Translation Tag

As the discussion on the upcoming NIV 2011 revision has continued, I've been thinking more about translation issues in recent days. (I should mention at the start that my counsel to people who ask for translation recommendations is to recommend having several, and several from different translation philosophies. I usually recommend some mix of the NASB, NIV, NRSV, and ESV; usually a look across several translations gives a good range of potential meaning.) But on the subject of translation theory, a few subjects have dominated my thinking the last few days: 1) the role of theology (both ancient and modern) in shaping a translation, 2) the problem of specialized terms both in the source language and receptor language, especially theological terms that have a long history and a lot of baggage, and related to that problem, 3) the potential benefit for a "glossary" or something like it for any basic Bible translation. A fourth and unrelated problem I've been thinking about for quite some time has to do with sentence structure (especially Greek vs. English) and the problem of verses for a translation. I'll deal with these one-by-one, starting today with an initial post on the role of theology.
Word is out (see the Better Bibles Blog, for example) that an updated version of the NIV will be released in 2011. Mark Goodacre (and a happy 6th anniversary of blogging to Mark) and others have already noted their hopes that the NIV finally drop "sinful nature" as a translation of σάρξ (sarx), which means "flesh." As Goodacre notes, this translation of such a key term "makes [the NIV] unusable as a translation for teaching Paul," a sentiment with which I strongly agree.