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Why Bible Translation?
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” John 3:16
God’s love for the world has been demonstrated through the sending his only Son Jesus Christ, the living word and His written word, the Bible. He wants the whole world, every tribe, every language group to hear his word and respond to it. When He sent His Son Jesus to become human, he was translating the divine being in to understandable human form so that we can understand him and relate to him. As the result of God’s reaching to the world through his word we see in heaven every tribe and language group as described in John’s vision
“After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes andpeoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands.” Rev 7: 9
We translate the Bible to all languages so that every people group knows God and grow in the knowledge of his creator. How can they know God without hearing his message? How can they grow in their spiritual life without his word? We praise God that in sub-Saharan Africa the church is growing exponentially. But this is mostly numerical growth. Teaching and discipleship is very limited. This is mainly because language barrier between the local believers and the Bible they are using which they don’t fully understand.
Why do we translate the Bible into vernacular languages when there is a Bible in the national language or a language of wider community?
We believe that:
1. Every language group needs to hear the word of God in the language they best understand. People come to Christ through preaching of the word. But that is not enough. They need to grow in to maturity and Christ-likeness. They need to bear fruit for Christ and be his witness. The only way they can achieve this level of maturity is through deep understanding of His word. Understanding of his word is possible only through regular reading or hearing of his word in the church, at home etc. in the language that they can best understand.
2. Language and identity are closely related. When people see that God communicates with them in their own language, they can easily relate to him. Some people even might reject Christ because the gospel was preached to them in another language which they hate. (Sociolinguistic factor)
3. The Bible itself is an evangelist and permanent witness for Christ by its very existence in a language group. By this we mean that, when a language group has the Bible, Christianity will survive difficult times such as persecution and imprisonment and so on.
4. Making disciples can be realized only when there is the word of God in the language people consider as their heart language. Without the Word of God, it is impossible to think about making people Disciples of Christ.
Wycliffe Ethiopia highly values quality work of Bible Translation. In order to insure quality the role of the Translation consultant is indispensable. Therefore any translation team who is partnering with Wycliffe Ethiopia must arrange for a consultant checking sessions well ahead of time and provide a back translation of the book intended to be consultant checked so that the consultant can have sufficient time for the preparation. In some cases a translation consultant may prefer oral back translation depending on the circumstance or both written and oral back translation at the same time.
The following are some of the responsibilities of a translation consultant:
· Encouragea and support the translation team
. Guide and train the translation team members in translation principles.
· Train translation reviewers and church leaders.
· Help the teams to plan and organize their project to do good quality work.
· Advise the team so that they make strategic plan in order to make a desired impact of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the language community right from the beginning of the translation project.
· Be available to discuss problem areas of the translation project with the team
· Consult with the teams concerning matters such as footnotes, glossaries, choices of illustration, and other supplementary materials.
· Assist with the ground working with the community and Government before starting the actual translation.
· Help the translation teams in public relation in the language area.
· Help the translation teams to follow the translation procedures and strategies from first draft to the publication.
· Follow up the projects progress till the translation work is completed.
· Carry out full consultant checking of the scripture and other scripture related materials before publication.
· Advise the translation team on the preparation of the manuscript for publication and check for consistency, format, and other areas before being submitted for final processing and printing.
· Formally recommend the translated manuscript for publication when he/she is fully satisfied that is ready for publication.
The consultant will encourage the teams to do the following final checking procedures before they submit for publishing:
· Parallel passage check – This can be done with the aid of paratext. This may require the help from someone providing such service.
· Key terms check
· Paragraph divisions, including whether to put quotation marks at the beginning of each paragraph within a long speech or not.
· Spelling consistency – Paratext has a word-list programme.
· Punctuation consistency – it need to check whether consistent punctuation rules use throughout.
· Format markers need to be checked.
· Glossary – If the team decided to include one, the entries will need to be consultant checked.
· If you want pictures, they need to be carefully chosen and placed. They will also need captions (titles).
· Book introductions – If the teams want to include book introductions, they can get ideas from other versions such as Study Bible but they should be advised not translate them
directly. They should grasp the ideas and put them in their own words. These will also need checking by a consultant.
· General introduction – most New Testaments have a short general introduction. The team can ask for back translations of introductions in other New Testaments as examples.
· Maps – Most New Testament and full Bibles translations include maps these days. The
teams need to choose which they want to include and they will also need to give the equivalent of all the place names in their language.
· The teams will need a contents page with the page numbers of the beginning of each of the books.
· The teams need to outline their policy for dealing with textual variants. One possibility is to include it as part of the general introduction.
· It is good to have a final read through of the whole New Testament or full Bible’s translated manuscript immediately prior to its being sent for typesetting.