New Testament Translators’ Handbooks Now Available
I'm pleased to announce the release of an Accordance edition of the United Bible Society’s New Testament Handbook Series, a twenty-volume set of commentaries designed to provide practicing translators with “valuable exegetical, historical, cultural, and linguistic information” to help them render the New Testament text in other languages. This will obviously be a welcome resource to the many professional translators who rely on Accordance, but the UBS Handbook Series is also a fantastic resource for the rest of us.
The UBS Handbooks differ from other commentaries in that they don't just stop at analyzing the meaning of a passage. Instead, they go one step further to suggest the best way to convey that meaning in a target language. That's not just the kind of help professional translators need; it's the kind of thing every preacher and teacher of the Bible must do. For each phrase or expression in the text, the UBS Handbooks will suggest specific wordings, caution against renderings which might lead to misunderstandings, show how a literal rendering might actually be misleading, etc. Since preachers and teachers are looking for clear ways to explain the meaning of the text to contemporary Bible readers, these discussions are immediately applicable to the teaching task.
Another advantage the UBS Handbooks have over other commentaries is that they cannot just focus on the major aspects of a passage while glossing over the minor points. SInce a translator must know how to render every single phrase of a passage, even minor expressions receive serious attention. If you're preaching on some minor aspect of a passage, you may find that these handbooks offer more help than more traditional commentaries.
One of the most surprising things about these commentaries is that they are much more accessible than you might expect. After all, their primary audience is professional translators who must have an in depth knowledge of the original Greek. These commentaries could easily have been written for that level of technical expertise, but happily, they're written at a level anyone can understand. Commentary begins not with the Greek text, but with a typical English translation of the text. The structure of the underlying Greek is usually dealt with indirectly, and when it is discussed explicitly, the Greek text is transliterated.
The UBS Handbooks list at $600 but are currently on sale for just $199.99, and can be downloaded directly to your Mac or iOS device. You can order them here.