✅ ☸EBT V&V💭: vitakka & vicāra = directed-thought & evaluation
⛔ Vism. Redefinition V&V💭: applied-thought & sustained-thought (b.nanamoli)
⛔ Vism. Redefinition V&V💭: initial-application & sustained-application (u thittila)
⛔ B.Sujato mistranslation of V&V💭: placing-the-mind & keeping-it-connected
⛔ B.Anālayo mistranslation of V&V💭: [directed] awareness and [sustained] contemplation
In translation, there can be legitimate difference of opinion and many legitimate ways to translate the same idea with different words.
For example: thinking, pondering, evaluating, considering, examining, etc., can all be legitimate ways to translate vicara.
But vitakka in the pāḷi EBT, means the same thing in first jhāna as it does outside of jhāna.
That is not debatable. You can do a global search for every single occurence of vitakka in the EBT and confirm for yourself by seeing what it means in context (Yes, in fact I have done that, as well as every single occurrence of first jhāna). I've also assembled a list in a separate article of all the other professional English translators, and aside from those following ABRJ (Ajahn Brahm Re-definition of Jhāna, same as Vism. Redefinition without abhidhamma theory), it's unanimous.
Different legitimate ways to translate vitakka might include something along the lines of cerebration, intellection, mentation, cogitation, etc. But almost everyone translating from EBT perspective has thought or thinking for vitakka.
From the late Theravada perspective, where they give primacy to Abhidhamma over EBT (Early Buddhist Texts), VRJ (Vism. Re-definition of Jhāna) describes a first jhāna and (V&V💭) vitakka & vicāra, that is a different samādhi training system than EBT. They redefined (V&V💭) and jhāna to accommodate their abhidhamma idea of radical momentariness.
The Relativity of Wrong
There are different levels of wrong.
Unintentional honest mistakes are forgivable and understandable.
"not even wrong", and "wronger than wrong", refer to exponentially more pernicious magnitudes of wrongness: they can wreak havoc with devastating consequences to oneself and humanity.
point of view
From the EBT perspective of jhāna, B. nanamoli's applied-thought & sustained-thought is wrong.
From the VRJ (Vism. Re-definition of Jhāna) perspective, B. nanamoli's applied-thought & sustained-thought translation is excellent.
From the VRJ (Vism. Re-definition of Jhāna) perspective, U thittila's initial-application & sustained-application is wronger than wrong. (will explain later)
From the point of view of finding a (V&V💭) translation that would best fit both Abhidhamma and EBT, B. nanamoli's applied-thought & sustained-thought translation is really excellent and well thought out (no pun intended).
From the point of view of EBT, Bhikkhu Anālayo's [directed] awareness and [sustained] contemplation is wronger than wrong.
If Bhikkhu Anālayo's translation were meant for abhidhamma and VRJ (Vism. Re-definition of Jhāna), it could actually work, but would be awkward if he's using 'thinking' and 'thought' outside of jhāna, unlike B.Nanamoli's translation.
But Bhikkhu Anālayo is a leading figure of EBT, and he's supposed to be translating from an EBT perspective.
So his translation is wronger than wrong. This is an objective, right and wrong situation, not a translator preference with a continuum of fine shades in meaning.
Bhikkhu Sujato's translation, is wrong even from the point of view of abhidhamma and VRJ (Vism. Re-definition of Jhāna)!
His translation is more similar to U thittila, which is wronger than wrong (even for VRJ).
Bhikkhu Sujato's translation, from the EBT perspective is not even wronger than wrong, a level of wrong so heinous it's hard to describe.
But I'll try.