I was about to post the following as a new topic, but since it seems relevant to this, unanswered question, I'll put my thoughts here. It will bump this thread up and see if we can get some answers!
Strict biblical literalists believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and that every word should be seen as literally true.
All well and good, but there is one clear problem here. Bibles are translated into hundreds of different languages, and within a widely spoken language like English, there are dozens of alternative translations. In many cases, it probably makes little difference to the meaning which tranlsation you use, but there are some passages which can be interpreted quite differently depending on your choice of version. This was highlighted in the Genesis topic, when a difference in tense between the King James' and New International Version could be seen to reorder the events described therein. How to select which translation gives the correct story?
Something I've often heard people discuss is the fact that one translation or another is more closely based on the original text. This, however, raises another problem. Whar original text? No such beast survives, and it seems a matter of some debate which language some books of the Bible were written in.
The oldest surviving complete manuscripts we have of the Old Testament are in Greek, and date to the fourth century - long after the originals would have been written. We have earlier fragments in Greek, though none older than the second century. The oldest complete Hebrew texts are from several centuries later than the Greek ones, altough we have some fragments as far back as 150 BC in the form of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Even there, though some of the scrolls contain slightly different texts than others. Even of we can accurately determine who's making the most careful translations, paying most attention to the original text, how do we decide which 'original' text they should have been paying attention to.
If you believe that God is omnipotent, and takes an active role in human affairs, then it doesn't seem unreasonable to argue that he is perfectly capable of ensuring accurate copies of the Bible survive, and of inspiring translators to produce accurate interpretations, just as he inspired the original authors. Fine. But, if this is true, it's also abundantly clear that he didn't prevent others from producting their own, inaccurate translations at the same time. On what basis can a literalist determine which version of the Bible is the right one?
Language is a matter of canon, as well. The Council of Trent declared the Vulgate to be the only canonical Latin translation for the Catholic Church, for example. Answering the question 'how do we know these particular books are the ones divinely inspired?' is a closely related question to 'how do we know which particular translation is divinely inspired?'
As far as I am aware most modern Bible translations have only gone through a single translation
A single translation from what, though? From the Vulgate, itself a translation from some not-clearly identified Hebrew source with the help of some Greek commentary? Or from the Septuagint, translated possibly more than once from an unclear source? Or from the Masoretic text, claimed to be the 'original' version but actually more recent than either the Vulgate or the Septuagint and containing parts that may have been translated from Greek?