The road to Bible Translation

People walking down a road in the northwest of Cameroon.

Photo: Rodney Ballard – skip.wycliffe.net – People walking down a road in the northwest of Cameroon.

We just finished our annual meetings and the week after the meetings we have academic half days to allow the linguists and the translators a time to share with one another what they have either published, changes in technology, challenges they faced and just a time to be together and fellowship. It also provides non-translators and non-linguists the opportunity to have a peak into their world, that’s where I come in. This week I’m going to share a few of the challenges that some of our translators have faced. Several of these challenges were presented in the form of a game to the non-translators in the room and we had to try and come up with a solution. We say that a translation is a good translation after having asked 3 important questions:

  1. Does it sound natural?
  2. Is it clear?
  3. Is it accurate?

Some would add a 4th question: Is it acceptable to those who will use it?

You are a team of Mother Tongue translators somewhere in the Northwest Region of Cameroon and you are studying an English translation in preparation for drafting. Each text will have a problem with either a word or group of words that you will want to identify and think about how to write it, so that the message is communicated naturally, clearly and accurately. (These problems come from real world challenges.)

TEXT – Luke 7.48 “Your sins are forgiven.”

PROBLEM – Your language has no passive form of the verb. What are some other ways to communicate the same message in English?

Post what you would do in the comments either on the blog or on Facebook. We will post another challenge on Wednesday. I’ll add the best solution from the comments to this problem on Wednesday.

Solution from comments: 

“Your sins have been and continue to be forgiven.”

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One Response to The road to Bible Translation

  1. Pop-pop says:

    How about this: “Your sins have been and continue to be forgiven.” (Now you see why I’m not a linguist.

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