Friday, January 20, 2017

Today's Topic: Translation Websites

Within the past year, a couple of new websites have come online to support a particular translation.  I would point you to the NLT-CE and CSB (formerly the HCSB) as excellent examples of interactive and regularly updated websites that one might actually go to on a regular basis.  (I would also recommend the Vulgate-Douay-Knox site by Baronius, which while being a helpful resource, remains pretty static.)  The NLT-CE and CSB sites are also supported on social media, like Facebook and Twitter.  

My question to you is whether or not you think some of our favorite translations, like the NABRE, RSV, NRSV, or even the Knox, would be better served with an interactive website with regular content?  If so, what content might you like to see?


CWBuckley said...

I recommend

Gives searchable, parallel texts in Greek, Knox, and Vugate

Unknown said...

I'd love to see hyperlinked Haydock commentary in a Knox/Douay parallel. Something like how the Truth&Life app does things.

Honestly, I think the T&L app is about the perfect layout for a digital Bible (online or via app).

Mark D. said...

I think that translations that undergo more frequent mini-revisions can benefit from having a strong presence online and in social media, to get feedback from readers, critiques from scholars and to try out different possible micro-revisions of the text. Translations like the NRSV and the NABRE are more fixed translations -- they don't undergo the process of micro-revision, for good or ill. So, those of us that use the (overwhelmingly excellent) NABRE are struck with certain renderings ("holy Spirit" in the 1986 revised NT, "young woman" in Isa. 7:14 of the revised OT) that if found in a different translation (like, say, the NIV) would rapidly get changed via a process of micro-revision.

Biblical Catholic said...

Honestly, I am inclined to think that the 'microrevision' that you refer to is a dishonest process. Readers don't know what they are getting, because changes, even some fairly significant ones, are not announced.

Look at the NIV. First released in 1978, it underwent minor revisions in 1984, and that 1984 text remained the most popular modern translation on the market for more than 25 years despite Zondervan's repeated attempts to replace it, first with the 'Inclusive Editon' in 1996 (which barely sold) and then with 'Today's New International Version' or TNIV in 2005.

Instead of pulling the 1984 edition from the shelves when the TNIV was released and making the new version the only one available like most translations do, Zondervan tried keeping both editions in print.

After 4 years of the TNIV being outsold by the 1984 edition, Zondervan decided that enough was enough and announced that the TNIV was being pulled from the market. Two years later, there was a 'revision' of the NIV that was announced and released but without significant fanfare.

The new 2011 'NIV' is pretty close to identical to the TNIV that was widely rejected by Bible readers. The difference is that the cover now says simply 'NIV', and there is no indication anywhere on the cover or in the notes that the NIV text that is now in stores is substantially different from the 1984 text. The only way you could possibly tell that there have been revisions is to look at the copyright date on the first date, way in the bottom in the fine print and see that the text was copyrighted in 2011 and not 1984.

To change the text of the Bible, with no indication anywhere that the text has changed except in the copyright notice, which most people don't bother to look at, strikes me as being dishonest. A bait and switch.

If you're going to change the text, you have an obligation to inform readers of this fact before they buy it, and not try to sneak in the changes and hope no one notices.

Timothy said...


Kent G. Hare said...

^^Most DEFINITELY Truth.

As far as online Bibles go, I make a great deal of use of the RSV-CE at . The text is keyed to citations in a wealth of Church documents, commentaries, etc.


Mark D. said...

All the more reason why translations that regular undergo micro or macro revisions should keep up a website & social media presence. But for versions that are revised less often & with more fanfare, a website & social media presence is less helpful.

Anonymous said...

Though a bit of searching around needs to take place, check out the Vatican Congregation of the Clergy Biblia Clerus website:

Includes RSV (1966), along with commentaries from the Church Fathers and other sources, and a whole lot of other wonderful material.


Bob Short said...

If you're a fan of the Jerusalem Bible(s), and beautiful-ish but very confusing websites, I have got the bible translation website for you...

I still am completely unsure of what the Bible in Its Traditions is going to be on a practical level--a hyperlinked online thing?

I suppose when the Jerusalem bible was originally released in English, the translation was kinda an afterthought. I wonder if this will be the same.

Erap10 said...

Say whaaaaaaaaatt? They ACTUALLY changed the name? Well, I think it is a good change to drop the H from HCSB. That way, it doesn't obviously sound like an economically beneficial endeavor for one particular publishing house.

Biblical Catholic said...

"All the more reason why translations that regular undergo micro or macro revisions should keep up a website & social media presence."

I guess my point is that posting this stuff on social media is not enough, only a fraction of the possible audience will ever see it. It really needs to be made clear on the book itself, on the cover if possible, they don't necessarily need to adopt a new name with every edition, but there should be some indication, say 'English Standard Version 2007 printing', right there on the cover, so that people know that the text has changed, and changed fairly substantially in some places, since the first printing in 2001.

Jason Engel said...

First, to clarify, I do not appreciate frequent updates to a translation. Maybe once every 25-30 years to keep up with new discoveries, scholarship, and changes in English; but not every 3-5 years.

That said, I must argue it is very inaccurate to state that the publishers of the NIV, ESV, NLT, NASB, etc etc, are sneaking things into the text and being deceptive (I pick these four as examples because they have made the most changes to their text in the last 15 years). Complete lists of all changes are published online both by the publishers and by external groups that want to debate the changes. Also, Zondervan, Crossway, and Tyndale will send a complete list of changes between editions in print form to anyone who contacts them requesting the list (I did that with Tyndale when they updated the NLT in 2013 and 2015). The copyright page of every NIV, ESV, NASB, & NLT I've owned clearly specify the year in which the text within was updated and in most cases all the prior years of updates. These changes get debated - sometimes hotly - on numerous forums. Protestants care intensely about the content of their Bibles and are keenly aware of differences between updates.

The only publisher I am aware of that I would accuse of being sneaky is Oxford with it's anglicized update to the NRSV in 1995 (a translation it does not own, unlike the translations/companies I mention above). The changes they made to the text have never been documented publicly. Fortunately, the original US text is still published today alongside the UK variant.

Sneakiness? No. Poor scholarship, sloppy editing, greedy marketing? Yes, those are probably more accurate accusations.

Biblical Catholic said...

What percentage of potential Bible buyers regularly visit Bible blogs or the web pages of major translations? I would say that it is probably no more than 10%.

What percentage of potential Bible buyers look at the copyright notice of a Bible before they buy it? Again, I think it is probably no more than 10%.

Let's look at the ESV. It has undergone three revisions since its first publication in 2001. It underwent minor revisions in 2004,2007 and again in 2011.

Crossway has posted a list of the changes at their web page. But this was done only after they received criticism for not being open about what changes were made.

I don't see why Crossway can't just put the fact that there on the cover. Why should readers have to do research to find out if it has been revised?

Why can't it be right there on the cover "English Standard Version 2011 Printing'?

The most popular Spanish language translation is the Reina-Valera. Every copy of the Reina-Valera has the edition right there on the cover "Reina-Valera 1960" or "Reina-Valera 1995:, I can't see why American publishers can't do the same thing.