Chinese finally gets its first Bible translated directly from Greek and written in modern style

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Really, Chinese never had a direct translation from Greek until now? I had no idea a language that large was until now relying on a translation from English.

“Our goal is that Chinese Christians would read this translation and love it,” said Phill Burgess, executive director of LifeWay’s Holman Bible Outreach International. “The translation that Chinese Christians have been using up to now, the Chinese Union Version, was translated into Chinese from an English copy in the 1920s. The language in that translation is archaic. This one is easier to understand since it relates to the modern Chinese language.”
I'm not having any luck finding samples of this translation compared to the other one though; anyone have a good link? I'm especially interested in how words such as Hades have been translated.

Matthew 16:18 for example from the Union Version is as follows:

我 還 告 訴 你 、 你 是 彼 得 、 我 要 把 我 的 教 會 建 造 在 這 磐 石 上 . 陰 間 的 權 柄 、 不 能 勝 過 他 。
My translation: I turn and say to you, you are Peter, I will have you build my church on this rock. The gates of Hades (lit. shadow space) cannot conquer him.

New International Version: "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it."

Luke 16:23 also has the following:

他 在 陰 間 受 痛 苦 、 舉 目 遠 遠 的 望 見 亞 伯 拉 罕 、 又 望 見 拉 撒 路 在 他 懷 裡 .
My translation: "He was tormented in Hades, raised his eyes with eternal hope and saw Abraham, and also Lazarus by his side".

NIV: "In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side."

So there's a big difference in meaning there, where the Chinese word once again means Hades (dark place), whereas the word Hell in English usually brings about images of fire and brimstone.


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