There is a thoughtful PDF by Daniel Wallace available from Bible Study Magazine on choosing an English Translation. It gives a good introduction at a popular level and it’s the sort of thing that you might want to bookmark so that you can show it to a friend who wants to know which is the best translation or who insists that only the AV (or RSV, NIV etc) will do.
To the question: Which translation is best?—There can be no singular answer. I suggest that every Christian who is serious about studying the Bible own at least two translations. At least one formal equivalence (word-for-word) translation and one functional equivalence (phrase-for-phrase) translation. It would be even better to have two good functional equivalence translations because in this type of translation, the translator is also the interpreter. If the translator’s interpretation is correct, it can only clarify the meaning of the text; if it is incorrect, then it only clarifies the interpretation of the translator! (Read More)