From 'Vocabulary' part of The ABC Of Plain Words by Sir E Gowers (1951)

The original meaning, now archaic, was surrender, and, like surrender and give up, it could be used of either a garrison or a fugitive. The word is now less common in England than in America, where it is freely used in the sense of translation, or version, and of musical or dramatic performance. For these we in Britain still prefer rendering, though, with our usual disposition to imitate things American, we are giving rendition a run. There is no authority in either country for using the word as an all-purposes noun for the act of rendering. It is, I am told, used in this way in the Services and in some civil departments, where one may find expressions as startling even as "the rendition of this return is long overdue" as a way of saying "this return ought to have been sent in long ago".

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