A quote concerning the translation itself:
The message seems to have gone out that every ve need not be rendered 'and': thus Bereshit 21:19 'Vayyifkach Elohim et eineha' becomes 'Then God opened her eyes'; 21:27 'Vayyikkach Avraham - So Abraham Took'; 21:32 'Vayyikhretu berit - Thus they entered into a covenant'; and 21:33 'Vayitta eshel' simply 'He planted an 'eshel.' How odd then to find Chapter 22 beginning 'And it happened', and subsequentlyHe also makes the observation that although Artscroll says it follows Rashi, which he calls "eminently reasonable," he cannot discover which principle they use when Rashi's interpretation is expressing derash or has no comment at all. For example, כִּי-מֵרֹאשׁ צֻרִים אֶרְאֶנּוּ Numbers 23:9 is translated as "far from its origins, I see it rock-like," like Rashi, but this is derash, and it ignores Onkelos (ארי מריש טוריא חזיתיה) and "the common-sense peshat."
And He said 'Here I am, my son.'
And he said, 'Here are the fire and the
Compare [Rabbi Aryeh] Kaplan:
'Yes, my son.'
'Here is the fire and the wood[...]'
ArtScroll, it appears, cannot decide between readable translation for adults and a word-for-word chanting translation for the Hebrew classroom.
Of the frequent archaism, I would single out as particularly misleading such inversions as in Bemidbar 32:16 'Gidrot tzon nivneh lemiknenu - Pens for the flock shall we build here for our livestock' (an interrogative?).
The particle hinneh is the translator's acid test. When introducing a clause (in past or present tense), it signifies a realisation or a surprise. Unfortunately, Modern English, no longer uses a matching particle along the lines of 'behold'; instead we imply it through a verb. Thus Bereshit 22:13 'Vayyar vehinneh ayil' would be today rendered simply as 'and saw a ram,' and 22:20 'Vayyuggad leAvraham lemor hinneh yaledah Milkah' as 'Avraham received a message: "Milkah has had children"' (Kaplan's translations). But ArtScroll hangs on to 'behold' as if it were halakhah le-Mosheh misinai, with comical results: 'And saw - behold, a ram! - afterwards, caught in a thicket'; 'Abraham was told, saying: Behold, Milcah too has borne children.' For 'Vehinneh hi Le'ah (Bereshit 29:25), 'And it was, in the morning, that behold it was Leah.'
He also notes a number of departures from Rashi's explanation, for no apparent reason.
In Ex 21:6, where Rashi translates וַעֲבָדוֹ לְעֹלָם in a derashic way (until the Jubilee year), the translators here write "forever," according to the peshat, and place Rashi's explanation in the notes. This is a pretty good catch on Glinert's part. An ahalachic translation? Is this the JPS?
לא תבשל גדי is rendered 'You shall not cook a kid,' 'despite Rashi's detailed argument that gedi denotes all young livestock.' (See Ex. 23:19) 'Uvekhol nafshekha' is 'with all your soul' although Rashi clearly would have favored 'with all your life.'
Glinert puzzles over the Hebrew animal terms in Parashat Shemini. Rashi translates the tinshemet as bat, the chasidah a stork and the anakah a heron. But Artscroll does not translate them, explaining: "Since Halachah rules that we do not know the accurate translations of the fowl in the Torah's list, we follow the lead of R' Hirsch in transliterating rather than conjecturing translations. The notes will give translations that are suggested by various commentators.' Glinert notes that 'In fact the editors have felt that they can go one better than Hirsch: they do not translate the eight sheretz haaretz either (and here no halakhah is conceivably in jeopardy).'
Glinert admits that there is a certain logic in not translating disputed terms, saving suggestions for the footnotes, which is natural given that all translations have to make a choice and save the fuller discussion for the notes. But why should it be done only for the animals in Shemini and the gem stones in Tetzaveh, when there are "hundreds of other words and structures in dispute?"
Moving along to the commentary, he calls it a "tour de force." "Blend[ing] old and new interpretations into a satisfying whole." He believes it goes "first for the literal or philosophical" interpretation, and mostly resists the temptation to mention "all those midrashim which generations of schoolchildren imagine to be peshat." Where midrashim are mentioned, there is a "commendable" attempt to offer some philosophical significance, often from the writing of recent rabbinic scholars like Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetesky and Rabbi Gedaliah Schorr. The effect is a commentary "preoccupied with timeless truths" rather than "the more topical truths" of commentary like the one in the Hertz Chumash.
He takes them to task for their "disturbing" omissions, asking where is the Torah Temimah? Where is the Machberet Menachem and Sefer Hashorashim of Janach? Glinert calls the lack of reference to the Lucavitcher Rebbe's Likkutei Sichos the 'most serious' omission, and 'one wonders if this is just an omission.'
He ends by describing the whole as a "mixed blessing." If you're looking for a message behind the words, it's a joy. (His words.) But if one is looking for the Divine words themselves, (also his words), you're out of luck.