Archive for May, 2015

The translator had finished Deuteronomy and Joshua for me to check during this workshop. I had finished only about half of Deut in my preparations, so I didn’t think it would be possible to keep up with my preparations, let alone finish both books. But the Lord gave me the strength to work 10-11 hour days, and He also provided a very good workshop situation so that we could maximize our time down here and keep from losing energy along the way (i.e., we didn’t have to struggle through Port-au-Prince traffic as much as we normally do). Plus, the two books were done so well by the translator and his team, and our consulting went very quickly. We finished Joshua in 2.5 days!

I leave for home tomorrow. I’ll have 1 day off next week to catch up on things and then 4 days in the office before I head out again. This time it will be for translator training in Eurasia where Russian will be the language of communication. It’s going to be quite a challenge, so please pray for grace and wisdom.

Keep praying for Oksana’s visa situation. The interview is on June 4, and we’d really like to get the visa that day or the day after so she could travel to meet me for the workshop on June 8.

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On Saturday (my birthday) I fly down to Haiti to begin the Haitian Creole OT workshop on Monday. After sweating in the heat and humidity of Haiti, hopefully we’ll be finished with Deut and Josh. I have completed preparations through Deut 18, so I still have lots of ground to cover. Since the translator has been focusing on fixing problems with the revised NT/Psa/Prov publication that will come out soon, he’s submitted some of the material quite late. So, this probably means full evenings of preparation throughout the workshop. Pray for grace and strength to keep up with long days/evenings for two weeks. While doing all that, I’ll still need to keep up with my other responsibilities as the head consultant.

As we try to move toward getting the visa, we have run into some snags. Oksana couldn’t get an appointment for the medical examination until June 3, so that means that the visa interview can’t happen before that. And right now, we are having difficulties getting the interview set up. Please pray!

We are thankful, though, that the SC reception date (at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church) is now set for September 10 and that the MI reception date (at Grand Valley Baptist Church) is set for October 9. The wedding date is July 25. Unless we run into problems along the way, these dates should stay fixed. Hopefully by early June we’ll have everything set and will be able to send out invitations!

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My schedule has kept me quite busy the past few weeks at home and in the office. I spent 2 weeks putting together a new translator training manual for my Eurasia trip, and now I’m working through Deuteronomy in Haitian Creole for my workshop down there. I leave a week from Saturday for the latter workshop. I’m thankful for how the Lord has helped me to put together 80 pages so far for the translator training. I’ve used a lot of material from our current manual but also consulted manuals written by others in other Bible societies. It’s been a challenging and enjoyable process to think through the various issues. It’s really shaping my thinking even more about how to do Bible translation. I’ll include one section below that I think is going to be a very helpful addition to our current manual.

I’ve also stayed quite busy at home, reading books about marriage, re-organizing my house to prepare for a wife, and nailing down details concerning our wedding. These activities have also been lots of fun. I enjoy organizing, and it’s been good to use the space in my home more efficiently as I make room for a wife. I’ve also found joy in working through wedding details, especially choosing a tuxedo and a wedding band. I’m very thankful for my mom’s diligent help to attack the little details that need to be addressed and for a volunteer named Abby at Victory Baptist Church in Reading, PA, who has been a very faithful and helpful wedding coordinator. We have been moving toward a July 25 wedding, and it seems that the visa process is not going to prevent that. If we can have the wedding in late July, we’ll probably have receptions in SC and MI in Sept or Oct.

Speaking of the visa process, I’m so thankful that we heard from the US consulate in Kiev yesterday. We were told that the process between the approval of our petition and the assigning of a case number by the consulate could take 1-3 months. Well, for us it took only 1 month! How exciting to see how God is moving things along so smoothly! Please keep praying. This recent step went so quickly that we aren’t even quite ready ourselves with all the needed documents. But we are quite close! Hopefully Oksana can schedule an interview appointment soon, and then maybe it’s a matter of just completing that process and then we’ll have a visa…and then the wedding…and then joined for life!

Here’s the section I added to our translator training manual for those who are interested in reading about this kind of stuff:

Problems with modifying a literal translation too much

We stated that our translation philosophy is a “modified literal” approach. Therefore, we recognize that modifications are required in order to convey the meaning of the original text in natural and clear structures of the Target Language (TL). In order to modify, you will need to do more interpretation. All translation requires interpretation in order to understand the biblical text and convey the meaning in an accurate, clear, and natural way in the translation, but the more modifications you make to the literal rendering, the more you have to interpret and then add that interpretation into the text. And when you add interpretation in order to make a text more clear and natural in the TL, you may be simplifying the text. These cautions, then, need to be kept in mind as you do your work:

  • The more you modify, the more you have to interpret. When you add your interpretation:
    • You are opening up the possibility of adding your own theological understanding of the passage.
    • You are making the reader more dependent upon you and less upon the Holy Spirit, whose role it is to illuminate the Scriptures.
    • You endanger the priesthood of the believer, which every true believer possesses through his standing in Christ.
    • You presume that you have full understanding of the text, which you may not actually have.
    • You will likely be limiting the reader from finding a differing interpretation of the text. Instead, the reader will follow your interpretation, because you basically excluded the other interpretation(s) by how you translate.
  • The more you modify, the more you may simplify the text. When you simplify the text:
    • You may do so on the basis of a mistaken assumption that you readers are not capable of understanding more complex texts.
    • You may also have a mistaken assumption that the text needs to stand on its own without the help of preachers and teachers, whereas, God intended that his Scriptures be accompanied by these human instruments, who can teach people the Scriptures.
    • You may remove a complexity in the text that God intended be there.
    • You may eliminate the possibility of doing serious exegesis, because you have removed any difficulties of understanding.
    • You may be minimizing the form of the text and while putting in proposition excessive emphasis on only the meaning.
    • You may create false assurance and engender wrongly based knowledge for the reader who thinks he understands the passage when in reality he only knows the understanding or interpretation of the translator.
    • You are minimizing and at times contradicting the declaration of the Scriptures that some passages are difficult to understand (2 Pet. 3:16).

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