(ABP) — Eugene Nida, a pioneer in the theory of modern Bible translations in the 20th century, died Aug. 25 in a Brussels hospital. While not a household name, Nida, 96, influenced Bibles in millions of homes.
Working with the American Bible Society and United Bible Societies, Nida developed the “dynamic equivalence” approach to Bible translation. Also called “functional equivalence,” the method translates the original biblical languages in order to convey the thoughts expressed rather than rendering it word for word.
The revolutionary idea led to the American Bible Society's 1976 Good News Bible and 1995 Contemporary English Version. It also influenced other prominent translations, such as the New Living Translation.
Nida’s influence extended beyond English Bibles as he led in the formation of the United Bible Societies in 1946 and trained translators in the method, making Bibles accessible to millions of people who speak various languages around the world.
While intended to make the Bible more easily understood, dynamic equivalence has its critics. This summer the Southern Baptist Convention criticized the New International Version for translating male nouns and pronouns in many verses into gender-neutral language.