Since the Bible is God’s holy Word, translators have a heavy responsibility to provide accurate and reliable translations. Leland Ryken asserts that Bible translation should be essentially literal—any translation violating how language is dealt with in everyday life as well as in scholarly pursuits cannot be based on the right theory. Ryken describes the translation principles that make for reliable English Bible translation, looks at common translation fallacies, and offers principles for good translation. He probes the theological, ethical, and hermeneutical issues involved and surveys difficulties with modern translations.
“The process of translation has been used as the occasion to do all sorts of things with the Bible that we would never tolerate with literary documents as they exist in their original or native language.” (Page 30)
“But there is a crucial difference between linguistic interpretation (decisions regarding what English words best express Hebrew or Greek words) and thematic interpretation of the meaning of a text.” (Page 85)
“A translation is inadequate if an expositor needs continually to correct it.” (Page 219)
“The author’s own words are reproduced, figurative language is retained instead of explained, and stylistic features and quirks of the author are allowed to stand as the author expressed them.” (Page 10)
“The person who almost single-handedly changed the course of English Bible translation was Eugene Nida, who championed his theory of ‘dynamic equivalence.’” (Pages 12–13)
Leland Ryken (PhD, University of Oregon) served as professor of English at Wheaton College for more than 43 years. He has authored or edited more than three dozen books, including The Word of God in English, The Complete Literary Guide to the Bible, The ESV Literary Study Bible, and A Complete Handbook of Literary Forms in the Bible. He is a frequent speaker at the Evangelical Theological Society and served as literary stylist for the English Standard Version.