Make it right, once for all, not eleven times

by bzephyr

Pastor Peter and Emil, Arop translators

What I’m getting at here is accuracy in Bible translation. It’s about finding “opportunities for improvement” (as our teammate John Nystrom likes to say), and making suggestions for really getting the translation right. When you’re working with eleven language teams translating the same passages together, it’s really nice when we can work together in such a way as to reduce our workload.

This week I’m checking the Arop translation of 1 Timothy. The Arop translators drafted this several years ago. They revised it in 2009, and now I have the last opportunity to suggest changes to it before it becomes the immediate source text for the other ten languages in the Aitape West Translation Project. It’s one of the blessings of working together in this team approach to translation. It’s so great to suggest an improvement to the Arop translation one time and then have that improvement picked up in the ten daughter translations when they adapt their translations from Arop later this year. I’d rather do that than find something that needs changed after everyone has finished translating. Then it would need changed eleven times!

Since we all got sick and didn’t go to the village for this month’s translation workshop, I may actually get more translation work done here at our national training center. I’m disappointed to not have that valuable face-to-face interaction with my Papua New Guinean partners, but this change in plans may prove to be a blessing in disguise. I’ve got a lot of verses to check, and this is helping me catch up. I’m missing out this time on fellowship with our faithful translators. But I’m still helping them from a distance, making lots of notes. And this week I’m working ahead in 1 Timothy so we can make things right, once for all, before we all draft it later this year. Next week, I finish making notes in Luke before it gets published. But some of the notes for Luke will need to get sent to eleven different teams. Too bad we didn’t catch those “opportunities for improvement” earlier.

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