A while back I was involved with the Common English Bible‘s blog tour “Thank you, Come Again, I promise.” it was three months long and during that time I was able to give away free copies of the new translation. Well, I kept track of each person who received a book and I decided to back and look them up and she how they were enjoying the bible.
The next person was Alberto. Alberto is a you man who is a sales rep for AT&T
Me: Alberto, how are you liking the bible?
Alberto: I really like this translation because it’s “easier” to read. But I have one problem with it. Transliterated and theological words and terms. If a non-church goer read this version, they would be able to understand more than most translations but would question some of these foreign words. Or, the trouble would be certain images would be conjured up from these terms based off experiences or what they where taught. For example, baptism. Some people would think of what Catholics do for babies. Or Christ, a last name? Or church, a building? I’m not asking for a paraphrase as much as making the meaning more clear only for these theological/transliterated words.
Me: Do you have an example?
Alberto: It’s littered thought the new testament. If (the translators) went far enough to make “son of man” (into) “the Human One,” why not immerse/dip/wash for baptize? Or the Chosen One/Anointed One for Christ? Or community/congregation for church?
Me: Ok, I see what you mean. Do you think changing up the insider language would take it a step further towards a “common English” bible, or do you think it would start taking steps toward a paraphrase like The Message?
Alberto: Good question. What makes a translation a paraphrase? Where’s the line? Is it changing a word to more than three words to make the meaning more clear, like an exchange rate? Again, I like the translation, but to call it a common English transaction is questionable. The words may be English, the meaning can be diluted if meaning is lost die to trying to keep it limited to word for word.
Me: So would you use the CEB in your day to day reading, or do you prefer something more familiar?
Alberto: I’m using it for the rest of this year for my reading bible plan. I don’t know why, but I especially love it more in the Old Testament.
Me: Thanks Alberto!