In the coming days I will begin listing my top 5 favorite Catholic Bible translations in English. Before I begin, however, I want to list three considerations which will be factored into my rankings:
1) The five translations that I have chosen to rank are the Douay-Rheims, NABRE, New Jerusalem Bible, New Revised Standard Version-Catholic Edition, and the Revised Standard Version-Catholic Edition. The rankings are limited to these five, since all of them come in Catholic editions and are easily available. This would exclude translations like the ESV w/Apocrypha, which does not come in a Catholic edition, and the original Jerusalem Bible, which is not easily available in its original edition. I should also note that I will consider the RSV-CE and the RSV-2CE as one translation, since the work Ignatius did was simply to eliminate archaic langauge and make the occasional change to a possible rendering due to theological or liturgical needs/desires. In the end, it is the same translation, certainly not equivalent to what they did with the ESV.
2) I just want to emphasize again that this top 5 is from my own perspective. I am sure many, if not most of you, will disagree with me, which I accept and in some ways expect! My perspective is formed by my own use of these translations for personal study and devotion, as well as my experiences teaching at the high school and leading Bible studies.
3) I will be "judging" these translations in four specific categories: 1) Translation philosophy; 2) Readability; 3) Available formats; 4) Miscellaneous issues. Translation philosophy will briefly look at how formal/literal a translation each is, with my preference for a reasonably formal translation, along with considering the use of archaic and inclusive language. Readability is probably the most subjective of the categories, since it will analyze how a translation has been used, in my experience, for longer sittings of reading as well as public reading. In this category, I will also look at the consistency of the translation from Old to New Testament. The third category will examine the available editions for each translation, including page formats, covers, styles, and the use of textual notes/cross-references. The final category will cover miscellaneous issue, like a translation's use in the Liturgy and scholarly books, it's ecumenical background, and considerations on what the future holds for that particular translation.
While I am sure few will agree 100% with my thoughts, I figure this will spark a nice conversation during the usually quiet summer months. Stay tuned.