Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Christmas presents for the TNIV team

There are few things in life that bring me greater joy than helping a Bible translation team improve its translation. Others might not experience that same joy that I do, but I do know that people experience joy when reading a better Bible. All around the world people marvel (and are spiritually impacted) whenever they hear God's Word translated as they speak and write their own language.

For several years I have been sending revision suggestions to the CBT, the TNIV translation team. These days I am checking TNIV Psalms. My regular job (checking Bible translations in other languages) does not allow me time to check the TNIV as thoroughly as I would like, but I am still able to skim read and spot wordings which could be improved.

But I am not going to be able to complete my check of the TNIV before their annual deadline, January 1, for receiving revision suggestions. Would you consider giving a Christmas present to the TNIV team by suggesting revisions which would make their translation even better? Perhaps you could skim read books of the Bible which I have not yet been able to check, so that as many books of the Bible will be covered as possible before the CBT deadline. In my latest push the past few weeks I have checked Ruth, Job, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, and I will soon finish Psalms. BBB and TNIV Truth reader Tim Carr is expecting to complete checking the New Testament by the deadline. If you prefer to check New Testament books, check Tim's suggestions on the TNIV revisions suggestions webpage to see if he has not already suggested a revision for a wording you are interested in.

I realize that there is barely a month to go, but if you would be willing in that time to skim one or more books which Tim and I have not been able to check yet, it would be a big help. I will post a survey in the BBB (and TNIV Truth blog's) margin where you can mark down which book, God helping you, you hope to check for the TNIV team.

Do you need to be a Greek or Hebrew scholar to check an English translation? No, in fact such scholarship can often be an impediment to the kind of TNIV checking most needed at this time. You just need to be a native speaker of English, with a good sense of whether or not some wording sounds like good English, whether it follows the standard rules of English syntax and lexicon.

To help you see what kinds of things you might find, here are few examples I have spotted in the TNIV Psalms, along with explanatory words about the translation issue:

Ps. 38:3 "there is no health in my body" – unnatural; consider natural: "my body is not healthy

Ps. 68:17 "The chariots of God are tens of thousands" – improper English with "are" connecting the noun subject and the number of them; consider: "The chariots of God number in the tens of thousands", or "God has tens of thousands of chariots"

Ps. 75:1 "Name" – This is the only capitalized instance of "name" (including for God's name) I have found in the TNIV. I suspect it is a typographical error.

Ps. 82:1 "gives judgment" – unnatural; I don't think we "give" judgment in English

Ps. 84:7 "from strength to strength" – unnatural English; I don't know what it means.

Ps. 89: 13 "endued" – not a well known word today

Ps. 89:15 "acclaim" – not a well known word today

Ps. 90:12 "Teach us to number our days" – I've heard this Bible phrase since childhood but I do not understand it. It sounds like the psalmist is asking God to teach him how to count the number of days he has done something, perhaps how many days he has lived.
You can record your revision suggestions on the TNIV revision suggestions webpage. There are further instructions on the webpage. There is also a link there to download a free copy of the TNIV if you do not have this Bible version yet. I will forward suggestions to the TNIV team by their deadline, January 1.

Please consider indicating which TNIV books you would like to check in the new survey in this blog's margin. And if you cannot skim an entire book, if you can submit even one suggestion that can be a help.

2 comments:

Apprentice2Jesus said...

Speaking of Christmas presents...is Zondervan finally going to give us one in the TNIV reference Bible? I see on CBD it's still set for a Dec. 10 release. Is this still a tease? Is this REALLY going to happen?

R. Mansfield said...

I think we're probably looking at January as the more likely date they are widely available. But a few might trickle out in December. I had been promised an early copy that I expected a couple of weeks ago, but I've received nothing yet.