Literal or dynamic translation?

This seems to be a fair statement of the translation process when considering Bible versions:

Here a snippet:

But what about words in translation? First, it is important to understand that there is almost never a one-to-one correspondence between any word in one language and a word in another language (especially when one of the languages is ancient).

Words have meaning only in context. There is no such thing as a word-for-word translation. The old attempt at putting words in italics that were not in the original language was inconsistent and fed a misconception that a one-to-one correspondence was possible, while the very presence of such inserted words negated the idea. It is appropriate that, as far as I know, all the major versions published in the last few years, including those that style themselves as literal, have dropped that artifice.

Having said that, I can’t say the execution of the dynamic equivalence translation always works. I think the marketers (if not the author) of, for example, The Message call it a translation rather than a paraphrase, and that work falls far short of an accurate version. I’ve read the NLT very little, mostly in the OT, and have liked what I’ve read so far. But I have no basis for judgment.

I liked what our brother and NIV translator Jack Lewis wrote, I think, in his English Bible from KJV to NIV, that one can learn the truth from all the major versions. Are there biases? Absolutely. But none so pervasive that one can’t discern the truth in them.

I’m not a linguist, but as the fluent speaker and student of a second language, I do understand a bit, be it ever so small, about how languages work. Because of that, I’ll not bash the versions, but get the best of what each has to offer.

J. Randal Matheny

Be pithy.

What do you think?