Here is a worthy definition: “Translation is the interpreting of the meaning of a text and the subsequent production of an equivalent text, likewise called a ‘translation,’ that communicates the same message in another language.” In our case the Bible was recorded in Greek (New Testament) and Hebrew (Old Testament), with a few chapters in Aramaic (Old Testament). Producing an equivalent text in English is what results in our Bible translations.
We all want a Bible that shows fidelity to the original text and clarity in our language because we want to know exactly what God has revealed to us. So, what is the problem? Wallace says, “Idioms and colloquialisms in a language need to be paraphrased to make sense in another language.” In addition, some translations attempt to distinguish themselves by incorporating a measure of paraphrase to enhance readability. The degree to which this paraphrasing is done leads to some debate.
The King James Version
The most famous translation of all time is the King James Version of 1611, a product of scholars from Oxford and Cambridge. Due to the passage of time and the discovery of thousands of additional biblical manuscripts, the need arose for fresh translations; all languages change over time. The English Standard Version (2001) is a successor in the tradition of the King James Version. Other notable translations include the NET Bible (1996), the New International Version (1978), the Holman Christian Standard Bible (2004), and the New American Standard Bible (1963).
Because of their greater fidelity to the biblical text, translations are the right tool for a Bible student or growing Christian.