Poor Translations Vs. Poorly Translated Verses

Perhaps instead of talking about poor translations, we should talk about poorly translated verses. When we criticize a translation we don’t criticize the whole thing but rather a bunch of verses that we don’t like. So why don’t we talk like that?

The ESV is a bad translation because…

The NLT is a bad translation because…

No. There are poorly translated verses in the ESV. There are poorly translated verses in the NLT (sorry Keith). All translations have them, but we tend toward mass judgments against a whole book rather than a single verse. Textual critics look at units of variation one by one, users of translations should too. No textual critic makes a judgment on a manuscript based on a single error.

Until you’ve gone verse by verse through an entire translation, don’t call it “bad” or “poor.”

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