Translating the colors of the Bible

In preparation for the reviewer’s workshop this week, the members of the advisory committee for the Shekgalagari project met today. We’ll be reviewing Revelation this week, so there will be lots to discuss; it’s a tricky book! One unexpected thing that came up in our discussions today came from Revelation 6, where the 4 horses…

Power dynamics in language

While we were checking the book of Colossians, the translators and I were working on a passage in chapter 3: “…you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or…

One year in Botswana!

We put together a little video to celebrate our one year anniversary here in Botswana! What a year it has been! We continue to work toward publishing the New Testament in Shekgalagari and Shiyeyi, two of the many languages spoken here in Botswana. Thank you to everyone for your prayers and support over the last…

Echoes of faith

When we do community checking in the villages, one of the translators will read a passage aloud so that everyone can hear it, even if they cannot read or see a copy of the printed text. This makes it possible for everyone to participate in the checking. It is such a cool thing to hear…

John 1 and noun classes

John 1 gives us a great picture of the relationship between the Word (Jesus) and God, two members of the Trinity. But it can be hard to track who exactly the verses are talking about when describing who is doing what in the passage, especially when John is added as another character in verse 6….

Gender distinctions and translation

Shekgalagari (and Setswana) don’t have gender distinction in the third person. You can refer to a sibling of the opposite sex, but that depends on the gender of the speaker to be clear. This feature of the language makes calling Jesus the “Son of God” impossible in Shekgalagari. Instead, we use Ngwana wa Morimo “Child…

Checking in Xhauga

Today we were in Xhauga, another village in the northwest region of Botswana. When we first arrived there, only 4 people had gathered for the community checking. After yesterday’s 25 people, I will admit to being a bit disappointed. The kgosi (chief) had only managed to start reminding people of the meeting yesterday, so I…

Checking in Samochima

Today I am in Nxamacere doing community checking with the Bakgalagari here. We are going through the Gospel of Mark and it is fascinating to hear the discussion going on among the people. We took 15 minutes to talk about how to translate “convulsing” when used in relation to demonic possession, complete with several people…