Guest Speaker: Rob H.
If you’ve ever flown on Air Canada, or Lufthansa, or Air China—you hear a lot of translating going on. We hear the seatbelt instructions in English and then in French. If you fly internationally, you may hear them in several languages. All this for seatbelts. Many people here in church speak another language. It’s quite common, especially in countries where immigration was or is common. Canada has its basis on two languages—English and French. Around the world, businesses are translating another language into English, translating English into another language…we want to make sure people understand what they need to know in their own language.
Translating languages is not easy. I’ve presented in English in front of the European Medicines Agency—imagine if you will, a room full of people, each with their own language listening on earpieces to my words via simultaneous translators while I listen to their comments on my earpiece through the work of a simultaneous translator. We’re trying to explain some difficult areas of science, and there is a LOT of languages all spoken at the same time trying to find some commonality. It takes time and it takes skill, because words have meaning.
We can use language loosely. Let me give you an example: You might ask me when I will get back to you with an answer on a specific issue, and I would say in ‘a couple of days’. To me that means about 2 days or so. To a person from a German background, that means exactly 48 hours—upon which if I have not given them the information I can expect a phone call! To someone from an Asian cultural background, if I didn’t reply early with the information, it would mean that I have intentionally caused disrespect for the other person. You can easily see how tricky this is!
Words have cultural meaning—the cloud used to mean puffy things over our head, now it also refers to a place to store and share data over the internet, tablets were made of clay or stone, now they are made from silicon and computer chips. Words have cultural impact.
Each time we translate, we have to be careful ensuring the words are correct. It’s not as easy as literally translating one word for another—you can end up with some terrible translations that way!
As you may know, there are a number of translations of the Bible, ranging from literal word for word right to a paraphrase you can see on your right-hand side. I use the English Standard Version mostly, and use the other translations to help me understand what God is saying to me. Each one of these translations has value to us, and illuminates God’s word to us.
NOTE: Due to technical difficulties the audio sound is not the best, we apologize for any inconvenience.