Can you explain in much more detail what you mean by a "literal translation"?
I can tell you that using the common usage of the words "literal translation" among at least some (and I think most) translators they will tell you that a "literal translation" is impossible and only produces unreadable and partially incomprehensible output.
I agree that it is near impossible to attain a literal interpretation of the Bible. This is due to the differences in syntax and grammar between different languages especially languages separated by both time and by distance. In addition there is always a loss or corruption of meaning when translating between languages. The further languages are away from each other linguistically both temporally (by time), spatially and culturally the higher the rate of corruption in meaning is going to occur when translating from one language to another.
Here is an example (from this online Hebrew interlinear Bible
. In this example I will put the original Hebrew on the top, the phonetic translation of Hebrew letters into English letters, and its direct word for word translation into English-equivalent words (spaced for readability purposes only). Genesis 1:1-2 states in Hebrew (I transposed the Hebrew words in the left to right order versus its normal right to left order to help in translation [it is closer linguistically to Chinese than it is to English]) :
. , , — ‘ , ‘
b”rashith bra aleim ath e”shmim u”ath e”artz
in-beginning he-created Elohim the-heavens and the earth
; —- , , ‘ ,
u”e”artz eithe theu u”beu u”chshk ol -phni theum
and”the”earth she-became chaos and”vacancy and”darkness over surfaces-of abyss
. —- , —
u”ruch aleim mrchphth ol -phni e”mim
and”spirit-of Elohim vibrating over surfaces-of the”waters
Repeated in literal order Genesis 1:1-2:
Literal translation of Genesis 1:1-2 writes:
In beginning, he created Elohim the heavens and the earth.
and the Earth, she became chaos and vacancy, and darkness over the surface of abyss;
and spirit of Elohim vibrating over surfaces of the waters.
Compare this to the following "literal translation":
King James Version writes:
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
New American Standard Bible writes:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters
There is evidedently some loss of meaning here, would you not agree?
BTW, anyone else see the similarity between aleim (elohim) and alah?? Anyone, anyone!?! They both come from the same Semitic root words "al" meaning "the" and " ilah" meaning "God", the root "im" in aleim (elohim) denotes plurality when this "im" ending is dropped the two names of God are pretty much synonymous.
The New Encyclopaiedia Britannica, Micropaedia, Vol. III, 15th Edition, p. 863 writes:
Elohim, the plural of the Hebrew word eloha, "god," a lengthened form of the Canaanite word el (Aramaic alaha; Arabic ilah), is most frequently used for the God of Israel in the Old Testament. . The Israelites probably borrowed the Canaanite plural noun elohim and made it singular in meaning in their cultic practices and theological reflections
For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
Dr. Carl Sagan