My specialty is not translation theory, nor have I read much of the ESV.
All I'm pointing out is the perspective that "chang[ing] as little of the text as possible" in my opinion represents a poor understanding of translation.
Quite simply, the desire to "change as little of the text as possible" is a desire that comes not from good translation theory but from a theological assertion regarding not altering the exact words of holy scripture as we have received them. I'm just wanting to call a duck a duck. I don't mean to call it a bad duck.
The problem is that in a translation you, by nature of the work, introduce interpretation. Thus when reading a translation you reading someone else's interpretation of what the original work says. In the case of the Iliad or the Odyssey or any other work of that nature, wrong interpretations don't affect how you live your life or what you believe God is saying to you, so you want as readable a translation as possible and interpretations aren't of great concern. With the Bible, I'm not sure I agree with that approach.
Some would say the best translation is the one that is most readable in English, but then theologically difficult passages have been decided for you before you even begin to read. The reason for trying to stay as close to the original languages as possible is to leave the tough interpretive decisions up to the reader. No one is arguing for word for word translation or as literal as possible, because you lose meaning that way as well. If we were, we'd all be advocating Young's Literal Translation and looking for an update that fixes some of the Hebrew tenses and such...
All translations are a tradeoff. The ESV is a very good translation, that is generally very accurate. At the same time it is not perfect. I guess that's why we take the time to learn the original languages. Still, I'd like to find a translation that I could recommend to everyone as "the best" and as of yet, I haven't found it.
Edited by mythrenegade, 12 July 2007 - 05:35 PM.