Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Great Grub!

Some of you know that I am still mourning the loss of the blogging connections I had made in the years when I used Modblog as a server, so I've been looking to see what I had saved before Modblog went out of action. This is one of my favourites - and well worth repeating, though in 4 years Bible translation has gone from strength to strength.

""We'll prepare a caterpillar feast when you come to Congo!" Anzabati, a fellow student in Nairobi would promise me. Eventually, after he returned home to the Democratic Republic, I visited him and enjoyed the promised feast. With a triumphant air, Anzabati's wife produced a pot of brown smoked caterpillars. Everyone grinned as I took the plunge. The verdict: chewy and grainy, but good.

There was much food for thought at a translation workshop I then joined. People from three language groups were being trained to work on Luke's Gospel, the first Scripture in their languages. Luke often mentions food!

In Chapter 11, Jesus teaches his disciples to pray for 'daily bread'. Not easy to translate for people who've never tasted bread! After 12 years of war and economic collapse, Wheat flour is scarce so most children have no idea what bread is. If the translators use the word 'bread', younger readers won't understand. If they substitute 'food', people who know the French Bible may object that it changes the original.

Then Jesus asks, "If your son asks for a fish, will you give him a snake?" implying that no-one would, but a Congolese father might! Snake meat is commonly eaten and is a great source of protein. If there was no fish, a caring dad could well provide snake instead. So this question doesn't make sense! One translator suggested using 'chameleon'. That would make the point loud and clear. Chameleons are taboo creatures, hated, feared and avoided. Of course you wouldn't give your child a chameleon to eat!
Sarah Casson

[This is taken from the Wycliffe Bible Translators' May-June 2004 issue of 'Call to Prayer'.]

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