Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Gospel of John

A couple of weeks ago we finished our consultant check of the Gospel of John. This was the first book that we have checked since moving to a more literal translation approach. It was also the first check in which we were able to include a woman in the checking process. The results were very promising. Both of the people who came to check the work consistently understood the literal translation, including the underlying spiritual meanings. Lovey Reto, the woman who joined us, was particularly helpful in providing feedback into the translation. We hope that we may be able to involve her in checking books with groups of women in the village since the majority of church members in Enga are women. Please pray that Lovey would be available to help us and that we would get helpful feedback from groups of women to counterbalance the mostly male input that we get from the translation team.

Having a laugh while checking the Gospel of John
The Beatitudes
In September, I explained in detail our decision to shift to a more literal translation style by examining Matthew 5:3, which says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs in the Kingdom of Heaven." The Enga translation at that time was more of a dynamic translation and read, "God blesses the people who are poor in spirit and want him to help them. Those blessed ones will be in his kingdom." Not satisfied with the approach we had taken to this verse, we decided that we were going to attempt a more literal translation. This is what we have come up with: "God blesses the people who are like poor. Does poor here mean “humble”?—that’s how we translated our literal KK. The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those blessed ones." This is a much more literal translation of the text, but it still sounds very good and poetic in Enga. You will notice that we had to make a couple of minor adjustments to conform to Enga ways of speaking, but, for the most part, it captures the literal meaning of the text in a way that sounds good in Enga. Please pray that God would continue to help us find the balance between translating literally and translating in a way that sounds good and makes sense in Enga.

Future Plans
Later this month we head back out to Enga for nine weeks to finish revising the last half of Matthew to bring it into alignment with our more literal approach to translation. We will also make minor adjustments to the Gospel of John that we discovered in the consultant checking process. Finally, we will review my advisor notes for the book of Acts. After we have reviewed those notes, I will back-translate Acts in preparation for a consultant check of that book. Translation work is moving along very well. The team, working in three groups of two, is nearly finished drafting Romans, 1 Corinthians, and 2 Corinthians. After that, only the book of Ephesians will be left to draft, and then the New Testament drafting process will be complete. There is still much work to be done in checking and correcting these drafts, but finishing the New Testament drafting process is a milestone that we look forward to with much anticipation and excitement! Please pray that nothing would hinder our work. Thank you so much for your ongoing prayer and support which enables us to complete this work.