My copy of the new LDS edition of the Bible in Spanish arrived yesterday, one of the 750,000 copies printed recently (according to a contact I have in the Church department that prints these materials). So I thought I would pass on my impressions.
I’m not going to dive into any details about the quality of the translation, since I don’t feel qualified to do that (I’d hesitate to do it even in my mission language, Portuguese, despite the fact that I regularly translate in that language and speak it on a daily basis). But I do have some thoughts about the design and footnotes of this edition.
The first thing I noticed when I opened this bible for the first time was the size of the type. It seems huge. It looks like it is perhaps 14 point, where my english edition is more like 10 point type. I’m sure that the designers had good reason for this, but for me it was a little annoying. I prefer more compact type, all else being equal. In the end this is probably the largest factor that makes this edition about 25% longer than the English edition (I do know that Spanish tends to be somewhat longe than English — but its not 25% longer), despite the fact that the page size of my English edition is substantially smaller. All in all, this makes this edition much larger and heavier than the non-LDS Spanish edition that it replaced. [For what its worth, the previous Spanish edition I purchased from the Church is 1157 pages in a slightly smaller page size. The new LDS edition is 1997 pages.]
I did like some parts of the design. The overall feel is lighter and more airy than either the English or the previous Spanish edition, and I love the fact that poetry is rendered as poetry (seen in Pslams, Proverbs, the Song of Solomon, and scattered other places). In other respects, the design is essentially the same as the LDS English edition.
In terms of content, I expected that the notes would be basically the same, and that the Bible Dictionary/Topical Guide we are used to in English would have some equivalent in Spanish (The Church has provided a combination of these two, called the Guía para el Estudio de las Escrituras), but I was surprised to find that it was not included in this edition of the Bible! The chapter headings do seem to be straight translations of the headings in the English edition, as expected.
I was also surprised when I saw noticeably fewer footnotes than in the English edition. Pulling a couple of chapters at random, 2 Chronicles 12 has 7 footnotes in English, but just 5 in Spanish. And Isaiah 19 has 29 footnotes in English and just 16 in Spanish. Thinking that perhaps this was because in Spanish the explanations of terms weren’t as necessary, I worked through Isaiah 19 note by note, and found that 13 references to other scriptures were omitted in Spanish that were there in English and three references to articles in the Topical Guide were left out that were there in English. In terms of expanations of the terms used in the scriptures, English had 7 more than Spanish, but two Spanish explanations were present that weren’t there in English, and the Spanish edition included a reference to a scripture that wasn’t in the English edition. I do realize that some of the references we see in English are connected to language, but I never expected that to account for so many references not being included, and when I think about it, wouldn’t there be references in Spanish that are connected to language that would be included when they are not in English?
Despite these surprises and differences, I am glad to see this ediion, and I am sure that it will be a boon to members of the Church that speak Spanish, even if they know English also.
I’m interested to hear what the rest of you think, especially anyone who feels like they can comment inteligently on the choices made in this translation. If you don’t have a copy of the Spanish edition, the text and footnotes are now available on the Church’s website.