Posts Tagged ‘translation philosophy’

Though we are very thankful for “our Enola home,” we are excited about relocating our PA headquarters to Kittanning, where we’ll be through Mother’s Day weekend. We will be speaking in 5 more churches during this last week and a half of furlough ministry. We’ll also get to see individual supporters all along the way.

We are thankful for the very encouraging time we had at Community Baptist in Fleetwood and then at Calvary Baptist in York. Both churches were very encouraging and receptive to us. We’ve also enjoyed welcoming spring into this area. This past week was finally a week of consistently warm temperatures. We will definitely miss getting to take evening walks along the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg.


After doing a lot of reading about translation philosophy, I finally cranked out a rough draft of a lecture on it for the Bible translation course. Though scholarship is moving beyond functional equivalence (formerly called dynamic equivalence), this is still the prevalent philosophy in textbooks and the majority of the last translations. So, my lecture focuses on essentially a comparison of BI’s philosophy and functional equivalence. I really appreciated the critical analyses that are available to help me think through the issues, but probably my favorite analysis was done by Vern Poythress in Translating Truth. His article is called “Truth and Fullness of Meaning.” His main point is that functional equivalence has essentially reduced the translation process to a scientific process. This is evident even in the title of his first book, Toward a Science of Translation. He took the advances in linguistics, especially in regard to grammar studies (e.g., generative grammar by Noam Chomsky), and applied them to the task of Bible translation. The process he proposed is one of analysis, transfer, and restructuring, by means of kernel analysis and transformations, in order to produce the proper reader response to the resulting translation. As Poythress explains, this process is too reductionistic, even though Nida does give some explanation of the artistic aspects as well. Like Poythress, I am thankful for the analytical tools that Nida has provided in the theory he advanced, and I also recognize that Nida cannot be held responsible for those who have taken his theory further than he intended it to go. But I really appreciate Poythress helping me to see that translation is much more than a scientific process; it’s an art and a science. Also, the meaning of the biblical texts cannot be discovered simply by linguistic analysis. The transfer to other languages is much more than the transformation of underlying kernels into new forms in the target language. We also depend upon God’s Spirit to guide us, and we bow in humble recognition that some passages elude even our best efforts at trying to discover the meaning.

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It’s been a busy past few weeks as we started the trip with a deputation meeting in MD, and then went to OH for 1.5 weeks, and are in 3 different places in PA this week. By Sat we’ll be in MD, and then we stop off in OH on our way to WI next week. We plan on being back home on Thursday.

The Lord really blessed our time at Peoples Bible Church in Frederick, MD. It was my third time to visit the church (second time to present), but it was my first time to be with Oksana. Since they already knew of her through Bruce Tuttle’s ministry, it was fun to introduce her to them. Pastor Ramler and his church received us very warmly. He said we are on the top of the list for receiving support. Pray the Lord would provide through them!

We spent a few days of vacation in Erie, PA, the following week (and visited our supporting church, Walnut Creek Baptist Church), before heading to the BMM office for Candidate Seminar. It was a thrill to show the BMM family who God provided as a companion in ministry for me. They applauded and were all smiles when I introduced her Thursday night.

Oksana and I thoroughly enjoyed being at the BMM office with the other candidates (9 total). I had already gone through the seminar in 2007, so I was kinda listening with “one ear” while also trying to get other projects done. I wanted to be there to help Oksana if she didn’t know a word, but I also needed to keep up with my BI responsibilities. But I was basically included as a candidate and even got to participate in the skits. We presented at two churches in the area: Northfield Baptist Church and Southwest Community Baptist Church. We’ll be back to the latter on Nov 13.

The Saturday after the seminar, we drove to Peckville, PA, to present at Faith Baptist Church. Pastor Vigil and his church also know Oksana through Bruce Tuttle, so it was a great joy to be there as well. They also received us warmly, so we hope to develop a partnership with them.

We spent a few days in Enola this week before heading to Lancaster (we visited our supporting church there, Cornerstone Independent Baptist Church). Some friends gave us an anniversary gift to go to the Sight & Sound presentation of “Samson,” so we are looking forward to seeing that tonight.

Tomorrow we head to Flemington, NJ, where we will be speaking all day tomorrow. Heritage Baptist Church, pastored by Dan Troutman, also supports Bruce, so it should be another enjoyable day.

On Monday we will “celebrate” our one-year anniversary by driving back to the BMM office and then on to Wakarusa, IN, for a short night. And then to Maranatha Baptist University for the Bible Faculty Summit. I will present BI’s Translation Philosophy and hope to connect with the Bible profs. Maybe they could help us with the work at BI and/or direct students to join us!

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