Prior to the turn of the 20th century, most texts were translated using an approach called “formal equivalence,” but since then, another approach has been gaining in popularity: “dynamic equivalence.”
From Wikipedia: “Dynamic equivalence and formal equivalence are terms for methods of translation coined by Eugene Nida. The two terms have often been understood as fundamentally the same as sense-for-sense translation and word-for-word translation, respectively, and Nida did often seem to use them this way.”
In an article on Yahoo Voices, Zachary Fruhling further explains these two terms as follows:
“Formal equivalence means that the translator has attempted to give a word-for-word translation from the original language into English, and has tried to capture the grammatical structure of the original language as well. The result in English can be very stilted and artificial, but the words, terms, and concepts have been rendered as faithfully into English as our language allows. Dynamic equivalence, by contrast, attempts to capture the intended meaning behind the original language as well as possible without overt concern for the original terms or structure of the source scripture. Most Bible versions will fall somewhere between these two extremes, combining elements of both translation methods; although most Bible versions can be placed generally into one or the other methods, to various degrees.“
The King James Bible would be a good example of a translation by formal equivalence, although the translators did, at some points, use dynamic equivalence when a word-for-word translation would have caused a significant departure from the original meaning. In order to find a balance between faithful interpretation of the original language while not losing sight of the important meanings inherent in the text, the translators of the KJV not only looked at the original texts in Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament), but they also checked to see how other translators handled certain passages. Many scholars believe that the KJV is primarily influenced by the Tyndale version judging by similarities between the two, but the translation team (47 scholars and clerics in 6 teams based at Oxford, Cambridge, and Westminster Abbey) had been instructed to be guided primarily by the Bishop’s Bible. The reason for this is that King James wanted “to guarantee that the new version would conform to the ecclesiology of the Church of England. Certain Greek and Hebrew words were to be translated in a manner that reflected the traditional usage of the church. For example, old ecclesiastical words such as the word 'church' were to be retained and not to be translated as 'congregation'. The new translation would reflect the episcopal structure of the Church of England and traditional beliefs about ordained clergy.”
I pray that you will feel the strength and comfort of God’s everlasting arms in your life today.