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Featured The Need for New Translations

Discussion in 'Bible Versions & Translations' started by John of Japan, Jun 12, 2017.

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  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    I contend that there is no need whatsoever for any new translations or reference Bibles in the English language whatsoever. Even in the past couple of decades there has been a huge proliferation in English Bible translations. If you can't find a reference Bible of some kind in your favorite version, you are just not looking! (By contrast, there are several main translations in Japanese, but only one reference Bible--done by the JWs!!). Yes, I've read through the NIV, ESV, HCSB, etc., and often think, "Enough, already!"

    So, where in the world is the greatest need for Bible translation? I'll list these in the order of importance I give them.

    1. The languages of tribal people groups in South America, Indonesia (including the province of Papua, or New Guinea), and the Philippines.

    2. The languages of unreached people groups in India. I know of a school there at the MA level especially for national translators.

    3. The languages of unreached people groups of Asia (for example, the Pamiri, who live in the mountains across several countries).

    4. The languages of people groups in Africa with no written language and therefore no Bible. One of my students has already started such an effort on a survey trip. Our initial goal is an oral translation, which is very doable with modern technology--it seems like everyone in Africa has a smart phone which could play the version to them!

    5. The languages of people groups with only an inadequate or inaccurate translation, such as the Fulani of Africa.

    Some of the people groups listed here, especially in Africa and probably in India, have a lingua franca (common language) or trade language that they communicate with other people groups in, such as pidgin, English, or French. However, shouldn't every people group have a Bible in their "heart language"?

    So, with all of these languages in the world with not a single verse in their heart language, why in the world should English get a new translation every year?
     
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  2. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    John, thanks for your thoughts on the greatest needs for Bible translations. I mentioned this in the other thread, but am adding it here as a reference. Wikipedia lists 108 complete English Bibles (and they missed the LEB, which makes 109), and the American Bible Society says "the number of printed English translations and paraphrases of the Bible, whether complete or not, is about 900."

    I usually think it is not beneficial for chiding folks for doing something -- as in translating the Bible. BUT this really seems like an area where the time and money spent on proliferating English translations might be transferred to and focused on languages that have no Bible.
     
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  3. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    A clue to this situation is that most scholars of the Biblical languages are not invested in worldwide missions. So when they are asked to participate in an English translation effort, they readily agree, having Anglo-centric blinders on.

    There are exceptions. Dr. Glenn Kerr, who posted on the other thread, is one. My son, Dr. Paul Himes, is another. Dr. David Alan Black of Southeastern BTS, travels all the time to minister in mission fields, but I'm not aware if he consults on translations.
     
  4. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Think that what is needed ir really the means to get the Gospel out to all peoples not just in their native language. has have heard that roughly 90 % of people cannot even read in own language, but can get it thru hearing a recorded DVD message...
    Saw a show where there was a device that used combo solar power and cracking up juice to supply NT gospel message up to 500 times....
     
  5. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    But evangelism alone is not enough. The Great Commission in Matthew mandates Bible translation, or there is no way to obey, "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded them."

    One missiologist has written, “Without Scriptures in the mother tongue, churches are not able to sustain spiritual depth into succeeding generations. They have difficulty answering false teaching, waging spiritual warfare and avoiding syncretism. Many in or around the church fail to recognize that the Christian God is the universal God to whom all must answer.”[1]



    [1] Barbara F. Grimes, “From Every Language,” in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, 4th ed., ed. by Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthrone (Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2009), 566-567.
     
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  6. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    I agree with you, but do also see a definite need to get that message of the Bible into spoken tongue, such as in recorded form....
     
  7. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Interesting point. Hadn't really thought of it that way, but am aware that some missionaries translate the Bible themselves because of the present need (even if they don't feel they are the most qualified to do it). Of course, there is the problem that the translators may know Hebrew and Greek, but not know the receptor language.
     
  8. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$


    The profit lies in the U.S. market.
     
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  9. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Some missionaries do translate themselves, but their work goes unappreciated without national helpers or co-translators. One example of this was Robert Morrison, who did the first Chinese Bible--on his own, unfortunately. Even his son wrote that it was "scarcely ever read" (A. J. Broomhall, “Hudson Taylor and China’s Open Century,” Vol. 1, Barbarians At the Gates), 278.

    There are also missionary translations done from an English translation (KJV, Living Bible [there's a Japanese LB], etc.). But this is only a last resort. Ideally speaking, the nationals should know Greek and Hebrew, but that often is not the case. At that point either the missionary on the field trained in the original languages and/or a translation consultant are necessary.

    As for a missionary not knowing the target (receptor) language, shame on him! (Ahem. I have a pet peeve about linguistically lazy missionaries. :Cautious) Seriously, the translator should be equipped by God with an aptitude for languages, or he'll not be able to do the job.
     
  10. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    This is often true. But I have heard that the Lockman Foundation (NASB) uses their profits for missionary translation. However, they are very strict about copyright, and this sometimes hinders the work on the field. The Lockman Foundation sued TEAM and their Japanese translators for the version done over their, and forced TEAM to pay Lockman for the copyright to their own work.
     
  11. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    How desperate is the need for missionary translation work? “About half the known languages of the world have vanished in the last five hundred years” (Daniel Nettle and Suzanne Romaine, Vanishing Voices (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 2.
     
  12. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    In my latter comment I was thinking, rather than about missionaries, that the numerous translators involved in the many translations of the Bible into English may have little or no knowledge of the languages where the great needs for the Bible exists. It seems, though, that they might somehow cooperate with and help those who do know the receptor language.
     
  13. Rippon

    Rippon Well-Known Member
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    So does Biblica which is responsible for the NIV.
     
  14. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson Administrator
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    I know of a translation project in Francophone Africa in which the source is the standard French translation going to the local language. Why because French is the lingua franca of the educated in this country and the locals have little to no exposure to Greek and Hebrew. The missionary translators have the Greek, Hebrew, and French. The translation is seen as a stop-gap measure, a matter of the perfect being the enemy of the good enough.
     
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  15. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Why do we need better translations of the Bible into English? The existing ones could be improved immensely. Reaching those whose language precludes receiving God's Word is certainly important. But believers are supposed to continue to grow to maturity after they have been born anew. And that need can better be addressed in English speaking areas with improved translations. It is not either/or, its both.

    Would the body of Christ be better served if the allocation of funds was increased in the area of untranslated languages, and diminished in the area of upgrading existing language translations? Probably.
     
  16. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    If you can't find an English Translation that suits you, then you might as well switch to Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic.
    The translations are getting ridiculous. A couple years ago, our church spent a pile of money on HCSB so that the Bibles would match Lifeway literature. Now, CSB will be replacing HCSB and to stay current and match literature it will mean spending more $$$$. If one does not know that "great" has multiple meanings, they need to buy a dictionary. A new translation for them is crazy. That seems to be the type things the CSB is changing.
     
    #16 Reynolds, Jun 12, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2017
  17. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Hi Reynolds, I accept that you do not see the need to greatly improve our English translation of the Bible. Right now we have the Calvinists singing the praise of the ESV, NIV and NLT, and folks like me pointing to less loose translations such as the NASB95 and LEB. We have a great many folks, saying our election for salvation was unconditional, and another group saying it was conditional based on faith in the truth. I think if the NT was properly translated, nearly everyone would agree our election was conditional.
    Nobody seems able to explain why the NKJV did not correct the egregious errors of the TR. It appears folks were willing to sacrifice truth for tradition.
     
  18. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    Is anybody really "correcting" anything? To me, more translations equals more confusion. I am actually getting so annoyed that is driving me back to the KJV. I like what an old African American country preacher said about his KJV Bible. "Its all inspired. From the index to the maps, its all inspired." Of course I don't literally believe the part about the index and maps, but he points out a truth.
     
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  19. Aaron

    Aaron Member
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    Money.
     
  20. Aaron

    Aaron Member
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    This proliferation of translation is, I think, an outworking of the corruption by which we, having itching ears, heap to ourselves teachers. What we need are more living epistles, folks obeying the commandments they find in every English translation.
     
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