I have found a new version of the Bible that I can read with delight. It is at the opposite end of the spectrum from the more literary kind of Bible that some have been discussing. And yet, is it? It is not like the New Living Translation, which adds significantly to the text. It is, in fact, surprisingly literal.
The footnotes are careful and explanatory. At SIL, translators are always taught to look for both a model and a base (source) Bible translation. Of course, the base/source should really be the Greek New Testament. Otherwise, it should be a very literal Bible like the NASB, the RSV or the NRSV.
However, what about a model? Often the Living Bible was proposed as a model. But we have just seen that the NLT inserts words into the text to assist in clarity, and in some cases to promote a particular interpretation of the Bible. In the Easy to Read Version, available here, fewer words are inserted into the text.
Here is 1 Cor. 7:7 which I blogged about recently.
I wish that all were as I myself am.
But each has a particular gift from God,
one having one kind and another a different kind. NRSV
But God has given each person a different
ability. He makes some able to live one
way, others to live a different way. ERV
But I wish everyone were single, just as I am.
But God gives to some the gift of marriage,
and to others the gift of singleness. NLT
I wish that all of you were like me,
but God has given different gifts to each of us. CEV
It is clear that making a translation readable does not mean that you have to add words to the text. The ERV is a Bible which, along with the CEV, might respectably provide a model for translation into a minority language. The limited vocabulary makes it ideal for working in a language that has not had a previous Bible translation.
I was particularly interested in the history of the ERV. It was developed first for the Deaf, since the Deaf have a more restricted repertoire of English vocabulary and grammatical structure than oral speakers of English.