There has been a lot of discussion about the 2011 NIV update. For many, the update is disappointing for the fact that it changes the text with which they are so familiar. It is disappointing for me that the translation that I have grown up with and used as my primary Bible is officially out of print. From now on only the 2011 updated NIV will be printed. Some are alarmed by the more gender inclusive language in the updated NIV. Some see entire meanings of verses changed in comparison to the 1984 version and this alarms them.
To me, the philosophy of the NIV translators is something that makes complete sense. The committee on Bible Translation of the NIV says that “We are passionate in our pursuit of the NIV’s core philosophy – the desire to mirror, as closely as possible, the reading experience of the original Bible audience. When the books of the Bible were first written, they let people hear exactly what God wanted to say in language that was natural and easy for them to understand. Standing with our predecessors in the work of translating the NIV, this is the experience we strive to reproduce for the Bible readers of our time.”
In summary, the philosophy of the NIV puts great priority on mirroring the meaning of the original Bible audience which of course means that the translation will try to be as clear and readable to us as possible. This means that in the NIV we will not find a “word for word” translation but more of an “idea for idea” translation. It makes sense to me, as someone who speaks 3 languages, that a “word for word” translation is never a good option for true understanding and readability. I am still investigating the 2011 NIV Update but so far I like what I have seen.
The webinar on their website gives a great overview of the NIV translation philosophy in more detail and deals with their desision on making some of their texts more gender neutral.