Epistles of Thomas

July 17, 2007

Those mysterious Bible translation changes

Filed under: Translation — Thomas @ 22:30

In my previous post I mentioned that the ESV had recently updated its text without announcing it. This is hardly the first time this has been done but it troubles me. I was recently married and I had asked a friend of mine to read a passage from Ephesians at my wedding from the New Living Translation. I sent him the reference and the text of the verses cut and paste from Logos. He emailed back and said that the text I had sent was different from his NLT but he had printed it out and would read from that. I realised that Logos has the second edition of the NLT whereas he had the first edition. Little attention was called to this update and a quick search on Amazon shows that some subsequent printings are labelled as a second edition (0842384898) and some are not (1414309473). These subtle changes are introduced to improve the translation but they also cause confusion because two people with different versions think they are reading the same translation. I would like to call on publishers to announce when they are making changes to their published translations and keep people informed as to which version they are reading. The International Standard Version (ISV) does a good job of this by publishing their text with version numbers similar to software. They have released version 1.4.2 but unfortunately Logos still has only version 1.1. I suppose it is a lot of work to encode a Bible in Logos and not worth the trouble to update it until a major revision is released at some point in the future.

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