Originally the Old Testament was written in ancient Hebrew, a language substantially different from the Hebrew of today, the 39 books that make up the Old Testament were completed by approximately 500 BC. By The End of the first century AD, the New Testament had been completed which was written in Greek and preserved on Papyrus. In the early days of Christianity the Hebrew Old Testament was read in a Greek translation, which was called the Septuagint. Parts of the books of Daniel and the Gospel of Matthew may also have originally been written in Aramaic.
As Christianity spread the Bible was soon translated into Coptic, Latin, Arabic and Syriac, by 500 AD translations could be found in over 500 languages.
The Roman Catholic Church banned further translations as they did not want ordinary people reading the Bible. Instead the Church only used Vulgate, a Latin text which had been translated from the Greek version in 600 AD, only priests were educated to understand Latin which gave them power as nobody could question their Biblical teachings.
The first English translations were made by John Wycliffe in 1380 and by 1455 Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press and mass production capabilities made additional English versions and other translations easily available.
There has been an estimate of 450 English translations with some of the most well-known including:
1. The New International Version which is a completely new English translation based upon Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts which were originally published in 1973. This version is the most commonly used as it is more easily understood since being updated in 2011
2. The King James Version, this begun in 1604 by the Church of England and was completed by 1611. However this version is not as commonly used as the New International version because the language is difficult to understand.
3. The New King James Version was published in 1982 and begun in order to upgrade the language of the King James version whilst keepings its poetic literary style.
4. The English Standard Version was originally published in 2001 and was updated in 2007; the translators used a similar translation philosophy as the King James Version.
These versions are usually categorised in the following:
1. Literal translations which translate the original text word for word into the best English equivalent. These types of translations can be difficult to read because the flow of language follows the original Hebrew and Greek, which is very different to modern English.
2. Dynamic translations which translates the original text by restructuring sentences and grammar. These types of translations are intended to capture the thought and intent of what the writer wanted to say, these are therefore easier to read but have a higher degree of subjective interpretation than the literal translations.
3. Contemporary translations which translates by paraphrasing the thought and intent of the original text into contemporary English. These types of translations are easier to read but the text is largely a subjective interpretation of the translator.
Not every word has a direct match into another language so cannot be translated word by word, therefore every translation requires interpretation. In order to translate accurately, it is important that the translator interprets the original meaning and then finds the equivalent wording. All translators should translate into their mother tongue to ensure accuracy. Wordtrans have a wealth of skill and experience in producing quality translations with the understanding that it takes more than just knowing a different language to become a quality translator.
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Mr. Knopf made one statement that we conclude to be probably inaccurate:
In the early days of Christianity the Hebrew Old Testament was read in a Greek translation, which was called the Septuagint.
The general thought that is usually presented is that in the first century, the Jews read the Old Testament in Greek rather than Hebrew, and that Jesus and the apostles used the Greek Septuagint. While it is possible that the Jews may have had some Greek translations of the Old Testament, we highly doubt that those earlier manuscripts are what we today call the Septuagint. Additionally, we also highly doubt that Jesus and the apostles were quoting from the Septuagint. See our study: