How do we know a good translation?

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by Phillip, Dec 30, 2004.

  1. Phillip

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    I thought I might open a thread to discuss "how we know if a translation" IS the Word-of-God and acceptable for use as such.

    I noticed the other thread was headed in this direction and I think it might be a good idea to discuss this issue independently.

    Let me use an example to start the discussion: The NEW NIV is said to be Gender Neutral, varying from the original manuscripts (or the compilation of newer manuscripts that we accept today as credible manuscripts).

    Where does the limit of errors fall before we throw out a translation as being faulty?
     
  2. Forever settled in heaven

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    it must, above all, give the SENSE of the original. regardless of the word order or form of the original, if the _sense_ in the translation is obscured or altered (even in the name of literalism), it's no longer accurate.

    Neh. 8:8 "So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense ..."
     
  3. Jim1999

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    In my humble opinion, there is no translation so bad that the common reader cannot learn of Him.

    For theologians, no translation will suffice, and he will always find flaws.

    If a translation causes the common man to read it, it becomes a good translation. I happen to like the J.B. Phillips new testament, as a reader. I have also been reading the Reader's Digest Bible, which is a condensation of the RSV. It is nice to read with verse interruptions, such as we find in the KJV.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  4. Phillip

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    Jim, I agree with you to a certain extent, but what is to stop someone from purposely creating a Bible translation with faulty doctrine that is quite subtle?

    Granted, most translations that are mainstream translations have been accepted to one degree or another, but isn't it possible that someone could purposely corrupt a translation?
     
  5. Johnv

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    I've never seen the TNIV, so I'm not sure what is meant by gender neutral. If it's simply a matter of rendering "peace on earth, goodwill to men" to "peace on earth, goodwill to all people", then that is acceptible. OTOH, if it changes "Son of Man" to "Child of Man", then we've got a problem. Perhaps someone who's got a TNIV can give info. I have a regular NIV, which is, imo, one of the best translated editions available.
     
  6. Phillip

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    Johnv, I was simply using that as an example. I have heard a lot of complaints because of the TNIV and they seem to be related to gender neutrality.

    Let me ask you a question, WHY would it be okay for it to say "peace on earth, goodwill to all people" if the Greek says "men"? Would this not water down the translational accuracy?
     
  7. Johnv

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    In that case, no, because the context is not "males", but all people. I took German in high school and college. Similarly, in German, the word "man" can be a male, or persons in general. When translating from German to English, the correct rendering is "people", not "men".
     
  8. Ziggy

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    While Greek ANQRWPOS can be taken generically as "a person" or "persons" (as in Lk 2:14), the same cannot be said of ANHR, which is specifically male-oriented. Yet, as I recall, the TNIV renders ANHR generically also (I've got a copy; just don't use it).
     
  9. Phillip

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    I certainly don't have a problem if the "intended" word in Greek is genderless. I think more hype has been made out of this thing than it really is.

    I would say if it does translate ANHR as generic, then I would have a problem, then again, I guess you have to look at context too.
     
  10. Ziggy

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    For the record, here is the total conspectus of translaton for ANHR in TNIV:

    Gender-specific uses (most of the time): "husband", "man", "him" (1Cor 7:13b)

    Non-gender specific:

    "people" (Mt 12:41; Lk 11:31, 32; Ac 2:22 [where ANDRES ISRAHLITAI becomes "people of Israel"; also Ac 3:12; 13:16 -- yet cf. Ac 5:35, where the *same* phrase is rendered "men of Israel"]; 17:22, 34; 19:35; 21:28; Jas 1:23);

    "those" (Lk 14:24; Ac 5:9);

    "believers" (Ac 4:4);

    "friends" [!?] (Ac 14:15);

    "my friends" (Ac 19:25);

    "characters" (Ac 17:5);

    "some" (Ac 20:30);

    "those" (Ro.4:8)

    "someone" (Jas 2:2)

    Paraphrased away:

    Lk 1:34; 16:18; 19:7; 24:19; Ac 1:16 (where ANDRES ADELFOI becomes "Brothers and sisters"; also Ac 2:29; 13:26; 13:38); Ac 2:5, 14 (where ANDRES IOUDAIOI becomes "fellow Jews"), 37; 3:14; 6:3 (where ADELFOI ANDRAS becomes "Brothers and sisters"); 7:2 (where ANDRES ADELFOI becomes only "brothers"; also Ac 15:7, 13; 22:1; and 23:1, 6; 28:17 where the phrase becomes "my brothers"); 8:27; 10:28; 13:6, 15, 21; 15:22; 21:11, 38; 22:3; 23:21; 25:24; Rom 11:4; Eph 4:13; 1Tim 3:2, 12; Ti 1:6; Jas 1:8 (where the singular ANHR DIYUCOS...AUTOU becomes "*they* are double-minded and unstable in all *they* do"); 1:12 (where MAKARIOS ANHR OS with singular verb forms is pluralized into "Blessed are those who ... when they..."); 1:20 (where ORGH GAR ANDROS is pluralized into "because our anger"); 3:2 (where TIS ... TELEIOS ANHR...OLON TO SWMA is pluralized into "Those who...what they say are perfect...their whole body").

    Draw your own conclusions. [​IMG]
     
  11. IveyLeaguer

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    IMHO, a good translation is one that is accurate, that accurately as possible translates the meaning of the original writing. I'm a strict Biblicist, free from man-made systems, and therefore have no choice but to "tremble" at God's Word (Isaiah 66:2). I dare not add or take away a single idea or thought from it. Many modern translations, of course, do just that - some very subtlely, some not so subtle. That means utilizing the best available manuscripts, and the versions that best translate them. I would think using just one translation with the tools God has provided us today is like playing basketball with one hand tied behind your back. If I had to use just one, I must say it would be the KJV simply because I'm used to it and love its style. But I'm glad I don't have to.

    For reading and study, I like the KJV, ESV, NASB and, to some extent, the HCSB.

    For backup I use, in no certain order, the ALT, ASV, BBE, Darby, Douay-Rheims, EMTV, HNV, ISV, LITV, MKJV, WEB, 1899 Webster, YLT, Amplified, 1599 Geneva, NKJV, 3 different Greek New Testaments, the Textus Receptus, Tanuch, Septuagint, and a few others. And of course Strong's, Vine's, and the other references.

    In rare cases, I'll look at the NIV for a comparison but I don't like reading it. There are some verses that read very well but, for some reason, I find it much too shallow.

    For most people, or for a new Christian concerned with accuracy, the simplest way, IMHO, is to use the KJV and ESV. In the places where they seem to differ look further, but using these two is the easiest, and by far the fastest way to translate the Bible accurately into English, IMHO. A nice side by side, large print KJV-ESV Bible would be awesome, indeed. Maybe some day.
     
  12. Craigbythesea

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  13. Craigbythesea

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    Anyone, regardless of nationality or native language, who wants to study the writings of William Shakespeare learns the English language so that they can study the writings of William Shakespeare. Translations of the Bible are great for the new convert, but is there any good reason why the new convert should not mature enough in his or her experience of faith to learn how to read Greek and Hebrew well enough to at least be able to read the Bible without depending on translations of it? A Lutheran pastor recently shared,

    “I'm a Lutheran pastor serving in Ottawa, Ontario. Last spring I started a New Testament Greek class at our church and I thought that this list might be helpful to me as I teach. (My youngest student is 15 and the oldest is 92! They are all doing quite well.)”

    Another Christian replied,

    “Excellent! I remember hearing a few years ago about a woman 95 years of age who started and completed the Moody Correspondence course in NT Greek. I don't know if she made it, but after completing Greek she signed up for Hebrew!”

    My personal belief is that if someone really cares about what the Bible says, they should learn how to read it for themselves.

    If that is too much of a challenge for you, may I suggest that you use the most literal translation of the Bible that is widely available today, the NASB? If that is too much of a challenge for you, perhaps you should rethink your Christian values and turn off the television or do what ever it takes to be able to read and understand the NASB.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. go2church

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    The TNIV New Testament is a fine translation, the whole bible is due out in 2005. It does not change the translation of the gender in reference to God but does translate passages intended for both male and female as such with a footnote. I think the percentage of the TNIV that is different then the NIV is like 20 with only about 7% applying to gender references. If I remember the information in the brochure correctly. I have and use the TNIV as a reader as referenced earlier by Jim and the ESV for everything else.

    Question: What do you read inbetween time while I improve enough to be able to understand the NASB?
     
  15. Johnv

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    That pretty much answers the question I brought up. Thanks.
     
  16. Ziggy

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    go2church: "The TNIV New Testament is a fine translation"

    Just for the record (since this is a Baptist Board):

    The concept of the TNIV as "a fine translation" is is *not* the opinion of the Southern Baptist Convention. Its messengers specifically passed a strong order (*not* a mere "resolution" with no teeth) totally banning the use of the TNIV in any convention literature, as well as forbidding the Lifeway stores to sell the TNIV.
     
  17. Marcia

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    Wow! You've got Bibles, man! :cool:

    Have you ever read the NET Bible? I like it better than the NASB. I'd be interested in your view of it.

    Here's a link to the online site:
    http://netbible.bible.org/

    It has detailed notes on grammar, some of which can only be fully appreciated by someone who knows Hebrew and Greek, but they are still useful even if one doesn't. The NET translators strive for the same type of translation as the NASB.

    The latest NET Bible is their Beta version - they have yet to come out with a final version. I think it's due out in 2006, though I'm not sure. I have a hard copy I ordered from their site and it's helped me appreciate the nuances in translation issues, and has also helped me appreciate God's word even more.
     
  18. Marcia

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    The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (complementarians) have several articles on the TNIV. They see translation problems and errors with it.

    Here is one of their aritcles (in PDF):
    "TNIV Translation Inaccuracies"
    http://tinyurl.com/7xlh4

    If that link doesn't work, just go to www.cbmw.org
    and type in TNIV in their search engine. A page will come up with about 10 articles on the topic, including the one above.
     
  19. Marcia

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    This is one of the articles there showing some of the problems with the TNIV, according to them:
    http://www.cbmw.org/resources/tniv/short-list.php
    The above is just an excerpt.
     
  20. go2church

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    The Southern (Fundamentalist) Baptist Convention is hardly the "standard" for what is and what isn't a good translation. I can't imagine why Lifeway would forbid the sale of the TNIV, could it be the marketing of their own Holman Christian Standard Bible? I;m sure it had nothing to do with as Al Mohler said of creating a translation they could control! Hey, why all the worry about a particular translation when you're going to tell everyone how to interpert it anyway?

    The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is hardly an unbiased group to be judging any bible translation. Their opinion is just that an opinion. Just like my opinion that the TNIV is a fine translation.
     

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