Often the topic of Bible translations arises, especially in online communities of faith. Like most brothers and sisters, I have an opinion on the subject!
I think (first and foremost) that the more literal translations are essential for any Bible student. While all translations can be called “commentaries on the original manuscripts,” the less license allowed, the better. That said, my favorites of the more literal translations include the KJV, NASB, NKJV, ESV and (for in-depth consideration) the Amplified Bible.
Please know that I am not opposed to the more dynamic translations such as the NIV or NLT. They certainly have their place on the shelves. But I think they should be used after a more literal translation us read.