Translation Comparisons…

Kevin A. Wilson over at Blue Cord (this is clickable) wrote a post about the ESV compared to the NIV and NRSV and how different they are.

Peter Kirk respond saying that if the ESV was compared to the NIV and say the NLT and more dynamic translations, you would find that the ESV and NIV were a whole lot closer than it initially appeared.

I thought I would test that…and here are the results graphed (I really apologize for how very white this picture is against the black…):


I’m providing a few more translations for a better context…but its pretty clear in both of them that the NIV/TNIV are roughly midway between the ESV and the NLT.

From this graph, I’d have to say that Kevin and Peter were each about half right, respectively…

8 thoughts on “Translation Comparisons…

  1. Thanks for the graph. I think it supports my main point, which is that the ESV is closer to the NRSV than the NIV. The ESV and the NRSV overlap on your graph. This result surprised me when I first bought the ESV, because the ESV people at the SBL were adamant about the fact that the ESV was not like the NRSV (a translation they don’t like).

  2. I’m curious about this graph. Is there some significance to whether translations differ in the X rather than Y directions? Is there some significance to what is on the left versus what is on the right? Left seems to be more formal and right seems to be more dynamic, but is that just a result of choosing an arbitrary reference point?

  3. There is not significance as to whether a translation is on the left or right necessarily. The algorithm organizes the translations based on word difference. There is no central point, or, perhaps you could say that each translation is its own central point.

  4. Have y’all been over to Rodney Decker’s site? He has a pretty thorough analysis of the ESV in comparison to the NIV. His conclusions are that they are closer than many people realize. You should go over and have a look see.

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