Good luck with that, man. Every translation, by its very nature, involves some bias and interpretation on the part of its translators.
Just as a small example, the passage in Isaiah that's often seen as a prophecy about the birth of Jesus says that either a "young woman" or a "virgin" will conceive. I doubt any Jewish translators would opt for the latter, given a bias against Christian interpretation. Few Christian translators would opt for the former, since it's been viewed for over 2000 years as phrophetic. Which translation is more "literal" is a debate that can't be won. When you use the word "literal" is it more important to understand what the words themselves mean, or what the human author meant by them? In that sense, saying any translation is more "literal" than another is on the verge of meaningless.
That's one plus for Islam, which claims that no translation of the Qur'an is authoritative. But then, the texts of the Qur'an are significantly more recent than either the Hebrew or the Aramaic/Greek scriptures.
One problem I've found is that many older Bible translations into English (and therefore public domain) didn't have the benefit of comparison and revision to be in accord with older, original manuscripts that had been discovered after they were published. Of course, there are always those who say that the KJV is the literal word of God since all the more modern translations disagree with it. ;-)
I tend to take exception with the WEB translators' position on "drop-outs" as they call them. Many of the newly-found, older manuscripts that have been discovered are significantly shorter than those used by the translators of years past. The logic of the WEB group is that a scribe would be more likely to miss a line here or there, causing a drop-out, than adding one in later on. This simply isn't true. Many scribes added glosses to the text for further explanation, filling in gaps for the curious, or even for devotional use (such as the "for thine is the kingdom...." ending to the Lord's Prayer.) These eventually found their way into older English Bibles and were seen as actual parts of the scriptures--something that was never intended. My personal view is "the shorter, the better" or at least, more authentic.
Translation is always a dangerous business. And I'd hate to have the job of a scriptural translator. Talk about pressure!
Last edited by beartard; 08-11-2007 at 03:32 PM.