C. S. Bartholomew: The quality of the Loeb translations is all over the map. Some are nearly useless as a crib. quote
In an earlier stage of my learning Greek, when I was heavily dependent on translations, I used to get very frustrated at some of the Loebs because some of the translations were so free that they were useless in helping you unpack the Greek. It seemed to me that if you took the trouble to print a facing translation, why not make that as literal possible? I used to wonder--I guess I still wonder--who the intended target audience of the Loebs were. I assume that most people get the Loebs to focus on the Greek and only use the English when they need help unpacking the Greek. Such people would not really care that the translation be readable, good English, only that it be super-literal. I guess, on the other end of the spectrum, some Loeb readers actually read the English and only look occasionally at the Greek to identify a Greek word or two here and there--dabblers, that is, in Greek, who maybe can only read the alpha-bet. For these people, I understand, you would simply want a good English version.
When you read a good commentary, often to unpack a difficult Greek sentence or construction, they will give you a very literal English rendering. This is the idea behind a crib, but now that I think about it, I have never seen a complete Greek work with a true complete crib, that is, an entire translation that is designed to be nothing BUT a crib. Even for the Greek New Testament, where you would think such an idea would be attractive to learners, I don't think such a thing exists. Has anyone seen such a thing? I don't use English (or French) translations at all anymore, but my learning experience would have been better with better cribs, and I'm thinking of ways to help others who go down a similar path. I happen to think, by the way, as an ardent foe of Grammar-Translation, that cribs are less harmful to learning Greek than meta-language, which I have also said goodbye to. (A simplified Greek paraphrase, which can be considered to be a different type of crib, is to be preferred when practical.)
The other thing about the Loebs about which I have griped publically is that the font is too small. I guess some people like the idea of the books being small, but if you simply reprinted some of the popular Loeb editions in a larger size with larger fonts, I be you would have a best seller. The Budes that I have seen (to get back to the topic
) do have larger fonts, if I remember correctly.