Peter A Goldsbury
I began to examine the Japanese texts of Budo Renshu and Budo in my TIE columns. I myself have both texts in Japanese, but I suspect that the number of people in the same situation, and who also contribute to AikiWeb, is very small. Chris Li has pointed out the discrepancies between the Stevens translation (Stevens did not supply the Japanese text) and the actual Japanese original.
Since the art of translation is a largely matter of making enlightened choices, I think you still need a commentary on the actual text, which explains why the translator has chosen from the possibilities available in those places where there is a choice to be made.
All good points, and I'm not trying to bash John (although it may seem that way sometimes). John always says that his goal was mainly to get stuff out there - to provide some kind of access to as many people as possible (as I mentioned, some of the material that he's translated isn't even available in Japanese anymore).
To that end, it had to be presented in a form that would be relatively digestible in small doses. If you presented, for example, a single Doka in the way that it ought to be presented, with a full page of explanation and dissection (and I've done a couple myself) - it may well be that only a very tiny audience would actually end up reading the thing.