It was a great day, that convention day they announced that the New World Translation now was to be released in the Norwegian language. First the Greek Scriptures in 1991, and in 1996 the whole Bible. Finally we too were able to read the best translation ever made!
I was all over it from the beginning. And in the back of the Bible (on the 2nd page after the last chapter of Revelation), I found a small text with some explanations. The same explanations can be found also in the English NWT, but the Norwegian text is less extensive, as it only contains these small paragraphs:
- Capital letters (where English needs to separate "you" and "you", Norwegian needs to separate "theirs" and "yours")
- Brackets/double brackets
- Accentuation marks
It was the second paragraph that really puzzled me. The brackets. In the English NWT the explanation says:
BRACKETS: Single brackets [ ] enclose words inserted to complete the sense in the English text.
The Norwegian text do not say exaclty the same, but says something like this:
BRACKETS: Single brackets [ ] enclose words inserted to reproduce the sense from the "original text" more complete in the Norwegian text.
(* I don't know the correct English word or term for the "reconstructed original texts". In Norwegian: grundtekst; German: Grundtext)
But no matter how thoroughly I looked through my NWT, I could not find one single bracket. I found a couple of double brackets, but no single bracket. Nothing. I thought it was strange, but after a while I stopped thinking about it.
It was not until after I left the org. that it hit me. I was looking in the Kingdom Interlinear. And, wow, did I see brackets! They were all over the place! Almost on every page I looked, there was a word enclosed in brackets. But why were they nowhere to be found in my Norwegian translation?
Did they remove the brackets? The Norwegian NWT is indeed a secondary translation, translated from English, not from the "original texts". So they translated from the English text, but failed to notice the brackets?
I'll give you one example (the marked word is the word "inserted to complete the sense in the English text"), John 7:46:
(English NWT): The officers replied: “Never has [another] man spoken like this.”
(Norwegian NWT): Betjentene svarte: «Aldri har noe annet menneske talt på denne måten.»
So you read your English NWT, and understand that something was inserted here, because of the brackets. But when I read my Norwegian NWT, I do not get that understanding at all? I feel really fooled!
Why did they do this? One question is of course if the word should be inserted there in the first place. But when you translate this text to another language, and remove the brackets? Yes, brackets do look stupid in a Bible. But if they felt that way, why didn't they remove the whole word with it?
Did this also happened to other translations of NWT?