One common criticism of the TNIV is that it dispenses with the details of meaning, communicating only the "basic idea" of a passage.
In Key Issues Regarding Bible Translation, Wayne Grudem writes, "These gender-neutral Bibles only translate the general idea of the passage and omit male-oriented details of meaning." These "male-oriented details of meaning" are overlooked, the critics say, because of a politically correct, feminist agenda.
Such criticism moves beyond the realm of objective analysis. It attributes motive and makes assumptions about what takes place among the translators.
I feel I have a somewhat unique perspective on the matter since, unlike the critics, I've watched the TNIV translators at work. About four years ago, I was invited to observe the committee as they finished work on Psalm 1.
I was working for Zondervan at the time, preparing for the commercial launch of the TNIV. It was made clear to me that I was there to observe... and only to observe. (A clear line of separation exists between Zondervan and the translators, thus protecting the TNIV from commercial influence.)
While I was there, the translators discussed at length whether to use a comma or a semicolon in one verse. Which was more accurate? Which would more faithfully communicate the psalmist's intended grammatical structure? They debated these questions as if heaven and earth hung in the balance.
So it's no surprise to me that gender inclusive language was not incorporated into the translation by means of "search and replace." Instead, the translators pored over the texts—line by line, word by word, punctuation mark by punctuation mark.
Yes, the details matter. Yes, the words matter. Critics of the TNIV and proponents of literal translation do not have a monopoly on attention to detail.
Whatever else you believe about the TNIV, the suggestion that the translators do not care about the "details of meaning" is fraught with logical fallacy and presumption.