For the next few weeks, I’ll do a side-by-side comparison of the New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE) and the Revised English Bible (REB) for the second reading each Sunday. This will be a chance to compare a strongly literal translation like the NABRE New Testament with a much more dynamic translation like the REB. In my experience, these two approaches to translation yield the most stark differences in the New Testament letters. As the translators continue to work on revising the NABRE New Testament, it also provides a chance to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the current translation (which was completed in 1986).
Some of the questions I continue to ask myself are: to what extent should a translator “clean up” awkwardness in the original language? St. Paul’s letters are full of shorthand expressions and run-on sentences. If we want to be faithful to the original text, should the English translation reflect those grammatical quirks? How much should readability and ease of public proclamation influence a translation? I hope these comparisons can generate some interesting discussions on those issues!
Sunday, June 17th, 2018 — Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:6-10
So we are always courageous, although we know that while we are at home in the body, we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yet we are courageous, and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord. Therefore, we aspire to please him, whether we are at home or away. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.
Therefore, we never cease to be confident. We know that so long as we are at home in the body we are exiles from the Lord; faith is our guide, not sight. We are confident, I say, and would rather be exiled from the body and make our home with the Lord. That is why it is our ambition, wherever we are, at home or in exile, to be acceptable to him. For we must all have our lives laid open before the tribunal of Christ, where each must receive what is due to him for his conduct in the body, good or bad.