Posted in Bible Translation FAQ

FAQ: How do you translate unknown concepts?

People ask us all the time how we translate a word/idea in the Bible that is not present in the Kwakum language. For example, the word “grace” is an enormous key biblical idea yet we do not have a word for “grace” (or even “gift”) in Kwakum. What then do we do? Before answering that question, there are a few underlying translation principles that you need to understand: You cannot translate what you do not understand. It is very tempting for our Kwakum translators to hear a word in Scripture (like cistern) and rush to provide a Kwakum equivalent. However…

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Posted in Bible Translation Christian Missions FAQ

Why Are We Staying?

I have seen an increase in missionaries coming to the field for a fixed term. That is to say, they come to the field with a particular term length in mind. Some will come for two, four, five, or ten years. Then, they return to their home country. From my experience, this seems to be the norm now. And when we talk to Americans, they usually ask us how long we are planning on staying. I will respond with, “our plan is to die in Cameroon (hopefully later rather than sooner).” Since this is a less common reply, I thought…

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Posted in Africa Christian Missions Common Objections FAQ

FAQ: Aren’t Missionaries Really Just Colonists?

Someone recently asked us to address this accusation: “By developing an alphabet and insisting these indigenous peoples of color learn a written language, you are acting as oppressive Western colonists.” While it is true that there are some similarities between missionaries and colonists (i.e. both left their home cultures and both come to bring about change) there are enormous differences. Here are a few: We come to give. Have you ever heard of King Leopold II of Belgium? If not, check out Dave’s blog HERE. King Leopold boldly came into Africa (specifically the region of the Congo) and claimed it…

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Posted in Bible Translation Encouragements and Exhortations FAQ God’s Work in Cameroon

Why Not Just Teach Them French? Revisited

We have now been back in the US for over 10 months. Traveling around, talking about Bible translation, we occasionally get asked the question, “Why not just teach the people French?” I have asked this question myself. If the people could read French well, it would open them up to a wealth of resources: multiple translations, commentaries, sermons, and pastoral training materials. And Stacey has a great article examining some reasons HERE. But along that line, I was recommended a book called The Finish Line, by Bob Creson, the current President of Wycliffe Bible Translators. Before arriving in this current position, he…

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