Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Interpretation

We had an interesting Chinese worship this morning. Normally, the sermon by our minister, Ronnie Chang, is translated by Nina to the non-Mandarin speakers, through headsets. But today, the communication devices were not available so we had a dilemma. Ronnie's sermon was longer than normal, about forty-five minutes, so to do a traditional say a line/translate a line interpretation would have made the message ninety minutes. This creates another problem as we eat together right after worship so to delay 3/4 of an hour might have caused food issues. Ronnie came up with a unique solution; six of the Chinese Christians translated for us non-speakers independently, spread out over the Fireplace Room where we gather. Yirong was my personal translator and it all worked out perfectly, just a little louder than normal. I always tell my students being bilingual is a gift. Today illustrated the point.

I wish I could speak Chinese or Vietnamese or Spanish but I can't. I've heard it said that the only way to learn a foreign language is immersion in another country with marriage to a native speaker a plus. On the other hand, people in other countries are attracted to me as they assume, rightly so, that I speak English which is a magic door for education and career advancement in the eyes of many. My birth language might be my best asset in spreading the Gospel, at least in the short term. But when I preach in Vietnam or China, I need help and it comes in the form of brothers and sisters in Christ. Today, Ronnie imparted the Gospel to me but he did it through the words of Yirong. Translation is always a two person skill.

Applicable quote of the day:
"Translation is like a woman. If it is beautiful, it is not faithful. If it is faithful, it is most certainly not beautiful."
Yevgeny Yevtushenko

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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