ESV Updates – 2011

Apparently when I wasn’t paying attention, the Translation Oversight Committee (which works on the English Standard Version of the Bible, aka ESV), made a few light changes to the ESV.  They are outlined here.  The changes are generally minor, emphasizing better English and more accurate word choices.  Thankfully, such clunkers as “Here am I” have become the more natural “Here I am.”  And the thoroughly archaic “make merry” has become “celebrate.”  But the TOC could still cut a little deeper on the translation to make it a better product.  (Frankly, this is a strength of the Holman Christian Standard Bible over the ESV: its clear, concise [and sometimes iconoclastic–that is, breaking with tradition] style.)  While I still like the ESV, the TOC could keep combing through the translation to make it smoother and more natural (without losing its traditional and literary sound).  Here are some quick, general suggestions:

  • Lose the vocative O’s;
  • Lose the reverse negatives (e.g., “rejoice not,” or “fear not”);
  • simplify some of the sentences in the epistles to fit English syntax;
  • be more consistent with language for human beings (e.g., men, man, people, brothers, etc.);

Any others I’ve missed?

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2 thoughts on “ESV Updates – 2011

  1. Zach,
    Sometimes the “O” is nearly indispensable. For instance, the NIV2011 renders Deuteronomy 6:4 as “Hear, O Israel.” And lots of times it addresses God as “O God.” Most of the time, though, the vocative O only adds an archaic touch. The HCSB has done well to delete the O’s and update the language. A good example of deleting O’s is the NIV2011’s translation of Psalm 130:1: “Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; Lord, hear my voice.” Instead of, “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; O Lord…”

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