At the end of my last series “Search for a formal translation”, I mentioned that I will be blogging on translations that take an intermediate approach between formal equivalence and functional equivalence. I have decided that this new series will compare the TNIV, HCSB, and the NAB. Intermediate equivalence is not a technically correct term but I will use this term because it best describes my intent to compare translations that stand between word-for-word and thought-for-thought translation philosophy.
I have also seriously considered using the International Standard Version (ISV) but this translation is not yet complete so I will hold off from using it for now (but I will refer to it from time to time). I have also considered the Revised English Bible (REB) but it still tends to lean toward a purely dynamic translation philosophy so I will not include this translation. Another factor in not using the REB is that it is not a popular translation in North America. It is more widely read in the U.K. I have never seen it sold on the bookshelves of any bible bookstore, or at least the ones I have been to. I wanted to do a comparison of bibles that are widely read in North America. Perhaps, it was for this reason that my third option defaulted to the NAB. Originally, I did not even intend to have a third option .
The Today’s New International Version (TNIV) has made improvements over its predecessor, the NIV. These improvements are changes based on biblical scholarship in other areas other than gender-inclusive ones. Even though the NIV still seems to greatly over-shadow the TNIV, I believe the TNIV will be better received by evangelicals in the near future. It will take some time for evangelicals to accept the TNIV’s gender-inclusive language and overcome the criticism it has faced for being gender-inclusive. This criticism is unfair but this should be expected because the NIV has such a huge readership of conservative evangelicals. It is always difficult to come out from under the shadows of a behemoth.
The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) is more formal than the TNIV but still falls within the intermediate range of word-for-word and thought-for-thought. I have to admit that my personal preference is the TNIV but I’d have to say that the HCSB is also very reliable. It is a very good translation because its scholarship is very good. Like the NIV, HCSB translators started the translation from scratch. Any translation that starts from scratch deserves recognition for the hard work put into this huge task. The work is enormous and I applaud its translators because they deserve it.
One may wonder why I decided to include the New American Bible (NAB). The market size of the NAB is not large in comparison to the NIV. It is probably a little larger than the NRSV, but not by much. It is read by an overwhelming majority of Roman Catholics, perhaps even 90%, within North America. Interestingly enough, the New Jerusalem Bible is most popular with Catholics outside of North America.
I believe intermediate to functional equivalent translations will always be more popular than formal translations. The ordinary bible reader will prefer reading a translation they can understand with relative ease. Hopefully, after by the end of this series, one may be able to see the differences between the various intermediate translations.
- Also see related posts on mediating translation comparison—TNIV vs HCSB vs NAB: The search begins || #1: Romans 4 || #2: John 20 || #3: Acts 2 || #4: Acts 2b || #5: Matt. 10 || A Conclusion