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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Communicative accuracy

Breakfast is now over. It was special because today is my wife's birthday. So she opened her birthday cards and my present to her at the breakfast table. Then, as another present to her, I prepared supper, beef stew which will cook all day in our crock pot. I must get to my real work as quickly as possible. I'm editing the sound files of our recorded tribaly translation these days. It is tiring, tedious work, but it has to be done so the Cheyenne speakers can hear God's Word. (Most of them will not learn to read their own language, which is difficult to read. They love to hear sound recordings of their language and have said how much they appreciate the good quality recordings of the translated Scripture.)

In my preceding post I referred to a concept of communicative accuracy. This is a critically important aspect of translation accuracy which is often overlooked in discussions about accuracy. The foundation of translation accuracy is, obviously, getting the most accurate possible meaning into the translation. But if the words used to convey that accurate meaning do not communicate it well to those who use the translation, the accuracy does little good. It's analogous to having a breakthrough treatment for some form of cancer, but if the governmental authorities do not approve use of the treatment and it is kept from those who need it, that treatment, no matter how good it is, benefits no one.

Please refer to a previous post, Translation accuracy, for more on this topic.

If you would like to take a short test which checks communicative accuracy, click here.

I have so much more that I want to say on this topic, but my work is calling me. I am averaging editing the sound files of two chapters of the Bible per day, and we have many chapters to go before the end of our fiscal year, so I have to keep plugging away at that work in order to get it done in time. The fiscal year is when our mission grant to pay for the sound recordings runs out.

Please do feel free to comment on this post. Communicative accuracy is something which burns within my soul. I so much want our translations not only to be exegetically accurate, but also worded in such a way that those who use our translations will accurately understand the words. Such communicative accuracy can exist in essentially literal translations, as well as in more idiomatic translations, such as the TEV, CEV, NCV, GW, and NLT. Ultimately, accurate communication of God's words is the purpose of Bible translation, right?

Have a good day!

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