Monday, October 20, 2008

Translation progress

There's quite a bit to update you all about regarding the last few weeks.
Just last week we had another check of my translation progress. This time it was the Acts portions that I've been working on for the last few months. I'm pleased to report that the check went really well! I think most of the credit has to go to my translation helpers who have been learning, right along with me, about translation principles. If it weren't for their love of the Lord and for what they've learned and for the time and effort that they sacrifice, I don't think the translated material that we put out would be at the level that it has been. And it only seems to be getting better! I'm so thankful for a team of translation helpers like the ones I have.
Currently I'm attending a two week translation workshop. It's called "Introduction to Epistles Workshop". In it we're being introduced to solid principles for exegeting, or studying the meaning of, tough books such as the epistles in the new testament. Being a learner of a foreign language ourselves, we've been challenged about our understanding of how people communicate. As is the case for all languages, the language that the new testament was written in undoubtedly has similar levels of complexity. So our job is to study to find out the intention of the author in the message that he penned and then to transfer that meaning accurately into the Mibu language.
We're learning how to look at the book as a whole and break it down into units of meaning and then to ask ourselves how each unit relates to the others. There are many ways that each language 'connects' these units. Actually, there isn't a single language that doesn't do that. But they all do it differently. How did the Greek language put emphasis on the major points of an argument? Then how does the Mibu language do the same? How does the Greek language organize the information that is required to communicate things? And how does it keep the main point the main point, rather than letting other important background information confuse the reader? Then once I figure that out, how does the Mibu language do the same? Understanding the answer to these and many other similar questions helps us be able to first, understand the message ourselves, and then, rearrange all that meaning into the Mibu language. If our study of the meaning was careful and thorough, and if the transfer of that meaning was faithful, then we should end up with a text that communicates the original meaning, without straying from historical accuracy, and venturing on the side of becoming something akin to loose paraphrase. All the bits of meaning should be there and there shouldn't have been added anything that wasn't found in the original communication.
Interestingly, very few of us know Greek! But thankfully there are a lot of very knowledgeable people out there who write books so that we can know what the Greek text is saying. There are also a number of really great translations out there that are based on very good exegesis of these scholars. So we end up with a lot of great information by which to study the texts ourselves and be all the more equipped to translate God's word into these languages.
I could talk about so much more here, but I'm already trying to be cautious not to bore you with too many details! The main point I want to communicate here is how excited I am about the translation process. I love it and so if any of you have any questions or are interested in more details, feel more than free to write, knowing that you're pushing my buttons!

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