I didn't really intend to start quite this conversation, but for the record, I can't really agree with the majority opinion so far - that the only legitimate option for Orthodox translation is Cranmerian English. Let me agree, first of all, that this is very beautiful and reverent (especially in the hands of Cranmer, who, whatever else he may have been, was a master of language). But it is not the language of any of us, and the idea of writing it reminds me of those "prose compositions" in the style of Cicero or of Demosthenes that some of us had to do as students.
I also don't agree that modern English is intrinsically inelegant or unfit to offer to God. There are many fine twentieth century writers who strive after elegance. And if we don't all have the gifts of a Cranmer, that will show through whichever style we adopt.
In practice, of course, what usually happens is that modern English is used with certain standard substitutions, notably for the second person singular pronoun and verb inflections, which is what seems to cause most of the agitation. But this itself is not without its problems. Fr Ephrem Lash makes the valid point (I think) that God should be addressed by the same pronoun we use to address our father. For most of us, that is "you" and not "thou". I certainly don't feel disrespectful saying "you" to my father, or for that matter to a priest or bishop. It is certainly a far cry from "Oi you" language, to use the caricature from John's acquaintance.
The language question for English-speaking Orthodoxy is very different from that faced by the Greeks and Russians, who have a traditional language in which all the treasures of a thousand or two thousand years of Orthodoxy have been expressed, and which they quite rightly are not willing to abandon. Cranmerian English is a Protestant tradition, and the treasures it contains are Protestant treasures. If people want to use it that's fine, but I don't see how the language of sixteenth century Protestants can be a criterion of Orthodoxy - of "right worship".
I hope I am not talking out of place on a subject which seems to arouse strong feelings. I am not attacking anybody, just making a plea for a bit of tolerance. Personally I am grateful to all those who translate Orthodox texts for us, whichever style they adhere to. And if I ever visit a church where English is used (unlikely in my neck of the woods), I will accept whatever is put before me - as I was taught, "don't bring your typikon into another man's monastery".
Very good post, Anthony. Might I also add that Greek, while it to this day maintains a "polite" plural form of address (as does German, French, and any number of other languages), this "plural" form is not present in biblical or liturgical use, even in reference to God or the Persons of the Holy Trinity. This detail cannot be accidental.
Even the personal pronouns for the Divine are rendered in lower case, in the older Greek and Slavonic service books. Capitalisation began to appear in the late 19th or early 20thC.
I agree that Greek and Slavonic should never be turfed out as liturgical languages, however consideration should be given to those of us who were not brought up with the KJV. English may be my first language, but it is quite distracting at times following an English-language service in the more clunky, archaic forms. Fr Ephraim's translations are not perfect, but generally flow quite well, and are entirely comprehensible. Aesthetics are all very well and good, but what is read and sung must also be comprehensible for it to do some good.