Originally Posted by HarryT
Please understand that I am not denigrating your very evident concern over this. What I'm struggling to understand is how, with so very, very many translations of the Bible out there, any given one of them can be regarded as being an authoritative text, since they are all different. Or are they all authoritative? Is this typographical convention for the various forms of the Hebrew name of God something that they all do in the same way? I don't read Hebrew, only Greek, and the matter doesn't arise in Greek because the word for "God" used in both the Septuagint and the New Testament is just "theos", which is an ordinary everyday word, and exactly the same word you'd use if you were talking about one of the "classical" gods.
Actually the typographical convention for LORD is used in almost all modern translations. It is the expected norm to refer to the different Hebrew words for God.
There are two major methods used in translations: Maintain to the extent possible the exact source language converted into English and Maintain to the extent possible the exact meaning in the target language.
The first results in a stilted and difficult to read translation that doesn't flow but is good for study when you don't know the source language. The word order is rearranged to match the target language. There are even Interlinear versions that translate only the words without rearranging the word order at all. There is still some interpretation used because a single word in the source language can be translated using different words in the target language and sometimes the target language has no such word.
The second results in a better flow but understanding the thought requires more interpretation of the source. However if you were translating a manual that you expected someone to follow to fix an airplane you would certainly want this method of translation. It is certainly much plainer and easier to read.
Are both authoritative? None are inspired and contrary to some beliefs the Bible wasn't originally written in the KJV. Languages change over time and the various versions sometimes reflect this difference in that they themselves reflect the language when they were translated. There are proponents of both translation methods and the idea of paraphrasing to get the meaning has dropped out of favor. Even the New Living Bible has been changed to a translation. If you compare the various versions you will find that they all say almost exactly the same thing once you allow for word changes and style. All the major doctrinal issues are the same in most versions. It is subtle insight that can vary. Every time I read my Bible I get some new insight out of it. There are some versions intentionally translated with a point of view in mind but I am not talking about those.