Culture At Large

Switching Chinese Bible Translations

Chris Salzman

The Midlands College and Divinity School Blog talks about some of the roadblocks he faces in convincing his Chinese friends to use a newer better translation of the bible:

over the last ten years I have tried and failed to encourage numerous Chinese friends to make use of the recent and much superior Chinese New Version (CNV - previously known as the New Chinese Version, NCV). Since its launch in 1992, the CNV has won the plaudits of many scholars but apparently failed to make any real inroads into the popularity of the CUV. Several other modern translations are also available (e.g TCV) but these have likewise been ignored. Why is this? And what do English speaking Christians have to learn from this?

I suggest these reasons for Christians wanting to keep to the older, less helpful CUV: 1) an unwillingness to change from what they’re “used to” 2) an ignorance of the existence of better versions 3) a feeling that old-fashioned language is somehow more holy (must have Chinese equivalents of thee and thou) 4) a sentiment that the choice of version is not very important (but we must get the latest worship CD!) 5) a desire to use the most popular text among fellow believers

Of these, the last is reasonable since it’s easier to follow sermons or studies when using the same Bible but even this is not a great argument. After all, if we all stuck to that principle we’d never change our translations and English readers would still be using the Wycliffe Bible of 1382.

See any parallels between the Chinese experience and the American?

I recently switched from an NIV to a TNIV and haven't really noticed that much of a difference However, I'd imagine the jump the KJV to the TNIV would be substantially harder. How often do you change translations? Ever?

HT: Kouya

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