Working Hard For God….And Loving It!

You know that expression, “There is no rest for the weary”.  Well, since I still have a couple of days left here in Papua New Guinea, the Branch Language Director and I determined that we should capitalize on this limited time we have together.  So she showed me some new ways to use my computer tools to advance my abilities to do consulting work on Bible translations.

Up until now, I have been doing a lot of my preparation work and my translation checking in a rather slow and difficult method.  I would have three different computer applications running at the same time and I would have to go back and forth between each program to do the following things:

  • know what the Greek text said,
  • study what the words and phrases in the verse at hand meant,
  • find other verses in the Bible that use the same or similar key terms and phrases,
  • read commentaries and translation notes and handbooks
  • discover various ways in which the truth of Scripture can be expressed in different languages
  • analyze the translation of the language text that I am to do consulting on
  • prepare notes and comments to help in the checking and revising of the text

That certainly is a lot of work in itself, but to have to constantly change which program I need to look at, well, it is not only tiring, but I can find myself getting lost and asking myself, “Now what was it I was going to check?”  I desperately needed a new way to get myself organized and to boost the power of the main programs I really should be using to assist the translation of Scriptures into multiple languages.

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So what a God send it has been to have these few extra days to learn more about the one program that I was starting to use, which is called Paratext.  In this program, I can have a large number of windows showing that are very useful to me and are linked to each other.  So on the new assignment I have just been asked to look at, I can have the following items running in Paratext:

  • the original Greek or Hebrew text of the Bible
  • an interlinear Greek/English or Hebrew/English text
  • a window of windows letting me view from four to eight other English Bible versions
  • the vernacular text of the translation we are checking
  • a vernacular text back-translated into English for me to follow the translation
  • an interlinear vernacular/English suggested analyzed text
  • a Greek/English/Vernacular consistency comparison chart
  • and a Greek lexicon (dictionary)

That is a lot of information packed within one program window.  And it looks like this:

So after I got a feel for the power of this program, the language director gave me an assignment to see if I could figure out how to use all this to help in my translation checking work.  She told me to find the Key Word for ‘Lord’ in Acts and Ephesians for this language that I had never seen before.  She wanted me to see if the text had a standard translation form, and to examine if all occurrences of the word were translated in a consistent manner.

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The Greek for ‘Lord’ is “kurios” and after just a few clicks, I had found that this word is used 133 times in the two books.  By looking at the suggested analyzed text, I saw that this Greek word is usually translated as “Tuhan”.  Then I used the Key Term consistency check and I found that there were 22 places that I did not find “Tuhan” in the vernacular text.

Looking at each of these 22 places, I saw that sometimes ‘Lord’ was used of earthly masters, or were a title of respect.  It would be like saying, “Sir”.  This narrowed things down and I found that in only 12 places was there a possible concern as to whether they had translated this Greek word well or not.  And I was able to do all this in less than 2 hours.

WOW!!!  I now know some good ways to check key biblical terms and phrases from the Greek and cross-check a language I’ve never seen before.  And it was so quick.  It is like the difference between having a dial-up internet connection versus a high-speed DSL or satellite connection.  THIS IS SOOOO COOL!!!!

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So let’s see, I just finished on Friday an 8 month project of checking 5 books of the New Testament that included working with three different languages here.  And now I am possibly going to be set up to check parts of three other language projects over the next year, one of which will be in another  country of the world and be done by internet Skypeing and email note transfer.

So between completing the last major assignment and now sort of starting this new assignment, I got, hmmm… day off.  LOL.  But that’s okay.  Working on languages for me is like giving candy to a kid.  I can hardly wait to really sink my teeth into this next assignment.

But back to reality here.  I do need to get packed up as I leave tomorrow and start my long 4 day trip to return from Papua New Guinea back to Canada.  This has been a great two months here in PNG.  And I want to thank everyone who has been praying for me and Jill.  God’s Word is going forward in many local languages here, and I am glad that we are able to play a part in seeing that this work is being done.

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