A Journal for The Contemporary Church

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When translation lapses into interpolation: the case of the ESV


The passage from one language to another always involves interpretation. Those producing the new translation look for words in the receptor language that will best interpret and convey the meaning of the original text. At times, however, they can be tempted to go beyond the wording of the text to add interpretative interpolations, for which there is no basis in that original text. Several translations of 1 Timothy 5:22a (‘do not be over-hasty in laying hands on anyone’) serve to illustrate this persistent defect. They show the misplaced technique of interpolation at work.
This example opens the way to examine the rendering of two important passages from Romans (5:9b and 11:28a). In those cases the English Standard Version (ESV) joins other translations by lapsing into interpolation.

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