There are many steps of review, involving a large number of people. These are standard procedures in the process of developing each book of the EHV.
- A translator prepares a draft of the book based on the Hebrew or Greek text. There is already a lot of review built in to this first step. The translators consult many resources from across the span of the Christian church, using the collective knowledge of the church that has been accumulated in translations, commentaries, and other resources. The translators invite further evaluation by sometimes leaving several options in the translation for editors and reviewers to consider. Translators mark these and other passages in which they are inviting critique with red print.
- The editor reviews the draft, checking it against the EHV rubrics. He corrects typos, etc., which he notices, and may mark additional passages in red in order to draw reviewers’ attention to them and he may offer more options for certain translations.
- Four technical reviewers evaluate the translation comparing it with the Hebrew or Greek text.
The reviewers work independently, so we receive four separate evaluations of the translation.
Reviewers are told: Red text means “consider all the options to see if this is the best we can do.”
a. If you think that what is in the red is fine, you can change it to black.
b. If you think the red should be improved, but you don’t have anything better, leave it red.
c. If you have a better translation to offer (either for something that was red or something that was not), substitute it into the text in blue. Briefly explain why your translation is better than what was there. What was weak about the old translation? What is better about yours?
d. If you correct typos or punctuation, etc., mark them in blue, so that they all get transferred to the master.
e. Please consider carefully passages that are more well-known or more quoted than others.
Though the main duty of tech reviews is to check the accuracy of the translation against the original text, they also consider:
a. Would this be appropriate and clear for use in our regular worship services?
b. Would this be appropriate for use in Bible classes?
c. Would this be appropriate for quoting in the catechism?
d. Would this be appropriate for private devotions of laity?
e. Last but certainly not least, are there any doctrinal considerations or concerns to be aware of?
4. The editor enters data from all the tech reviews into the master. Some suggested improvements are accepted immediately without further discussion. Where there are different options suggested or even contrasting opinions, options are left for further discussion with the reviewers.
5. When there is a marked difference of opinion (whether it involves substance or style) the specific issue may be submitted to a panel of reactors in order to gather a wider cross-section of opinions. In a few cases, a question may be submitted to all the followers of our newsletter.
6. We are always checking for the desired level of consistency across books, but in the case of parallel books like Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, there is special attention to a process of harmonization of translations across books.
7. When this process has been completed, the translation is sent to a larger number of popular reviewers. They are reading the translation largely for clarity and readability, but they are free to raise questions about issues of substance.
8. Again, all the information is collated in the master and decisions are made.
9. An English professor critiques the translation for correctness and clarity, including the clarity and helpfulness of the footnotes, and further changes are made to the text.
10. Proof-readers/popular reviewers (often ten or more per book) read the text for errors but also make comments on clarity. Some focus on professional-quality proofreading of the mechanics of the text. Others read the text as part of their devotions and focus on the clarity of the text.
11. The translation is submitted to the publisher for set up. It receives additional proofreading both by the staff of the publisher and by additional volunteer proofreaders from the EHV.
12. Our review process includes pastors, teachers, and laypeople, the future users of EHV.
Many published reviews of Bible translations seem to be based on having one person read and report on a portion of the text. Their suggestions are sifted by a small committee and evaluations and recommendations are issued. In our internal review a minimum of ten people review every section of the text. We have seen many review processes in which reviewers and even translators do not have a guide book that expresses a unified philosophy of translation and a set of guidelines to assist all reviewers. At every stage of the process EHV reviewers have a 30+ pages set of rubrics to aid them in their review. The latest edition of the rubrics is always posted on our web site. (Our reviewers of course are welcome to challenge any guidelines or rubrics they disagree with). When the EHV translation has been completed, users will have a fairly lengthy handbook which explains the philosophy and the individual decisions underlying the translation.
What about external review? We already receive helps and evaluation from outside our immediate circle. When the translation is complete, we will welcome suggestions from external reviewers. Just as Lutherans have been welcomed to comment on translations that originated in Baptist or Reformed churches, EHV, which had its starting point in Lutheran churches, will welcome users of EHV from other churches to help improve the translation.