Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘translation’ Category

It happened again. I was heading into another translation checking workshop, and I wondered how I would manage all the different things converging at the same time. Not only did I need to prepare for the Haitian Creole workshop, but I also needed to get ready to welcome two summer interns during the first week of the workshop, while also trying to be ready for whenever our son would decide to come into the world. (Not to mention the many emails and meetings I have to deal with on a regular basis)

I thought I needed to have both 1 and 2 Kings ready for the workshop, since that’s what the translator had submitted. Considering the amount of material we’ve covered in past workshops, I anticipated we could cover both books.

My prayer was that our son would come before the workshop started so that I wouldn’t miss any days of the workshop. It’s expensive to fly the translator to the office, so I didn’t want to lose a single day. My thinking was that if he were born on his due day (May 11), I would have a few days to get adjusted to welcoming him into this world and into our home before starting the workshop on May 15. God clearly had another plan, and as it always turns out, His plan was better than mine.

God delayed Eliyas’ birth until Friday, May 19. By that Wednesday evening I had prepared enough material to check through 2 Kings 8 in the workshop. Because I invited another consultant to join us in the workshop so she could do the next workshop in Haiti (I actually hoped she would take this May workshop, but she couldn’t, but wanted to just observe, resulting in my having to prepare an English interlinear for 8 chapters of 1 Kings–i.e., more work for me rather than less work!). I had prepared 6 chapters by that Wednesday night.

Then, Thursday afternoon came around. At 4 pm my wife called saying she felt the contractions coming on. So, I had to cut out of the workshop 30 minutes early. About 28 hours later, our son would be born. So, I lost that full day of the workshop. We were in the hospital until Sunday afternoon, so I was occupied for two weekend days, but no more workshop time was lost. I had to prepare two more chapters for an English interlinear, so I spent an hour doing that in the workshop.

I got back into the workshop on Monday, and we picked up where we left off. We had various other distractions along the way, slowing down our progress. In the end, we finished up to and including 2 Kings 6, which meant that I didn’t actually have to do any more prep work after the previous Wednesday night. God gave me just enough time to do all the preparation work needed for the workshop (except the 1 hour of work in the hospital), and He arranged it such that we basically lost only 1 day of the workshop because of my son’s birth. Plus, because of that, I could focus on helping my wife at home in the evenings during the second week of the workshop, instead of having to prepare more material, as I normally always have to do during a workshop. In fact, if I calculate the number of days we actually spent on 1-2 Kings (7.5 days), I find that we were as productive in this past workshop as any in the past.

I will add that I couldn’t have gotten back into the workshop very easily if it hadn’t been for the sacrificial help of my mom. She stayed all day every day with my mom while I was at the office, and then she stayed until late in the evening while Oksana and I did other tasks. So, I thank God for leading my mom to live close to us so that she could help us bear our burdens!

I also hoped Eliyas would come early in May, because we needed time for him to get into a good pattern before leaving for Quebec in mid-June. Well, God worked that out too. The pastors were very gracious to move the meetings back, giving us an extra week before we have to leave.

It never ceases to amaze me how God orchestrates His plan in my life such that everything works out well for a workshop. Why don’t I learn this lesson and stop getting stressed out about how it’s all going to work out? Maybe I’ll be less stressed out the next time? No, there will be completely different circumstances, causing me to wonder again how it’s all going to come together. If only I could trust God more, work within the time slots God gives, and leave the rest with Him!

Read Full Post »

Metanoia NT workshop

Oksana and I are thankful for the safety and the Lord’s blessings on our recent translation workshop in Eurasia. My goal was to cover 600 verses, which would be double what we did last time, but we ended up doing just under 300. But that’s partly because we took an entire afternoon (thanks partly to the power outage) to elicit verb forms from them, so I could understand better how their verbs work. We also spent an afternoon trying to work through some problems with their orthography. There are around 4 sounds that still have issues regarding what symbol to use. Another organization is trying to settle the matter by field testing, so they came to the workshop to test the symbols with our team. Hopefully, we’ll get this settled this year, so we can use the correct symbols throughout the translation. And hopefully we’ll make better progress next time in the translation. I’m thankful to see how the translators are growing well in their skills in translation and grammar. Oksana and I are also growing in our understanding of the language. We asked them to write 4 different types of regular (not translations of biblical passages) texts by 3 different people so we can do more analysis, and we asked them to complete 4 verb tables as well. Hopefully this material will give us even better ways to understand their language.

Because of the slowness of the workshop, we had time on the second weekend to take a two-day trip. We really enjoyed seeing the countryside and spending time getting to know friends. We are also thankful for many opportunities to minister to our friends.

We are also thankful for many opportunities for ministry to our translation team. They’ve been through a lot recently, so we were able to be an encouragement to them, as they were also an encouragement to us. They are truly a great group of believers to work with! We look forward to the next time we’ll see them, though this time there will be three of us!

As a side note, we are very thankful that our support rose to 88% during our trip. God is providing!

If you are interested in some technical details, you should check out my “Translator’s Page” for a list of some issues we wrestled through during this workshop.

Read Full Post »

Michael Grant, an adjunct stewardship representative for BI, edited three excerpts from the past, added his own introductory and concluding thoughts, and published A Bible for Every Hand and Heart (Xlibris, 2014) to encourage believers as to how we can get more involved in Bible translation. They are as follows:

  1. “The first encompasses all the spoken material of the service held in 1812 commissioning America’s first foreign missionaries, of which Adoniram Judson is the most well-known of the group.”
  2. “The second is a sermon preached in Salem, Massachusetts, by Benjamin Wadsworth in 1815.”
  3. “The third is a sermon delivered by Baron Stow in 1846 to the American and Foreign Bible Society on the occasion of its ninth anniversary.”

Grant did a good job of updating the 19th-century content so that it gives a “modern voice to the material so that it may speak again and be understood by our generation.” He chose these three excerpts for the following reasons:

  1. “Each conveys a deep-seated belief about all men.”
  2. “Each, very thankfully, proclaims the one and only cure for mankind’s guilt and condemnation before God.”
  3. “Each displays a bold, confident faith in the Bible–a faith believing God has authored a Book as eternal and powerful as He is.”
  4. “Each stresses the importance of declaring the Bible’s message to mankind worldwide.”
  5. “Each pinpoints language as an obstacle to this mission of spreading God’s Word worldwide.”
  6. “Each agrees that overcoming the language barrier is a non-negotiable and must be pursued at all costs, whether in personnel or personal resources.”
  7. “Each presents an urgent call to action–to make the Bible available to men in the language they understand best.”

The first excerpt, made up of various speeches given on the occasion, is an excellent reminder of all the reasons why we should be engaged in missions work. I particularly enjoyed Leonard Woods’ sermon to the new missionaries. He lays out the motivations that should move us to action. He writes,

He takes into  account their temporal comfort, and endeavours to promote it… But, when their spiritual interest is before him, when he contemplates the value of their souls and the prospect that the Gospel opens of immortal happiness in the world to come, his deepest inner compassions are moved; his most tender affections kindled, pure and heavenly love pervades and warms his soul. (p. 30)

He gives 7 motives that should move us to reach out to lost souls: “the worth of immortal souls, the plenteousness of the provision which Christ has made for their salvation, the express command of our Lord to preach the Gospel, the peculiar design of Christianity and its adaptability as a universal religion, the spirit of prophecy, and the operations of divine Providence at the present day.” (p. 48)

Samuel Spring’s charge is also moving, especially when he warns them:

Never, never preach the theory of the Gospel until you have presented the practice of the Gospel in your own godly example.

In the second historical excerpt of Grant’s book, Benjamin Wadsworth recommends the Bible as “a volume for the world.” After exalting the many excellencies of the Word, he concludes,

We therefore very justly consider the Holy Scriptures as the Word of God, an invaluable treasure–one of Heaven’s best gifts to men. (p. 76)

He then exhorts us to consider how blessed the world would be if they had the Bible in their hands. He writes,

We have therefore reason to conclude that the streams of widespread goodness will not cease to flow till all nations are blessed with the Word of His grace. (p. 80)

He appeals to us to try to help those without the Word by reminding us that the second greatest commandment should compel us, who “know the excellency of God’s Word and enjoy its consolations and hopes,” to help those who don’t enjoy these benefits. He points us to the fact that the Bible alone gives us knowledge of God and Jesus Christ, which leads us to eternal life, and this knowledge we possess lays upon us an obligation to impart it to the world.

The third excerpt is Baron Stow’s sermon “The Bible for the World,” and this portion of Grant’s book is probably my favorite. He begins by emphasizing how badly the world needs the Bible. He substantiates this point by asking us to consider how awful a condition our country would be in if we didn’t have the Bible. What a sobering thought to imagine!

Stow recommends the Bible as an authoritative standard of doctrine and practice, which is what mankind needs (p. 122). The Bible satisfies our desire to see into the future, and it speaks to our heart (pp. 122-124). Then he explains how the Bible is adapted to the world and designed for the world and concludes,

If, then, the Bible is needed by the world, if it is adapted to the world, if it is designed for the world, why, inquires the thoughtful hearer, has so large a portion of the world never seen it or even heard of its existence? (p. 127)

What a soul-searching question! Stow urges us to realize we are debtors to the world to take the Word to them.

The measure of our obligation is, of course, determined by our ability and by the resources that we have for the effective use of that ability. (p. 129)

Surely, the American church has sufficient ability and abundant resources!

No time is to be lost. The world needs the Bible! The world must have the Bible! Its populations are sinking annually in compacted millions by a starless way to a dreary eternity. Shall we whose souls are lighted by the Revelations of Heaven continue to deny to those wanderers the Lamp of Salvation? We are engaged in a great work and by nothing should we allow ourselves to be diverted from our straight onward path of duty. (p. 131)

Stow ends his sermon by highlighting the immense responsibilities of a translator but also the crucial importance of a preacher to go alongside the published translation, as well as the absolutely necessary work of the Spirit of God.

Grant ends his book with some final thoughts to encourage us to get involved in Bible translation:

  1. “Begin by personally acquainting yourself with the work of a Bible Society.” (He recommends BI as the one to seek out.)
  2. “Establish a friendship with some Bible translators.”
  3. “Consistently follow the progress of at least one Bible translation project while not losing sight of the broader existing work.”
  4. “Financially support the work and workers making the Bible available worldwide.”
  5. “Finally, but most importantly, support prayerfully the work and workers making the Bible available worldwide.”

Grant’s desire and prayer is that “all readers of this book will involve themselves in this endeavor at some level.” I say a hearty Amen to that! May it be so!

You can find out more about Mike Grant at www.treasuringtheword.org. On his webpage he describes his ministry in this way: “We maintain a rare Bible and book museum in Sevierville, Tennessee displaying in an interactive, chronological format the history of our English Bible. We are committed, in cooperation with Bibles International, to providing a conservative, “heart language” translation of the Scriptures for those people groups in need. We also provide Bible study tools to institutions and individuals who are training for the preaching/teaching ministry in underprivileged or mission-restricted countries. We revise and publish rare, out-of-print works relevant to the spiritual well-being of mankind.”

 

 

Read Full Post »

Dear Family and Friends,

In Jay Adam’s A Theology of Christian Counseling, my current counseling book to read, he points out the seriousness of the accusation “That isn’t fair!” that counselees often make. It’s tempting to say such words when we don’t understand how good things can happen to bad people and vice versa. But with this accusation the counselee is “challenging the justice of God and the faithfulness of His Word.” It also demonstrates “a clear lack of faith.” As believers, we must trust God and accept by faith what He says about how He will reward good and punish wickedness.

PROGRESS AND LOSS

The month of July began with Oksana attending (with me at her side) BMM’s Candidate Seminar. We enjoyed the fellowship and learning at the week and a half of orientation, and we are rejoicing that Oksana now has “appointee” status. Eventually, we’ll both be commissioned by our new church in Grand Rapids, and she’ll then have full missionary status. PRAY as we continue to seek monthly support, which is currently at 81%. PRAISE Him for the 1% increase!

During the seminar, Oksana’s dad had some sort of mild heart attack. He refused to get medical help, and passed away a few weeks later. He most likely died in the same spiritual state he was in throughout his life—a hardened atheist. Oksana wasn’t able to make it to Ukraine for the funeral, but she got to visit his grave when we stopped in Ukraine after the Metanoia NT workshop. PRAY for her and her family as they now deal with the loss of two loved ones—her nephew and her dad. PRAY especially that Oksana’s brother-in-law will turn from alcohol and false religion and run to Christ.

ANNUAL EVENTS AND WORKSHOPS

img_2982

In August, I led another Consultant Seminar, which was probably the most well-attended since I began leading in 2007. Current consultants, prospective consultants, and others enjoyed our focus on dictionary-making and literacy. It does no good for us to publish the Scriptures if the recipients can’t read, and one thing that encourages literacy is having a dictionary in the target language. PRAY for wisdom to put into practice all we learned. PRAISE God for my mom’s leadership over all the food service. Next year our new administrative assistant, Becky Holub, will be in charge. PRAISE God for His provision of a new assistant!

After the seminar, we enjoyed three days at the annual BI Retreat. We are thankful for the emphasis on living by faith. On October 20, we’ll have our annual BI Harvest Dinner, which will focus on our Chad and Central African Republic projects. PRAY for a good offering.

img_3064

The day after the retreat, Oksana and I flew to Eurasia for another Metanoia NT workshop. We checked James, 1-3 John, and Mark 1:35-3:22. I’m so thankful for Oksana’s significant aid as my Russian interpreter. PRAY that God will provide more funds for her to go again in January (designate gifts to “Troy Manning—Passage”), which we need until we get full support. PRAY for better progress on this project too and for the health of the two translators.

PRAY for the Haitian Creole OT translator to finish enough material for us to have a workshop in November. He’s been struggling with electricity outages in Haiti.

For the cause of Christ,

Troy (for both of us)

 

Read Full Post »

I just finished my 14th translation checking with the Haitian Creole OT. We were supposed to take two full weeks on the translation, but the translator was distracted by the birth of his third child last month (he has Down syndrome) so he wasn’t able to get as much material ready as we wanted. So, we finished the workshop in 7 days, even though we also spent time working through some issues with the upcoming publication of the NT with Psa/Prov. This project is already at least 5 years behind schedule, so we can’t afford to lose any more workshop days. We have another workshop scheduled for November in Haiti, so pray the translator will be able to start getting caught up by at least having enough material ready for two full weeks.

I have a few weeks break from workshops until I need to start getting ready for the Eurasia workshop in August. I will probably start working through that material beginning in July, even though we’ll also begin our travels to churches during that month. Actually, we’ll be in 3 churches in MD and PA, with the Candidate Seminar (for Oksana) at the BMM home office in the midst of that. We may also go to a conference in WI before heading home at the end of the month.

So, hopefully I can use these few weeks remaining in June to get some other urgent tasks done, including preparing material for a Discourse Analysis course that I will administer to 4 consultants long-distance. Oksana and I will also be taking a few days vacation, and during one weekend we’ll take a trip to our supporting church in Waukegan. Pray for strength to keep up with everything!

Read Full Post »

In spite of how easy it seems to be for our southern neighbors to migrate into the USA, it can be extremely difficult for those who follow the legal process. We tried to get visas for an Indian couple to attend the missionary linguistics courses at BJU this summer, but they were denied. So, we tried again but this time to just have the man go, but once again we were denied. After sending many, many emails to try to get this process to succeed, we have to set aside all that work and go with Plan C, which is to figure out how to get them training in-house. I’m currently collaborating with my consultants to figure out an in-house training program. I look forward to seeing what the Lord will do through this process. At least, we saved BI from having to spend thousands for this couple to go to the USA to get the training, but it sure creates a lot of work for us who have to do the training ourselves.

BI needs someone to help put down new mulch on our small campus, so I wonder if someone in the area would be willing to give half a day to do that. This may sound overly spiritual but it’s true–it’s a simple way to be part of missions work!

BI has also broken down some of our funding needs into “bit-sized” chunks. Below is a list of “small projects” that churches or individuals may consider contributing to. All of these have merit and are needed, but I’m particularly interested in seeing the resources for Lun (and his wife) supplied as well as the computers for the projects in Chad. If we could get our Chad projects computerized, we could save thousands of dollars in the long-run, since it would really speed up the work, especially the quality checks at the end.

Small Project List 2016

 

Project: Funding Need:
Waalii (Ghana)  – Dictionary $ 500
National Translation Consultant (Lun Hangluah) – Resources $750
Chakma (India) – Literacy Printing $ 1,000
Chiru (India) – Literacy Printing $ 1,000
Kamar (India) – Literacy Printing $ 1,000
Kaulong (Papua New Guinea) – Literacy Printing $ 1,000
Matu (Myanmar) – Scripture Portions $ 1,000
Ranglong (India) – Literacy Printing $ 1,000
Tenek (Mexico) – Literacy Printing $ 1,000
Day (Chad) – Computer(s) $ 1,200
Kaowlu (Côte d’Ivoire) – Computer(s) $ 1,200
Metanoia (Unnamed) – Computer(s) $ 1,200
Sara Kaba Deme (Chad) – Computer(s) ($1,200) & Scripture Portions ($1,000) $ 1,200
Sara Kaba Naa (Chad) – Computer(s) $ 1,200
Tangkhul Naga (India) – Computer(s) $ 1,200
Neao (Côte d’Ivoire) – Computer(s) ($1,200) & Literacy Printing ($1,000) $ 2,200
Ngam (Chad) – Computer(s) ($1,200) & Literacy Printing ($1,000) $ 2,200
BI Building – Attic – Insulation & IT Wiring $ 3,000
Total Funds Needed to Complete Projects $22,850

This week I’ve read a few articles on how to translate γύναι in John 2:4 and 19:26. One article suggests that “woman” is too disrespectful and that “my lady” or “dear lady” are better. Another article pointed out that the Greek term is quite neutral in its usage in general, but that it’s quite shocking for Jesus to use it in reference to His mother. Thus, Jesus is expressing a detachment from His mother by His use of the term, as well as of His question “what does that have to do with us?” Maybe “dear lady” would express that in English, though I still favor “woman” as the best translation, as long as it is read with a soft tone of voice.

Oksana and I look forward to heading back to the Indy area this weekend. We will be with our friends at Faith Baptist Church in Morristown, IN, first. I went there a number of years ago and really enjoyed my time with Pastor Scott and his congregation. They have continued to stay in touch, though they don’t support us financially. I even dropped in on Pastor Scott and his wife one icy winter day when I was trying to get back to GR. They graciously housed an intern and me when we realized it was going to be impossible to get any further.

Then, on Sunday evening we are going to return to Colonial Hills Baptist Church so the people can meet Oksana. She missed the last visit because of the emergency trip to Ukraine. I look forward to having the church hear her salvation testimony and then getting to know the people, especially the Russian-speaking couples.

Read Full Post »

This morning I just dipped into Stephen Doty’s dissertation (2007), The Paradigm Shift in Bible Translation in the Modern Era, with Special Focus on Thai. He explains that it was Eugene A. Nida of the United Bible Societies in the mid-20th century who greatly influenced the Bible translation world by his development of the “functional equivalence” (he actually coined the term “dynamic equivalence,” a translation philosophy that predates him but was brought to a systematic form by him; but today people call it “functional equivalence) approach to translation.

Doty then explains that SIL extended this approach toward a “meaning-based” approach. He explains that this new approach is “freer in several respects than Nida’s approach.” He notes in chapter 3 that some translators have taken this new approach too far (which I will heartily affirm!).

However, his dissertation documents how the pendulum has shifted back to a more literal approach in the 1980s and 1990s. He explains that translators realized they were going farther than Nida had proposed, but that they should also progress beyond his overemphasis on the “Code Model” of language and instead focus on “relevance.” Therefore, translations into minority languages became more literal in the late-20th century (a welcomed shift in my mind!).

I look forward to reading more of Doty’s dissertation someday, but I at least wanted to get these introductory thoughts down.

On the other end of the spectrum, I recently read bits of Richard L. Heldenbrand’s Christianity and New Evangelical Philosophies (1999) in which he exposes the relativism that underlies Nida’s thoughts. He explains the two key thoughts that show Nida’s view of Scripture:

The Biblical revelation is not absolute, and

All divine revelation is incarnational.

Heldenbrand rightly sees the Hegelian dialectic in these ideas. If Heldenbrand is correct in his identification  of the relativistic threads in Nida’s thinking (and I have no reason to think otherwise), Nida’s theory of translating is surely built upon shifting sands. These threads, then, are interwoven into all modern extensions and developments of his theory. How much better it is to see Bible translation as a means of preserving God’s Word, rather than stepping in to mediate it by added interpretation and clarification!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »