“Translation is the most misused word in Mormonism” (LaMar Petersen).
The word “translation” should be removed from Mormon vocabulary since there is ZERO evidence Joseph Smith, Jr. ever translated anything.
He claims to have translated The Book of Mormon, The Book of Abraham, The Kinderhook Plates, and The Bible (JST – Joseph Smith Translation).
Book of Mormon: Based on the historical record, Joseph never had the plates in his presence during his dictation of the book.
Book of Abraham: Joseph had no understanding of Egyptian. This is proven by comparing the current text to accurate translations by Egyptologists; there are no similarities.
The Kinderhook Plates: The History of the Church recorded that Joseph was in the process of translating these seven plates, but no text has been supplied, except to say “I have translated a portion of [the plates] and find they contain the history of the person with whom they were found. He was a descendant of Ham, through the loins of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the ruler of heaven and earth.” We now understand that these tiny plates were a 19th century ruse, successfully catching Joseph Smith in the fraud.
The Bible: If the JST, Joseph Smith Translation, were an authentic translation, what was the original source? We know he utilized a copy of the King James Bible for the task, but how could it be described as a translation?
It would certainly be more accurate to give Joseph credit for being the “author” of the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham, or to even claim they were “revelations.”
There is no supportive evidence to give him credit in any way as a translator.