Conveying the emotional meaning of a text


How would you translate this text? And a sword will pierce your own soul too. Luke 2:35b.

These are the words of Simeon to Mary when she brought her baby Jesus to the temple. They speak of the pain and sorrow she will experience when Jesus is rejected.

In the Merei language it is possible to translate it literally as: A knife for fighting will cut into your spirit/life. However, if we use these words they won’t convey any of the emotional content of the original text and then much of its meaning is lost.

After much discussion we came up with an expression that says, Your heart will despair for your child. This is the kind of expression that a Merei speaker would use to convey the deep sorrow felt by a person at the loss of a loved one.

By doing it this way, have we changed the Scriptures? These are the kinds of challenges we and the translation team face every day as we seek to accurately translate the meaning of God’s Word into the Merei language.

PRAY: Pray that the Spirit will lead the translation team to make good choices in translation work.
WATCH: Adam speaks about mentoring and growing people in their faith here:

This story is from Wycliffe Today – April 2017 Edition (PDF)

About the Author: Adam Pike, translation advisor (Vanuatu). Find out more


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