Word Servants goal is to produce the most accurate English Bible translation possible. Accuracy is pursued by following detailed instructions derived from biblically based principles, which should govern the translation of the word of God uniquely. Traditional committee translators, aspiring to any paraphrase or word-for-word ideal, must maintain a low standard of accuracy, since translation is not strictly governed by objective, shared, scriptural instructions defining the task.
So, this ongoing effort to identify and maintain objective standards of practice subject to criticism, to obtain a more accurate word-for-word consistency throughout. This commitment to valuing accuracy above all else is motivated by the conviction that one cannot represent the truth verbally apart from the right words in good order.
Biblical Commands, Warnings, and Principles for Scripture Translation
Deuteronomy 4:2 “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.
Deuteronomy 12:32 “Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.
Deuteronomy 17:18-20 “Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. “It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left, so that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel.
Psalms 12:6 The words of the Lord are pure words; As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.
Proverbs 30:5-6 Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.
Matthew 4:4 He then answering said, “It is written, ‘Not on bread alone shall man live, but on every word going out through the mouth of God.’”
1 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture, God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for education in justice, that fit may be the man of God, for every good work outfitted.
Revelation 22:18-19 I testify to everyone hearing the words of the prophecy of this book, if any adds to these, God will add to him the plagues written in this book; and if any take from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take his part from the tree of life and out of the holy city of the writings in this book.
Instructions for Scripture Translators Based Upon Biblical Principles
Translate a word from the original Greek to the target language as nearly as possible. Let the reader interpret the words in their context. Let the translator refrain from making interpretive decisions for the reader. Add no words to the text of Scripture. Do not insert what may be implied by the text into the text. Give the reader what Scripture says, not what the translator thinks it implies. Let the reader discover for himself the implications of what he is reading.
Translate one word from the original with one word to the English whenever possible, preserving as nearly as possible original word meaning, order, and nuance, even if the translation sounds common, even somewhat awkward. Since it is a translation, it will bear the marks of a translation. Remember that the Greek of the New Testament is koiné or common Greek, so do not try to elevate the level of the language, nor try to make the translation sound better than the original. Neither lower or dumb-down the language. Translate all and only, neither adding to nor taking away from, the words of Scripture.
Where original grammar and syntax in their natural word order will do duty in English, let them. Scripture was written to be read out loud, whether speech, narrative, letter, or history. As words pass to and through the mind of the reader to an audience, with inflection and pauses in chronological order, meaning is communicated in real time. Pay respect to these real features of language communication as you are translating.
Preserve ambiguity or double entendre from the original to the English. Where there is ellipsis in the original, let there be ellipsis in the target. Indicate ellipsis with “…” or a comma. Again, translate what is in the original, not what you think should be there.
Translate a singular with a singular, a plural with a plural whenever possible. If a word is collective in the original, make the English word also collective, again whenever possible.
Footnote only to preserve meaning that cannot otherwise be preserved.