As mentioned yesterday there are four kinds of approaches used by modern Bible translators, but two of them are dominant*: formal equivalence and functional equivalence. Today I want to share a few powerful arguments for preferring formal equivalent translations (word-for-word) over functional equivalent translations (thought-for-thought).
Arguments for Preferring Formal Equivalent Translations:
1. Formal translations are more faithful to the original languages.
2. Formal translations use the only translation philosophy known to scholars prior to the middle of the 20th Century.
3. Formal translations protect the reader from translators’ opinions and biases.
4. Formal translations are more theologically precise.
5. Formal translations seem to sound and feel more majestic and beautiful.
6. Formal translations allow you to interpret the meaning.
7. Formal translations have a longer shelf life.
8. Formal translations tend to showcase the various styles of the Bible writers better than functional versions.
These arguments are not necessarily proven truths. They may be challenged by proponents of functional equivalence, just as formal equivalence adherents will challenge the veracity of many of the arguments made by functional equivalence advocates. Monday we will present some of those arguments made by those who favor functional equivalence.
What about you? What is your thoughts about these arguments? Do you agree or disagree? Do you prefer a formal translation? If so, which one? Did I neglect to mention any good arguments for formal equivalence?
*Since paraphrases should not considered legitimate for primary use and study and should be relegated to supplementary usage, and since optimal equivalence is a new approach utilized, to my knowledge, by only one modern translation (HCSB), then it should be no surprise that the battle over which translation theory is superior is between formal and functional equivalence.