A “Remarkably Good” Translation
ACCORDING to one count, as many as 55 new English translations of the Christian Greek Scriptures were published between 1952 and 1990. Translators’ choices mean that no two read alike. In order to assess the reliability of the translators’ work, Jason BeDuhn, associate professor of religious studies at Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff, Arizona, U.S.A., examined and compared for accuracy eight major translations, including the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses. The result?
While critical of some of its translation choices, BeDuhn called the New World Translation a “remarkably good” translation, “better by far” and “consistently better” than some of the others considered. Overall, concluded BeDuhn, the New World Translation “is one of the most accurate English translations of the New Testament currently available” and “the most accurate of the translations compared.”—Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament.
BeDuhn noted, too, that many translators were subject to pressure “to paraphrase or expand on what the Bible does say in the direction of what modern readers want and need it to say.” On the other hand, the New World Translation is different, observed BeDuhn, because of “the greater accuracy of the NW as a literal, conservative translation of the original expressions of the New Testament writers.”
As the New World Bible Translation Committee acknowledges in the foreword to its work, it is “a very responsible thing” to translate the Holy Scriptures from their original languages into modern speech. The Committee goes on to say: “The translators of this work, who fear and love the Divine Author of the Holy Scriptures, feel toward Him a special responsibility to transmit his thoughts and declarations as accurately as possible.”
Since its first publication in 1961, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures has been made available in 32 languages plus 2 Braille editions. The Christian Greek Scriptures of the New World Translation, or the “New Testament,” is available in an additional 18 languages plus one Braille edition. We invite you to read God’s Word in this modern and “remarkably good” translation, perhaps in your own language.