Thursday, March 06, 2008

Not about the feelings.

My last few updates have been specifically about my "feelings" and life in general so I thought that I'd give you a glimpse of some "concepts" and questions that I wrestle with here in Dallas.

I am learning about the importance of understanding a group's cultural worldview more and more. For example, I just learned about a culture that finds it extremely rude to approach a person's house or even pass by without permission. One has to call out from the path or vicinity of the house with an appropriate greeting and receive a specific response before approaching the house. If the situation is not handled in the right manner it is very offensive... people have even been speared! Well, how would you translate Rev. 3:20, "I stand at the door and knock." or any verse having to do with visiting someone's house?

How does a person who is not from that culture learn these things (before getting speared)?

It is very important to translate something in an understandable and meaningful form, but what liberties can a translator take? Now Rev. 3 above is a figurative example, but what about the verses that are literally about a person entering a home? In translation theory, I learned about the importance of making a text applicable to its readers but also the importance of not changing historical events just because they are culturally inappropriate.

What about color?

People all over the world have different perceptions of color. Some people think that there are only three colors: black, white, and red; and all the colors that we see (blue, pink, brown, orange, etc) are divided amongst these three. I read about a culture that considers the color of something very important, and they define concepts with color. They associate white with pure, masculinity, and birth; and red with danger. The "pale horse" in Revelation 6:8 symbolizes "death." So in this particular culture, it would be more appropriate to use the color red. But then how would you distinguish this horse from the red horse representing "war" in verse 4? And is it okay to change the colors of the horses in the passage from the originals?

These are some questions that have been presented to me in my classes here in Dallas, along with others like... How do you translate the word "God" into a language that has no concept of a personal deity? Or for you grammar geeks... How would you translate a passive clause into a language that doesn't have passive constructions?

All this to say....

I'm learning a lot.

God is a fantastic teacher.

I'm ripping my hair out with my bazillion unanswered questions.

Thank you ALL for your prayers and your partnership with me in this ministry of getting the Bible into the languages and hearts of the people. I am amazed at the responses that I've gotten from this group that I was so hesitant in making. THANK YOU! I would love to here your thoughts, comments, and any updates about your lives.

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