Oops! They were not tired of God.

by bzephyr

When the Onnele translators were checking over their translation of Acts 2:5 in September, they had to think twice about what the word “numne” meant in this context. Why? Well, because I asked them to.

I know that “numne” can be used with different senses, and sometimes the context doesn’t make it clear. It can mean “to fear” or “to respect,” which is what we were hoping for in this verse. The NASB reads here:

Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.

It was the translation of the meaning for the word “devout” that we were checking here. The idea of “fear” or “respect” has been used in some translations to express the sense here. The NIV reads:

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.

So at first glance it seemed that the Onnele Goiniri use of “numne” in their translation was alright:

Empo taim namo, nu Juda fai numne God sa nainene taunwamo Jerusalem. Nu uma namo, empo noloni kantri wongkwongkeni.
At this time, Jews who feared God were staying in the city of Jerusalem. These people came from all different countries.

But when I asked the translators what this verse meant in their language — does this refer to Jews who feared God or were tired of him? — they paused, smiled, and simply said, “yes.” It could mean either one, and it really wasn’t clear. It was so unclear that they had to ask me, “Which one is it supposed to mean here?”

So after they compared different English and Pidgin versions, they adjusted their translation so that it reads:

Empo taim namo, nu Juda fai nosinanene God sa nainene Jerusalem. Nu uma namo, empo noloni kantri wongkwongkeni.
At this time, Jews who gave worship to God were staying in Jerusalem. These people came from all different countries.

Okay, now it was clear.

Please pray for the translators of the Aitape West Translation Project. They are meeting again this month to revise their translations of Acts and prepare them for consultant checking next year. Jonathan and Dominic (left and middle pictured above) are the only Onnele translators to arrive for this first week of the workshop.

We only know why Joel is absent: his brother Andrew is deathly sick in town with both malaria and a very bad strain of TB. Please pray for Andrew.

We have no way of knowing why other translators have not arrived yet. Pray that they will continue to numne God, and I don’t mean that they would be tired of him. No, that they would nosinanene him and continue to translate God’s Word so that many others may give worship to him in Spirit and in truth, and in their own language.

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