I think I've hit upon an important project that I could pursue for the coming year: I'm going to publish an annotated volume of Herman Wouk's epic novel War and Remembrance. The book was published in the year 1978, and I figure that there must be a tremendous need for someone to decode all of the archaic language from way back in those ancient days in order to make Wouk's work accessible to modern readers.
Balderdash? Nonsense? You bet it is. So is the announcement that the New International Version translation of the Bible needs to be updated.
There is no good linguistic reason for an update. Yes, language changes over time. But language doesn't change THAT much over the span of a mere thirty years. Especially not with regard to the Bible. Yes, "google" is a verb now, and the NOUN (as fits this context) didn't exist in 1978. Yes, we have words that have entirely passed into and out of English usage since 1978 (some friends picked on me recently for employing the word "Balkanized," which meant nothing in 1978 and apparently means nothing in 2009). But none of those words appear in the Bible, nor should they.
The vocabulary and grammar employed in preparing a translation of the Bible has not changed enough in thirty years for normal Bible readers to notice or care. To state that Bible translations have to be updated from time to time is not the same thing as having a compelling case for updating a translation after a mere thirty years. If you can't put together a translation of the Bible that can last for at least a century, then, in most cases, you've done a rotten job.
There is no good textual reason for an update. The field of textual criticism simply hasn't generated so much new information in the past 31 years that we need to have yet another revision of Bible translations.
Apart from a linguistic reason or a textual reason, among the reasons left standing is the economic reason. New translations boost Bible sales. That's a reason for Zondervan to produce a new translation.
Of course, you'll need to ask yourself whether it constitutes a good reason for you to buy one.