Friday, October 5, 2007

Dig deeper and compare

A few days ago I learned how to compare three versions of the Bible produced by the CBT (Committee on Bible Translation): NIV, NIrV (reader's version), and TNIV. And you can compare them as well by clicking on this link.

Recently I have become more interested in the NIrV due to the work of Tim Carr. Tim Carr is an English teacher who submits more TNIV revision suggestions than anyone else to the online form for those suggestions. He often finds that an NIrV wording sounds better to him than a TNIV wording. (You can read Tim's suggestions, and those of everyone else who has posted them, by viewing TNIV revision suggestions submitted so far.)

Here is a screen shot of Rom. 12:1 in the three versions:

9 comments:

voxstefani said...

I spent some time looking over the suggestions over at the online form, and I wonder: why turn the TNIV into the NIrV? After all, these translations have different goals and audiences. Why move from hypotactic to paratactic constructions as a matter of principle? Do we want the TNIV to also be at a third-grade reading level?

Wayne Leman said...

I spent some time looking over the suggestions over at the online form, and I wonder: why turn the TNIV into the NIrV? After all, these translations have different goals and audiences. Why move from hypotactic to paratactic constructions as a matter of principle? Do we want the TNIV to also be at a third-grade reading level?

I think something was misunderstood. No one has suggested that the TNIV be turned into an NIrV. I agree with you that that would produce a translation which would not read well for us adults.

What English teacher Tim Carr has found is that *some* of the awkward English wordings in the TNIV can be improved by making them more like the wordings for that Bible passage in the NIrV.

*Some*, not *all*.

Thanks for asking so this could be clarified.

voxstefani said...

Wayne: I am aware that that the ultimate purpose is not to turn the TNIV into the NIrV, but I worry that many of the revisions suggested at the online form are moving in that direction regardless. Again, a fair bit of them seek to clarify syntactical relations not by improving on hypotactic renderings, but rather by resolving them into parataxis. I think that, in the end, such revisions would detract from the value of the TNIV as a tool for serious study.

I look forward to the CBT's consideration of these proposals, however: one way or another, they will help to bring greater accuracy to an already excellent translation.

Wayne Leman said...

but I worry that many of the revisions suggested at the online form are moving in that direction regardless. Again, a fair bit of them seek to clarify syntactical relations not by improving on hypotactic renderings, but rather by resolving them into parataxis. I think that, in the end, such revisions would detract from the value of the TNIV as a tool for serious study.

OK, now we've come to the point where, for me, as a non-intuitive person, I need to *see* one or two examples to know what you are referring to in Tim Carr's list. In the abstract, I can agree with you, but we haven't yet looked at specific examples together.

Could you be so kind as to cite a couple of Tim's examples and point out the particular problem that you see with them?

Thanks.

Admin said...

I've seen some of the recommendations like exchanging "revolutionary" for "rebel" and frankly they seem to be nitpicking. Flooding CBT with hosts of marginally helpful revisions may distract them from making substantive ones where needed.

Wayne Leman said...

Flooding CBT with hosts of marginally helpful revisions may distract them from making substantive ones where needed.

Thanks. That's a very important point. I've been trying to say that also as I've been inviting suggestions for revisions. The CBT has their own lists of revisions that they have come up with as individuals and collectively and those take up a lot of their annual meeting time. They try to get to other suggestions submitted by others. That's why it is important that we follow the guidelines on the submission site and also try to submit on the more significant matters of poor English or questionable exegesis.

Fortunately, the CBT is above average for English Bible translation teams in terms of sensitivity to good quality English. But there are still many wordings which can be nudged toward even better literary English.

Since you have looked at some of the suggestions on the webpage, I would encourage you to submit wordings which you would consider important ones. And if you do spot suggestions on the webpage which you consider nitpicking, please privately email me about them: wayne-leman at netzero.com. Not all suggestions make it through the moderation process and even those that do can be re-considered before the entire list is submitted to the CBT. I would gladly welcome help not only in adding to important suggestions, but doing what we can to streamline the list we give them so that it is pruned to what is important for improving the TNIV.

R. Mansfield said...

If I can jump into the conversation here, I agree with some of the sentiment voiced by voxstefani, although he hasn't offered specific examples yet.

But speaking for myself, I like the TNIV because it is a median translation, and I like it because it is more literal in many places than the NIV was. I agree with the careful rendering of idioms that are completely unintelligible, but personally, I would like to see some of the better known idioms retained--even if they are somewhat foreign to contemporary readers. For instance, I was very pleased that in the TNIV περιπατέω is now sometimes translated "walk" rather than just "live" as it is in the NIV.

There are room for translations that contemporize most of the original idioms--this is why I use the NLT when I need that. But I want the TNIV to stay in the middle or I'll need to find something else.

Todd said...

Can someone please explain to me how you can use the TNIV for indepth study? I love the TNIV, but I am having a hard time in using for deep study because of the Dynamic Equivalence. I don't know if this is a mindset or an actual problem. Sorry this is off topic

R. Mansfield said...

Todd, I think I'll address your question in a completely new post. Check back later today.