Category: Translation Thoughts (page 2 of 3)

John 11:28-44 in West Kewa


It is not a simple matter to translate a Bible story—there are many cultural and grammatical (as well as exegetical) features to consider when choosing the “best” way to translate a text. This story of John 11:28-44 in West Kewa, which we take up at verse 28, points out a number of the components (but by no means all of them):

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Borrowing and Lending among the Kewa


Living amongst the Kewa people, as we did off and on for 15 years, and then continuing to maintain contact with them, I have long been interested in their concepts of borrowing and lending, as well as buying and selling.

It was not unusual for a Kewa man to ask me for a loan of some money. The word that he would generally use in West Kewa (WK) was yago, for example, ni yago mealua-ya? “Can I get (from you) a loan?” The word could also apply to giving credit (i.e., a loan) to someone: neme yago meda nina baani kaato “I am extending credit (a loan) to my sister” or  neme yago talo “I am paying back the debt (or loan)”. In the Kewa idiom, If I extend the loan or credit, I “give” it, but if I pay it back, I “hit” it.

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Comparing Bible Storytelling and Translation


In this article I argue an obvious but necessary point: that the process of translating and checking all or parts of the Bible is fundamentally different than telling and checking Bible stories that are based on all or parts of the Bible. I discuss this in some detail because many missionaries often consider the two processes as similar in a number of respects, particularly concerning source texts, views on inspiration, chronological accuracy, audience, methods of checking, and the training needed to accomplish the respective tasks. Another difference, which is more subjective and therefore more difficult to examine, although equally important, is the claim that there is something “beyond” the Biblical text or the story, something that has more “reality” than the the story or text itself.

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Literal or Free Translations?


Dave Brunn is Dean of Academics for New Tribes Mission (NTM) USA and is a missionary, translator and educator. For over twenty years he and his wife Nancy served the Lamogai people of PNG through church planting, literacy training, Bible translation and consultation. He has written a book (One Bible, many versions: Are all translations created equal) that outlines some of the difficulties in calling a particular translation “literal” or “free”. His thoughts are as follows:

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Drive-through Bibles?

Wycliffe Associates (WA), an affiliate of Wycliffe Bible Translators, USA, has come up with a financial plan that they claim will work for Bible translation programs in vernacular languages in areas of the world where the NT is still lacking. In an electronic flyer requesting money, they advertise that a donor can “help national translators give people God’s Word in WEEKS!” To me, this is scary!

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