When I was looking in the store to buy a bible, I noticed that the different bible translations not only differ in their style of translation, but also in the sources they use.
- What are the sources used in common bible translations?
Wikipedia has a good list of the various sources used:
Newer Bible translations are moving to the Masoretic text more and more for the Old Testament translation, especially since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (the Dead Sea Scrolls validate the authenticity of the Masoretic text). Septuagint is a very good translation of the Hebrew original when it comes to the Torah, but the rest of the books are known to be poorly translated.
The translators, of course, make use of the Septuagint and other translations wherever the Masoretic text is not very clear.
As for the New Testament, most translators make use of the Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland text, among others.