two-faced or addicted to alcohol.
When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, my brothers, don't resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence.
Because of the ground that is dismayed, since there is no rain on the land, the farmers are ashamed; they cover their heads.Can you spot wordings in the second group of verses which do not sound quite like any kind of standard English? Can you mention other wordings in English Bibles which you have spotted which do not sound like they were translated by mother tongue speakers of English? Feel free to list them in the comments to this post.
The stirring of your inner parts and your compassion are held back from me.
There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.
The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way,
Before His works of old.
If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed.
And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people.
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy
If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.
Perhaps everyone who works on an English Bible translation team should be required to pass a test demonstrating that they are able to write as a mother tongue speaker of English. Or maybe they should be required to attend a course which trains mother tongue translators how to translate the Bible into their own language.