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Bible Translation

Corpses or Dead People

The Gworog Bible translation team have been doing some community testing on Luke 22-24. It seemed to be a fruitful exercise though not always making things easier. In particular there’s a tricky issue about corpses and dead people.

What’s the difference between the two? Luke 24 has two ‘men’ asking the women why they are looking for the living [person] among the dead [people]. With one way of translating that into Gworog, people are somewhat puzzled because it sounds like they are rifling through a pile of corpses (but there was only Jesus’ body there). However, the other option sounds like the women are surrounded by ghosts or in a place inhabited by the ‘living dead’ or the ancestors, in traditional religion. Using the words for ‘people’ and ‘dead’ together normally means ghost/ancestor, and at least traditionally evokes all sorts of issues which are a big distraction from what Luke 24 is saying.

I have a feeling there will be a way we can resolve this, but it’s not immediately obvious to me at the moment. I’m glad though that the team had the opportunity to see the value of testing in letting issues and misunderstandings arise and be addressed before the text is issued for wider use.

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(Gratuitous picture of passing Fulani migration on the way to Gworog land.)

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