Good translations vs Bad translations
As I suggested in passing in my last post, I think the question of
whether or not a translation is a good one depends on the level on which
one desires equivalence.
In my opinion, the NASB is very good for a word-to-word equivalence and
the GNB is very good for a sentence-to-sentence equivalence.
Many people (especially those of the `dynamic equivalence' school) quite
rightly point out the dangers of a `literal' (I prefer `word-equivalent')
translation. The GNB proves an excellent counter-translation to making
On the other hand, you can kiss GNB word studies good bye! You would
never want to say, `notice how Paul uses a different word here'
(preachers do!) on the basis of the GNB. On the word-level, the NASB
proves an excellent counter-translation to making this mistake.
The NIV lies in an unfortunate mid-zone, which means that adherents claim
it has the advantages of both translation theories. I for one think that
it also brings with it the disadvantages of both.
The NIV Exhaustive Concordance (which someone asked about) *does* include
a numbering system keyed to a Hebrew and Greek Lexicon (thankfully) and
while this does avoid people being mislead, it reveals how `dynamic' the
translation really is.
Doing nice word studies involves checking the English word in the
concordance, noting down all the G/K numbers of the Greek words that get
translated into that English word, turning to the lexicon which lists
all the English words that are translated from each of the Greek words and
turning back to the main concordance to get the verse references for all
the English words translated from the Greek words underlying your
original English word. Did you get all that! :-)
Consider: the English word `rigid' occurs once in the NIV. It translates
<g>CHRAI/NW</g> which itself appears 15 times in the UBS2 which underlies
the NIV. It get variously translated: wither, become rigid, dry up, ripe,
shriveled and stopped.
I don't have a problem with these translations (although I haven't
checked them) but you soon realise you shouldn't be doing your word
studies from the NIV!
James K. Tauber, Undergraduate Student ``Perplexed but not
Centre for Linguistics, UWA, Australia despairing''
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org - Paul (2 Cor 4.8)
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