This video gives an insight in Bible translation and the challenges the translators are facing in their efforts to accurately translate the Word of God. A tool to help the translators are the UBS Biblical Handbooks.
Primarily the Handbooks are for translators. But they are also useful for anyone who studies the Word of God, such as pastors and seminary students. These Handbooks deal with textual, exegetical, and translation problems. One example of a translation problem is how to translate “snow” in a culture where snow does not exist. Here’s an example:
2 Kings 5:27 And now Naaman’s disease will come upon you, and you and your descendants will have it forever!” When Gehazi left, he had the disease—his skin was as white as snow. (GNT)
The Handbook on 2 Kings 5.27 says the following: As white as snow is literally “as snow,” but whiteness is clearly understood. The disease referred to as “leprosy” is often described as causing the skin to turn white. In languages where snow is unknown, this figure may be dropped and translators may say “very, very white”. Or possibly a different figure may be used if it has the same meaning as the biblical one. Parole de Vie (a French translation) says “as white as milk.” Other languages speak of whiteness in terms of “egret’s feathers.”
The English Handbook series attempts to use language that can be understood easily by those who use English as a second language. Writing the Handbooks requires skills in both the Bible and cultures. Usually there are two authors for each Handbook, one as a Biblical scholar, and the other as a scholar in anthropology/culture.
Apart from English there are Handbooks done for French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Indonesian. The English handbook series will be completed by the end of next year.
The video in this post is used with the kind permission of Pioneer Bible Translators.