Translators Consulting other Translations

Regarding the consultation of other Versions in his own translation work, Jerome says,

Sed de Hebraeo transferens, magis me Septuaginta Interpretum consuetudini coaptavi: in his dumtaxat, quae non multum ab Hebraicis discrepebant.

(But when translating from the Hebrew, rather I joined myself to the knowledge/experience of the 70 translators [i.e. the Septuagint]: precisely in the places which were not differing much from the Hebrews.)

With the launch of the NIV update, some scholars are wondering whether the editors should have scrapped some of the readings of the previous NIV all together. It is interesting that Jerome had a very common sense criterion for the use of other Versions in translation: when they don’t differ much from the Hebrew. It stands to reason, therefore, that if modern scholars can trace gross mistranslations back to previous versions, which do not convey the Hebrew sense well, that they should indeed attempt a new translation of the source text. This principle seems consonant with the Reformation, and Luther and Tyndale seemed to follow it well. What is the church to gain by preserving bad or worse misleading renditions of the original text?


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