This version has been prepared to meet the special needs of the deaf. Whether it is published as the English Version for the Deaf or the Easy-to-Read Version, the text is the same. Hearing persons learn English largely through oral conversation. However, for the deaf, this experience with language is severely limited. Children, people who learn English as a foreign language, and many others face similar difficulties in reading. This specialized English version is designed to help such people overcome or avoid the most common obstacles to reading with understanding.
One of the basic ideas that guided the work on this version was that good translation is good communication. The main concern of the translators was always to communicate to the reader the message of the Biblical writers as effectively and as naturally as the original writings did to people in that time. The translators worked to convey to their special audience the meaning of the Biblical text in a form that would be simple and natural. There are several special features used to aid understandin
Unique ways of translating for Deaf readers
In the process of helping Deaf readers understand the same message of the Bible as hearing readers, the translators had to formulate the text in a different way. Here are a few examples of different formulations:
• Mark 4:23
New International Version: If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.
EBD: If you understand what I say, then you must do what I say.
• 2 Samuel 12:19
NIV: David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves,
EBD: David saw that his servants talked behind their hands
• Romans 10:9
NIV: If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’
EBD: If you say with your mouth or hands that you believe ‘Jesus is Lord,’
• Psalm 140:3
NIV: They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips.
EBD: They say things that hurt other people. Their words are dangerous like the poison of snakes.
• Proverbs 20:12
NIV: Ears that hear and eyes that see – the Lord has made them both.
EBD: The Lord has given some people ears to hear and eyes to see. They must use them to listen and look.
• Psalm 55:1
NIV: Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea.
EBD: Oh God, please listen to my prayer. Don’t look away when I am begging You for help.
• Acts 11:1
NIV: The apostles heard about this
EBD: They told the apostles about this
Necessary to translate understandably
The process of speech reading which Deaf people have to use every day in communicating with hearing people forces them to make an intelligent guess as to what speakers could have said for all the letters that can not be read accurately from the lips of speakers (which can be as high as 70%). This method of guessing is often used by Deaf readers and applied to words that they read but do not understand. Therefore the translators had to formulate the text in a way that would be understandable for most Deaf readers, even in texts where other translations sometimes admit that the source text is not fully comprehensible.
The translators of the EBD had to go further, and with the help of commentators and theologians, had to make a choice for the most probable explanation or formulation of those texts, rather than to leave it to Deaf readers to try and make something of the text on their own. The translators had to use this principle also in texts that could seem to be contradictory, or that do not make sense to the Deaf, because this could make them believe that they have misunderstood something that they have read and could result in their doubting something in the text that they did understand correctly. Here are some examples of how texts were formulated:
• John 13:23
NIV: One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved,
Problem: It seems as if he was the only one that Jesus loved.
EBD: The disciple that Jesus loved very much
• John 12:7
New Revised Standard Version: She bought the oil so that she might keep it for the day of my burial.
Problem: She did not keep it to the day of his burial. She opened it that evening.
EBD: She kept this perfume to anoint Me now for the day that they will bury Me.
• John 19:31
NIV: They asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.
Problem: They would not have died if only their legs had been broken.
EBD: They asked Pilate to tell his soldiers to break their bones (footnote: killing them by breaking the skull).
• Mark 12:25
NIV: When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage;
Problem: This does not answer the question of the people. This answer says they will not get married in heaven, but the question in the story was about the people who were married on earth before they died.
EBD: When people rise and live again, they will not be married and they will not marry.