New International Version (NIV)
The NIV is a highly accurate and smooth-reading version in modern English. It is the best balance between word-for-word and thought-for thought translations (See Translation Continuum diagram). The translator’s purpose in the translation was to “produce an accurate translation, suitable for public and private reading, teaching, preaching, memorizing, and liturgical use.” (quoted from http://www.zondervan.com)
New King James Version (NKJV)
The NKJV is written in modern English, making it easier to read than the King James, while retaining the familiarity of the 17th-century sentence structure. Authors used the original KJV as a benchmark, while working to produce an accurate and modern word-for-word translation without the old English “thee’s” and “thou’s” and archaic English words (See diagram).
New Living Translation (NLT)
The NLT is a very readable translation. It uses vocabulary and language structures commonly used by the average person. Translators were involved in bringing the classic Living Bible from its status as a paraphrase to a thought-for-thought translation of Scripture (See diagram). These scholars and stylists went back to the original languages and sought to produce the closest equivalent of the message in contemporary English.
New American Standard, Updated (NASB)
The NASB is a highly respected formal translation of the Bible that is more readable than the King James Version. The NASB is very much a word-for word translation (See diagram). The translators’ purpose was to update the American Standard Version into more current English.
This is an easy to read, modern language paraphrase and is completely thought-for-thought (See diagram). The Message converts the original languages into the tone and rhythms of modern-day American speech while retaining the meaning of the original languages.