“The Voice” Translation of the Bible revisited

My friend and blog reader Diane Beason recently commented on the post I did a couple of weeks ago on “The Voice,” a new Bible translation from Thomas Nelson Publishers. Diane provided a link to a short video on the blog site of Michael Hyatt, the Chair of Thomas Nelson. Hyatt describes the video this way:

I interview Frank Couch, Vice President of Bible Translation at Thomas Nelson and David Capes, who is the Thomas Nelson Research Professor at Houston Baptist University. These men guided the translation process of this project.

You can view this site and video here.

In the interview, there is a revealing discussion of the need to copyright a Bible translation. New translations are “intellectual property.” They are the product of an investment of “sometimes tens of millions of dollars” which must be recovered. Frank Couch estimates that it takes 4-6 years in print to recoup this investment. For a major project that may be incurring costs for 5-10 years before any revenue is realized, it is easy to see that a commitment from a major publishing house is required.

Couch contends that The Voice is “dramatically different” from any other English translation available. This includes format, translation/transliteration philosophy, use of italics to indicate supplied words, etc. Capes points out that a primary objective of The Voice was not “did we get the right word,” but “did we get the story right.” Couch also notes that the project was careful to use people from a variety of theological traditions and educational backgrounds. It also used poets as consultants on poetic Bible passages, and musicians to help with Bible texts that were originally set to music. A goal that was shared was to allow readers to “step into the story of Scripture.”

An interesting aspect of this is the production of a deluxe, leather covered edition of The Voice. All the leather covers are produced through a church in Buenos Aires where there is extremely high unemployment. Each cover is hand made and unique. That is very cool! This leather version is now available on a pre-order basis through Amazon,

I must admit that this all whets my appetite and I will be getting a copy of The Voice soon. I do not know what place it will hold in my own reading. I doubt that it will be suitable for teaching or preaching. It seems to me to be a fresh rendering with an almost in-text “study Bible” notes feature added through the italicized supplied words. Since I share deeply the philosophy of avoiding transliteration as a half-baked, misleading way to go from source text to target translation, I am open to The Voice in unique ways. More to come in a later blog (I promise).

Mark Krause
Nebraska Christian College

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One thought on ““The Voice” Translation of the Bible revisited

  1. Hey, thanks for the mention! I’ll be interested to see what you think when you get it. I agree – I would probably use it in the same way that I use The Message. Interesting to read and get a different perspective, but I won’t teach from it. Keep up the great work – I enjoy reading your blog! (And tell Susan I said hi!)

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