Monday, 6 October 2014

continued elsewhere...

My blog continues in a new format here

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

and breathe...

The translation team is currently working through Numbers, and recently we arrived at 16:22, which in one English version says:

“But Moses and Aaron fell facedown and cried out, 'O God, God of the spirits of all mankind, will you be angry with the entire assembly when only one man sins?'”

Translated literally back into English, our Monkolé draft translation began the reported speech in this verse, “God, because of whom everything exists ...”

Now in Hebrew it actually says something like, “God, God of the spirits of all flesh”. “Spirit” here is a word for spirit, breath or wind, and “flesh” is a word which can apply to human beings and/or animals.

I felt that our translation was missing the point. Moses and Aaron are afraid that in His anger God will kill (even more of) the Israelites, and so they are reminding Him that these people only have life/breath in them because He gave it to them, and they are urging Him to think twice before taking it away again.

One of the problems was that in Monkolé the word for “lives” and “exists” are the same, though in the above example from our first draft translation it has to be “exists” since we are talking about “everything” (and not all things live). But we managed to get closer to the (I believe) intended meaning by changing our translation to “God, because of whom all living/breathing creatures live/exist”. It isn't quite the same as the English because this translation chose to understand “flesh” as meaning purely human beings. It would actually be very hard to do this in Monkolé while keeping the idea of “breath”/“life” so we have left it as all living/breathing beings.


The church kids' camp for which we translated 2 Kings 4 and 5 took place last week. There were 166 kids at it! Here are a few photos:

Thursday, 4 September 2014

a quick dip

The translation team is currently working through Numbers, but this week one of the church elders asked us if we could give them the text of 2 Kings 4 and 5 for the children's camp being held later this month. We said yes, of course!

So the beginning of this week was taken up with converting an old-format file of the draft version of 2 Kings into the format we now use, and then reading through and working on it to make it as accurate, readable and consistent (with other books) as possible. It is important that Elisha and Naaman's names are spelt the same way in 2 Kings and in Luke, that Carmel is spelt the same way everywhere it is mentioned and so on. We have words like "naa" and "na" which we need to try not to mix up, and we had to discuss whether certain sentences were better worded as questions or as affirmations.

In Hebrew Elisha is called the "man of God" in many parts of these chapters, but in Monkolé that just sounded weird, so we put "prophet of God" instead. And we had several discussions about where an extra "i" should be added onto the end of a word ... it sort of gives focus to the sentence ... but I never have much to add to these particular debates, which really need native Monkolé speakers!

We had some interesting discussions as we worked, particularly about Gehazi's behaviour in 2 Kings 5:20-2 (I'll leave you to look it up if you're interested!).

Thursday, 21 August 2014


Sometimes I liken my work to ironing. A lot of what I do is trying to smooth out "creases". Correcting spelling mistakes and typos, making sure that names of people and places are spelled the same way every time they appear, making sure we have consistent vocabulary and so on. Sometimes it is frustrating to come across old drafts which are very "wrinkled", but there is a certain satisfaction in working on them and seeing them become flat and pristine.

The ironic thing is that in the real world I hate ironing!

Friday, 15 August 2014

14th August 2004

Our marriage is ten years young...

"We love because he first loved us." I John 4:l9

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

schizophrenic sky

I wish I had a wider-angle lense, because the further left you looked, the blacker the cloud became ... and it's a pity you can't hear the rumbles of thunder too! The other funny thing is that the cloud was moving towards me, so one side of the sky remained blue, while this huge thundercloud loomed overhead ... or at least on the righthand side of overhead!