Print

Print


Chris Bates <chris.maths_student@N...> wrote:

>I think religeous texts are almost always amongst the most difficult
>things to translate. I remember hearing once about a missionary who
>wanted to translate the bible into the local language, but this was
>somewhere where they didn't have donkeys, horses or anything similar.
>How do you translate the story of the birth of Jesus without
>mentioning a donkey!?! You could translate it as "big four legged
>beast that carries things" I suppose, but if you don't mention that
>these were common place then readers not familiar with donkeys or
>horses etc might assume that this beast is a miracle rather than
>something you see every day. So you have to include way more than
>just one word just to get across the basic idea of Mary riding on a
>donkey.

I agree with you in principle.  Missionaries do have problems in
translating terms that are culturally bound.  Just a reminder,
though, that the donkey is not mentioned in the Christmas stories of
Matthew and Luke.  Neither are camels or oxen.  It would be very easy
to translate the Christmas stories without mentioning donkeys.  I
would be more worried about the espousal custom in Matthew or the
census in Luke.  Or the manger.

Charlie