With a whirlwind of final meetings, David wrapped up his solo month in Nigeria and returned to the heart of the family at the start of May. By then they had moved over from Northern Ireland to Glasgow and Rebekah had started at a local primary school. Continue reading →
Here’s an abstract that has been approved for presentation at a Bible Translation conference:
Making dictionaries serve translation
John Roberts has lamented the tendency of Bible translators to ignore lexicography until after a New Testament has been completed and printed. The consequence is that while the translation process necessarily reveals much of the lexical richness of a language, few dictionaries are ever finished and little of the effort of creating such a dictionary ends up benefitting the translation itself. It does tend to be a peculiar minority of people who attack the task of lexicography with relish, but I want to outline the many ways that a working dictionary can and should support better writing. Recent developments have eroded many of the difficulties which have hindered the development and use of dictionaries. There is no need to typeset a full dictionary before it is used; software-based dictionaries can be useful even when incomplete. Rather than throwing knowledge away, every translator or pioneer writer should see the dictionary as a place to store the riches of their language and conserve the fruit of their wrestling with the language. Mother-tongue translators need dictionaries too. Where a diverse range of community members contribute their knowledge of the language to make a good, growing, living dictionary it can provide consultants, reviewers and translators alike with a wider evidence base for their decisions than mere individual opinion. I survey recent developments that make dictionary development more achievable than ever before, and propose procedures for Bible translators to use and maintain a dictionary with examples from projects that have done this.
I thought I’d share some of my rough research and open up some questions and loose ends here in public while I’m preparing the paper.
Current Status of work: Literature & research review
I’m investigating times in the distant past right up to recently where dictionaries have made a contribution to Bible translation, whether positive or negative.
Near-misses are the bane of the translator’s life and work.
In the same way that a falsehood is more dangerous when it contains a large element of truth, terms or thinking that seem nearly similar between cultures create a very dangerous translation environment.
One handy example of this is the term ‘curse’.
What is a curse? What is cursing? Some people (especially certain pastors) are tempted to consult a dictionary to answer this kind of question. As a sometime lexicographer I have a healthy skepticism about the good that can do for this situation, Continue reading →
It suddenly dawned on me that May was coming round, and for most of the past 8 years that meant there would be some kind of trouble and rumpus regarding the Church of Scotland annual General Assembly. It’s actually a great joy to be able to put all that behind us now. Indeed, Phillip Jensen very helpfully urged us to stop looking over our shoulders and not let the persecution of the past control us (my paraphrase). But I’m afraid I still couldn’t resist wondering what was happening and whether the ‘Kirk’ was actually declining and falling into obscurity as rapidly as we expected it to do so.
It seems that a folder gets corrupted but that you can’t remove the auto-update folder until the relevant process is stopped. So, you really want to remove the directory %windir%/SoftwareDistribution but first of all you have to do this at the command prompt (net stop WuAuServ) to stop I guess an auto-update process which uses that folder. Then remove or rename the folder %windir%/SoftwareDistribution before restarting the relevant process (net start WuAuServ). Then DotNet should install.
Finally, restart your computer after installing .NET and before installing FieldWorks or SayMore. It possibly could work without you doing so but I haven’t had much success with that.
A fellow translation consultant met with the new Akurumi Bible translation team last week. After checking some draft of Luke together, they made a video for one of their supporting churches. What they say is true for many communities in Nigeria. Well worth a watch:
From time to time we write music. Or maybe that should be we used to write music before 3 lively girls took over our lives and started providing a different soundtrack. I meant to rework the music pages of our old site, but that never happened, so here we go with an interim page of some pieces. We’ll be glad to take the credit if you love anything there and will of course blame your poor taste if there’s anything you don’t like.
Journalists love writing about themselves and Nigerian journalists are no exception. I came across this gushing report on the Nation’s awesome achievements whilst searching for a turgid (but apparently award-winning) article on threats to Nigerian languages from the dash to English. I’m honestly trying not to be unfair here and to allow for the possibility of Nigerian English grammar and idioms being significantly divergent from British English, but I still would struggle to give this article more than a B–.
Christmas Greetings from Jos! Yesterday we had our office Christmas celebration not just with colleagues but with their families too. Our group has certainly kept growing over the last year. Last year’s party met in our back garden. This time we met in a hall (on the compound we moved to in February) to enjoy scripture, songs, carols, prayer, games and food together. We’ll write more about our office and colleagues in the new year. Apart from celebrating Christmas it’s also the end of semester at the Theological College of Northern Nigeria (TCNN) where David has been teaching in the Bible Translation Dept. Continue reading →