Different Methods of Bible Translation

In continuing our discussion on Bible translations, let’s pretend I’m translating an ancient text. In doing a strict word-for-word translation, I come up with:

“She hit him, I never said.”

Even with punctuation inserted — which is a requirement — it is confusing (and sounds a bit like Yoda). Somewhat modifying a strict word-for-word methodology might result in:

“I never said she hit him.”

This rendering, however, can be interpreted in six different ways, depending on which of the six words are emphasized:

I never said she hit him.”
“I never said she hit him.”
“I never said she hit him.”
“I never said she hit him.”
“I never said she hit him.”
“I never said she hit him.”

A thought-for-thought translation could be attempted to clarify and might result in:

“I didn’t communicate that she hurt him”

Of course, that still leaves ambiguity that likely did not exist for the ancient reader, as in:

I didn’t communicate that she hurt him”
“I didn’t communicate that she hurt him”
“I didn’t communicate that she hurt him”
“I didn’t communicate that she hurt him

This confusion begs for a paraphrase, which might result in:

“I can confirm that no one was hurt in any way.”

This is a clean and straightforward result. Of course, to come up with this rendering, the translators would have needed to look at the original text from the perspective of audience of that day and produce a modern day equivalent. What if they erred in any of their determinations along the way? Then, what seems clear and understandable is actually skewed and misleading, but that of course, is a matter of opinion.

With all this, it is easy to see why there is debate over the various versions of the Bible, leaving me with my original statement that whatever version you will actually read, is the best one.

Which version of the Bible do you read?

What do you think? Please leave a comment!