Language changes translations

Why so many bible translations? It is a question many ask, and Paul Franklyn has a response: “Every generation needs to go back to the source and put the Bible in the English idiom for themselves.”

Franklyn is the associate publisher for the Common English Bible and led the translation team on the project.

“Our language has changed a lot in the past 30 years,” he says, “due to a digital revolution, the replacement of institutions in our society, and the mingling of cultures around the globe. That’s what we did with the CEB — for the whole church of Jesus Christ.” Franklyn responded to questions from Church Executive.

Among all the contemporary translations, how is the Common English Bible (CEB) different and fills a felt need? What is uncommon about it?

The CEB is unusual in several respects. First, it takes into account the past 30 years of accurate biblical scholarship, since the major best selling translations (NIV and NKJV) appeared. It does so without depending on the King James vocabulary that is still so dominant in current translations such as the RSV (which is the source of the ESV) or the NRSV.

Second, women constituted 34 percent of the CEB translation teams. This is the first major Bible translation to include women on the translation teams. Third, the translators and editors came from 24 denominations, which is much larger than earlier projects. This participation helps guard against bias in the translation.

Fourth, the use of contractions in the translation is evidence of how we actually speak the English language. As a subtle touch, notice how dialogue is set in paragraphs, rather than combining spoken parts in a single paragraph. This helps with readability.

Do we understand that at least six other editions will be released in August?

Go to the website where there are 20 editions available for personal use and in church settings. The CEB Deep Blue Kid’s Bible: Dive Deep Into God’s Word is coming in August 2012, and the CEB Study Bible will follow in fall 2013

— Ron Keener


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