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I will also be posting this in the Christianity site but I don’t feel like it fits very well in either category. If you can think of a better stack exchange site please let me know.

Some background: My grandmother was born in Japan just before WWII but married an American sailor in her youth and moved to the US, where she has lived for the past 60 years or so. She is a devout Protestant Christian, but as far as I know she converted when she moved to the US or shortly before then (I have never asked) and has therefore never seen the Bible in her native language. I want to get her one for Christmas, as I think that would be very special for her but I don’t know anything about Japanese translations of the Bible.

The problem: I’ve read that there are two main translations, the 新共同訳聖書 (NIT) and the 新改訳聖書 (NJB). The NJB is supposed to be more widely used among Protestants, but it’s also apparently a more literal translation and I don’t want to give her a Bible that’s clunky or obscures the meaning. I also don’t want to give her a Bible that is Protestant because of a bias in translation. On the other hand, I like the idea of a the NIT because it is more ecumenical, but not if it was made that way by deliberately translating it more ambiguously. I also know that translating to Japanese always requires some interpretation, so I like the idea of a less literal translation, but I don’t want to give her one like the Message which is very heavily interpreted to the point where it is more of a commentary.

Thanks for you help.

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  • I think there's a Stack Exchange for Bible readers? Anyway, it's an interesting question. I think it's also important for you to understand the linguistic background of your grandmother. Is she more familiar with English or Japanese? I have a bilingual background and my head hurts when I read the Bible in my mother tongue. I use JCB which is like MSG or NLT so I don't think I can help you a lot choosing between NIT and NJB. – rebuuilt Dec 3 '20 at 4:17
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    I don't think it's strictly in the scope of the main site, but both groups recently published new revision of each: 新改訳2017 and 聖書協会共同訳. The latter has a reputation that the Japanese fluency is greatly improved. – broken laptop Dec 3 '20 at 7:34