Where do you Spot Check Translations?

I was reading Jim West’s review of the NLT Life Application Study Bible. I’m sure Isaiah 7:14 wasn’t the only place he read from, but it did appear to be a place he spot checked.  I was wondering if others have places that they spot check when checking out a translation. I know that I do. I particularly like to check out Isaiah 53.11 on account of an important textual variant there.   It is interesting to see how different translations handle the verse, but better yet whether or not they use a note to explain their translation (i.e. whether they include the word “light” or not). This is one of the reasons I began to like the NRSV more. I do not agree with their inclusion of the word “light,” but they explain in a footnote why they do so and on some difficult translation issues offer alternate possibilities. I also like to use places like Genesis 1.1, Isaiah 7.14, and Ecclesiastes 1. Where do you spot check and why?

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  • you’re right- i normally do a number of ‘soundings’ when i’m checking out a translation. is 7:14 is an obvious choice as what one does there says a lot about one’s translation strategy. john 3:16 is useful for the same reasons; ps 23 is a good place to check; revelation 1 is another very useful place to look. and there are others.

  • Ummm… John 1.1-18, 1st John 1-1-4, Acts 2, Genesis 1.1, Psalm 137,

    The book of Ephesians.

  • Those are some more good ones. Never really thought about checking translation by Psalm 23 until recently, but I have noticed that some of the modern translations want to follow older translations. I can’t think of any reasons for them doing this other than sentimental ones.

  • Aside from the above, I also check Ps 139.8 for their rendering of שְׁאוֹל

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