dwilkins at ucr.campus.mci.net
Thu Dec 3 17:33:56 EST 1998
Speaking as a translator, I would like to contribute a few thoughts to those
who may be interested in Bible translation as a career.
The theological position of the translating organization or publisher and
the target language are decisive factors. Obviously there are far greater
needs for translations in languages other than English, and for many
languages the only work being done is by missionaries, who are truly
precious saints. I fear that those who train them do a less than adequate
job in the original languages, or maybe none at all, perhaps due to limited
resources. Surely non-English readers deserve the same quality of work as
that expended on the best English translations, and it would be wonderful to
see future translators in other languages pursuing advanced degrees in
biblical languages. Along with many others, I too cringe to see the decline
of language studies at all levels, but the root of the problem always is low
student turnout, and if that changed biblical languages could thrive--after
all, Bible translation doesn't exactly need to be "justified" as worthwhile.
One would think that college administrators would support appropriate
language programs if the numbers were there.
For those whose interest is limited to English Bible translation, it is a
seller's market (i.e. few jobs) and I find it hard to imagine it ever being
otherwise. Also, one needs to decide on one's own theology and values
relevant to translation, and then determine what translating organizations
are or will be compatible. For example, if one has a very strong position on
verbal inspiration and a determination to stick to a formal equivalency
approach, it would be unconscionable and eventually painful to do work on a
paraphrase. As in accepting a teaching position or even a partner in
marriage, you need to be able to enter the relationship with the conviction
that you will be a team player and not expect your fellow workers or partner
to change or adapt to you.
Fortunately I need to run, or I might ramble on with this quasi-fatherly
advice ad nauseam!
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