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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Another new English Bible translation project

Breaking news, thanks to Doug of Metacatholic: a new project is getting under way for another English Bible translation. The translation name is yet to be unveiled, but the project does have a website, and what looks like an interim name in the Greek word γραφή graphe "scripture".

Unlike some people, I do think that there is space for yet another English Bible translation - although (on this International Mother Tongue Day) I would put its priority less than that of translations for language groups which do not yet have the Bible at all. There are some real unmet needs for English translations, for example for a formal equivalence translation which carefully avoids all archaic and religious sounding language (HCSB may come close here), and for a dynamic equivalence translation with a target audience of educated adults.

There is not yet enough information public about this new translation that we can know whether it will meet either of these two needs, or perhaps another real need. The Translation Guidelines document has not been made public. I have some concerns that it is being pitched as a rival to NIV, from a more ecumenical or mainline church direction, for (apart from the absence of the deuterocanonical books in NIV and TNIV) I don't see issues of theology or churchmanship demanding a translation different from TNIV. But if the new translation is indeed "pitched at an 8th grade reading level" and has the promised "Clarity of language, as in "plain speaking"", then that will be good. And if, as any Bible translation should, it has "A reliable, genuine, and credible power to transform lives", that is better still.


At Thu Feb 21, 12:31:00 PM, Blogger Richard A. Rhodes said...

I'll repeat here the jist of the comment I made on Metacatholic.

Any project that has Joel Green is likely to be good, at least for the NT.

That said, I’m concerned that this project, like all the contemporary translations is audience driven rather than text driven.

For my money that’s what’s lacking in English translations, there isn’t a respect for the text as primary. Every translation is colored by concerns of political correctness or theological correctness, concern for audience (aimed at xth grade), and/or continuity of a translational tradition.

Why can’t we just have a straight up translation concerned with accuracy first? Something that hits the English speaker’s ear the way the original hit the Greek and Hebrew speaker’s ear. Clear and simple where it was clear and simple. Literary where it was literary. Challenging where it was challenging. Obscure where it was obscure. (I think Revelations left Greek speakers scratching their heads, too.)

Is it that Bibles are such a valuable commodity that we are always under the curse of being market driven?

At Thu Feb 21, 01:24:00 PM, Blogger Silvia said...

I Totally agree, Myself being in the translation online translation business (see profile @ Language123)this is pretty common.
The involvement of new ideas changing the meaning of the original text should not be acceptable, the text should remain intact regardless of the language pairs.

It is quite difficult to find true professional translators now a days.


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