The New Living Translation
Differences between Translations (Part 2)

Sentence Structure (part 2)

Before moving on to other topics, I thought I’d take another look at the issue of sentence structure–and even paragraph structure.

One would think that all translations would use more or less the same paragraph structure as is found in the original texts. The problem is that the original texts do not have paragraphs as we use them in English, so paragraph breaks become a matter of interpretation by the translators.

For example, look at Eph. 5:18-24. Where should a new sentence or paragraph (or even a whole section) begin? In the Greek text, the grammatical structure suggests that this section is all one long sentence–ranging from “don’t get drunk with wine” to “wives, submit to your husbands.” Nonetheless, the editors of the UBS Greek text (which is the basis for most modern translations) created a new sentence and a new paragraph at 5:21. Take a look at any English translation; I don’t think you’ll find a translaton with only one sentence in this section.

Here are the divisions in various English translations (grouped by families):

KJV 4 sentences; paragraph break at 5:21
NKJV 4 sentences; paragraph break at 5:22
ASV 4 sentences; paragraph break at 5:21
RSV 5 sentences; paragraph break at 5:21
NRSV 5 sentences; section break at 5:21
NASB 4 sentences; section break at 5:22
ESV 4 sentences; section break at 5:22
NIV 7 sentences; section break at 5:22
TNIV 6 sentences; section break at 5:21
NLT 6 sentences; section break at 5:21
HCSB 4 sentences; section break at 5:22

Is your head spinning at all of the options? And who says Bible translators shouldn’t have to make judgments in translation?!

2 Responses to “Differences between Translations (Part 2)”
Anthony
11th September, 2009 at 7:04 pm

Sirs, thanks for a splendid translation, in many ways.
I do have a question. You carefully say that YHVH is rendered LORD and that Lord (capital plus small letters) represents the Hebrew Adonai. Why, then, do you break your rule at Ps. 110:1 where you render the Hebrew adoni, my lord, as though it were adonai, Lord?
Consistency with your own policy requires 'my lord' not 'my Lord.'

Anton Walton
28th October, 2009 at 9:21 pm

NASB would have to be the closest to non-judgmental complete literalness.

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