The New Revised Standard Version (NSRV) is a relatively recent (1989) and very good translation. There are editions that include the Apocrypha of the Catholic Bible. I use the New Oxford Annotated Bible, which is an NSRV edition with the Apocrypha.
That is my choice as well. The annotation will help where literal translations lead to textual difficulty. Study Bibles take this a step further with greater commentary, but even there you need to know who the scholars who are doing the commenting.
The NRSV also tried to use gender neutral words “friends,” “brothers and sisters,” and etc where “men” or “brothers” are in the Hebrew or Greek (mostly Greek) texts. But the editors will always put the original wording in a note at the bottom of each page such as (Gk: brothers).
the problem with a literal rendering of the original languages is always “Which word or modern phrase to pick?” As we have learned at WO, English changes over time and the older the translation does not guarantee that it will somehow be protected from the shifts that occur in English. My favorite recent shift is the RSV (1940s) phrase in Psalm 50, “I will accept no bull from your house.” the NRSV changes that to “I will not accept a bull from your house.”
In our Bible studies I encourage people to bring different translations to the table and often ask, “what does your version have at that point in the text?”
Here is an excellent (in my view)discussion of translations from a Roman Catholic perspective. The bishop there makes Dave’s point about Douay-Rheims.
The Douay-Rheims currently on the market is also not the original, 1609 version. It is technically called the “Douay-Challoner” version because it is a revision of the Douay-Rheims done in the mid-eighteenth century by Bishop Richard Challoner. He also consulted early Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, meaning that the Douay Bible currently on the market is not simply a translation of the Vulgate (which many of its advocates do not realize).
it’s worth reading to the end to see which version he recommends.
[Edit: corrected bad link--dw]