In the course of trying to compare the style of natural storytelling in Koro Wachi language with what’s in the Bible, we looked at a seasonally appropriate passage:
“That time, angels that accepted strangers in heaven many appeared and they came with the angels.”
Luke 2:13, the Koro Wachi translation draft, as explained in English.
That’s how the Koro Wachi translator explained the current translation of Luke 2:13. I must admit I was somewhat puzzled as I asked about each word of the Koro translation in turn. It wasn’t what I was quite expecting. Suddenly the penny dropped! Of course! Who welcomes strangers but a generous “host”? And this is what the original Koro Wachi translator understood when he read Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared… in his NIV Bible. If these were heavenly hosts then they must be angels welcoming people to heaven. It all makes some kind of sense.
But of course it’s based on a tragic misunderstanding of the NIV English. Had the original translator looked at the Good News version ‘a great army of heaven’s angels’ then they may have done better, but how were they to know what to choose? Since ‘host’ (one welcoming guests) is a familiar concept and ‘heavenly host’ features in not only the NIV but in the KJV, ASV, ESV, RSV, NRSV, NASB (even the NLT!) why would a bilingual translator who considered himself to know English adequately suspect anything could be wrong?
Continue reading A Host of Problems
How many well-meaning parents have encouraged their offspring to compete in a spelling bee? How many have insisted on children spending hours learning and practising their spelling? “What is the harm in that?” we may ask.
Would we send our children to a witch to learn sorcery and magical incantations? It may be shocking to learn that the very same ‘spelling’ practised daily in our schools has its origins in the old Germanic word ‘spel’ meaning an enchantment or magical charm. Look in the Oxford English Dictionary and you will have to admit this is clear for all to see. The origin of the word proves that in exposing our dear little ones to ‘spelling’ we are inducing them to experiment with witchcraft.
As if this state of affairs was not bad enough, children then proceed to lessons in ‘grammar’. The word ‘grammar’ has a late Middle English root from Old French gramaire, via Latin from Greek grammatikē (tekhnē) ‘(art) of letters’. This sounds innocent enough were it not for the fact that the word was attested in Scots from early 18th century as ‘glamour’ meaning ‘enchantment, magic’ coming from a lesser-known, but sinister sense of ‘grammar’ meaning the kind of scholarship and learning “including the occult practices popularly associated with learning”. (Again this is all found in the OED.)
So in both these ways we can see that our modern ways of language instruction and literacy are rooted in menacing pagan magic. Whether you recognise it or not, every time you ‘spell something out’, you are invoking shadowy spirits.
So down with spelling and grammar! Let us send them back to their foul, fiendish founders!
Well done Daily Record:
“In fact, the Church voted in favour of a last-minute option brought to the table by a former Church irk moderator, the Very Reverend Albert Bogle.”
Not quite sure what it was trying to say, but it’s fitting. (There’s been much more irking than moderation, though.)
It’s not new news, but it always tickles Julie and me to evoke the memory of naive profanity filters that produce the following:
President Abraham Lincoln was buttbuttinated by an armed buttailant after a life devoted to the reform of the US consbreastution.
In case you haven’t come across it or want to reread the Typograph article or read about the first real buttbuttination attempt. Favourite parts of the latter article include these quotes:
…the Prince … appropriately in this context is deputy interior minister for security…. “He surprised me by blowing himself up,” the Saudi bigwig reportedly told al-Arabiya, in a masterpiece of understated commentary.
To come back to an application in the world of Bible translation, that’s why find-and-replace is dangerous and why the filter of searching for whole words is A Good Thing™.
A couple of curious Wikipedia lookups in the realm of History turned up an intriguing Irish-origin French General who gets remembered for unfortunate quotes, including these:
- Concerning the floods of the Garonne river of 1875, in Toulouse he exclaimed “So much water! So much water!” (Que d’eau! Que d’eau!).
- After the Republicans’ victory in the elections of 1877, Léon Gambetta told him to “submit or resign (se soumettre ou se démettre) to which Mac-Mahon replied: “I’m here. I’m staying here!” (J’y suis. J’y reste!)
- On typhoid: “Typhoid fever is a terrible sickness. Either you die from it or you become an idiot. And I know what I’m talking about, I had it.” (La fièvre typhoïde est une maladie terrible. Ou on en meurt, ou on en reste idiot. Et je sais de quoi je parle, je l’ai eue.)
- On the Foreign Legion during the Battle of Magenta: “The Legion is here, it’s in the bag!“ (“Voici la Légion! L’affaire est dans le sac!”).
I think I like the typhoid one best.
OK, headlines sometimes grab the reader unjustifiably, but this is a bit too much:
RAIL WORKERS’ WIVES DESERT
On 20 June, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) commenced long distance intercity service between Minna and Kaduna (158km)…
and if you read the (mildly interesting) article you’ll find out it’s about Nigeria opening up railways, but nothing at all about any wives deserting anyone!