I decided to do my first reading response on the two versions of "Song of Songs" we read, and oh boy, is there a lot to unpack here. I will start off by saying this is one part of the Bible I have never gotten around to reading, so I actually compared three versions, including a NIV translation I had at home. As I read through all three, I made a chart to keep track of some of the major differences I saw.
Falk's was interesting. I quite liked how it removed a lot of the region specific or period references, and made the cadence more lyrical for modern audiences. It also deliberately avoided the whole fair/white-skinned/beautiful controversy which is always cool to see, and something I wish the "official" NIV translation did. I liked the idea that the woman was simultaneously both black and radiant. Given the obviously sexual and romantic nature of this poem this may seem weird to say, but Falk's was also the most overtly sexual translation. The main part of this was with the repeating lines imploring "women of the city...not to wake or us Till we fulfill our love," something I took to be the poetry equivalent of a sock on the door of a college dorm ("do not disturb, we're having sex"). There are other lines too where things are phrased as more sexual, like the bit about the man being attracted to the woman the same way a horse is lured by the scent of a mare.
The Douay-Rheims version of this poem was a bit of an oxymoron. On the one hand, as was to be expected, it downplayed the sexual nature of the poem or else added a stigma to some of the sexual themes. Whereas Falk implied the two were having sex in the repeating lines mentioned earlier, D-R merely had the man request that people not wake his love until she was done napping (or at least, that was how I interpreted it). When it talks about the man's mother conceiving and bearing her son under a particular tree in the other versions, in D-R the words corrupted and deflowered are used instead. At the same time, D-H has some surprisingly touching interpretations when you look. Going back to the horse thing, Falk uses the analogy with reference to lust and physical attraction, and the NIV version refers to aesthetic attraction (the woman is compared to one of Pharaoh's horses, which I think means she must have been pretty). But D-H said the woman is like a whole company of horsemen in the Pharaoh's army, declaring the woman to be strong rather than beautiful (er, I think; otherwise I have no idea). And when the other two versions are said how pretty her jewelry makes her cheeks and neck look, D-H complimented her cheeks and neck directly.
All I really want to say about the NIV version is that I enjoyed how balanced it was. On the one hand, it did interpret things less sexually than Falk. On the other, it never made it seem that romantic love or sexual attraction was dirty like D-H. The best example of this were those same repeating lines mentioned above. Here the interpretation was that the woman was asking the other women of Jerusalem not to give arouse love until the proper time. It never tried to say love was bad, but that it did have a time and a place.