I'm just posting some general interest topics here.... I'm going to deal with the translations of the Quran in this thread.
Muslims believe that the Quran is the word of God which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) over a period of 23 years through the angel Gabriel. The original text is in Arabic. For Muslims, the Quran is an Arabic revelation, and it is always recited in Arabic during prayers.
Muslims believe that the translations of the Quran from Arabic into other languages are the work of humans, and no longer possess the uniquely sacred character of the original Arabic. I guess a lot has to do with the fact that when you translate it from the original language to another, you may lose some of the meaning of the original. After all, Arab is quite a rich language, and even some native Arab-speakers say that some passages in the Quran are difficult to fully grasp in the original Arabic as some words can have multiple meanings.
As such, scholars generally regard translations as mere interpretations and not the true word of God. Generally speaking, there's nothing wrong in reading a translation, so long as it sticks to the original meaning as faithfully as possible. However, the general consensus is that we should all bear in mind that the absolutely true authoritative version of the Quran is in the original Arabic. Also in prayer, passages from the Quran must always be recited in Arabic.
The first translation of the Quran into another language was done by Salman Al-Farsi (Salman the Persian), who translated the Quran into Persian. Since then, translations into several other different languages have been done. However, all the translations that are available have been the efforts of individuals, and thus no one translation can be considered as the most authoritative.
Generally speaking, though, I'd say that the most authoritative (and often-used) English translations would be the ones done by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, M.H. Shakir, and Marmaduke Pickthal. Usually when passages from the Quran need to be quoted in English, their translations are usually the ones that are used. There do exist other less well-known translations, and I have a copy of the J.M. Rodwell translation to help me understand the Quran better due to my admittedly rudimentary knowledge of Arabic.
Do post any enquiries you may have on this subject matter in this thread. You may refer to the following websites for more information:
General information on the Quran:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qu%27ran
Information on translations of the Quran:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Translation_of_the_Quran