new book about Bible translation issues

Dr. Steve Fortosis has written a book in tribute to all Bible translators. Maybe some of you were quizzed by him as he wrote the book. Paul Vollrath of SIL has said: “There has not been a book for the general Christian public for 30 years or more describing the aspects of the Bible translation task, the fun bits
about language, and the snags in translating God’s Word into totally unrelated languages. This book hopes to fill that niche and also be of help to translators today in sharing the story of their work with supporters.”

Below is a book summary and the Table of Contents. Steve must raise $1200 in pre-orders so he can afford to publish the volume (through William Carey Library). Copies are $10 each. Please contact him at if you are interested, phone him at 941 416-1678, or write to him at: 2312 Sagebloom Terrace, North Port, FL, 34286.

How does one communicate Christ’s designation of Herod as a fox in a culture in which a “fox” is a homosexual? How does one translate: “Behold I stand at the door and knock…” in a culture that has no doors? How does one explain the Jewish assumption that women with covered faces are prostitutes, when, for some peoples, it is a sign of deepest respect and modesty? And how does one explain a crucified Savior in a group where male weakness is only looked upon with scorn?

This book illustrates how incredibly difficult, time-consuming, mind-gripping and even amusing the translation process can be. The author believes that when you finish reading it, you will have an added respect for translators and a mounting admiration for a God who has given us a holy volume that can speak clearly and powerfully to each people group in its own language across the centuries.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Great Cost; Greater Reward
Chap. 2 Tones, Clicks, and Fricatives
Chap. 3 Matching Scripture with People Groups
Chap. 4 The Search for God in Every Place
Chap. 5 God: Picketing Peg for the Soul
Chap. 6 Family Affairs
Chap. 7 And the Father Said Supo
Chap. 8 The Road of the Quiet Heart
Chap. 9 Kingdom Talk
Chap. 10 Heart, Liver, and Intestines?
Chap. 11 Being Strong on God
Chap. 12 Hold the Ear and Give a Good Stomach
Chap. 13 Satan, Evil Spirits, and Headless Turkeys
Chap. 14 For Clarity’s Sake
Chap. 15 Hard Sayings
Chap. 16 Translators Laugh (at themselves)
Epilogue The Nuts and the Bolts

15 thoughts on “new book about Bible translation issues

  1. Donna says:

    Sounds great! Will it be available on Kindle? I’d really appreciate that, and I know of at least 5 other translators who read most of their books in e-format also.

  2. Refe Tuma says:

    It’s easy to think of these issues as being specific to translating scriptures on the mission field, but even in America where English versions about we still struggle to capture the meaning of passages that talk about the Kingdom of God, ancient culture or long expired metaphors. Looking forward to the book!

  3. Wayne Leman says:

    Donna, I asked the author and he doesn’t think his publisher would be interested in putting the book on Kindle. However, he might be willing to convert it to a PDF format himself so translators could read it that way. There might even be a way for Kindle to accept PDF books for viewing.

  4. Donna says:

    Yes, pdf would be great! Please let me know. Kindles can load pdf directly (just make sure the font is very large because it shows one page to quite a small screen).

  5. Wayne Leman says:

    Donna, the author says he is sorry but he is limited by his agreement with his publisher not to release the book in other formats. Hopefully, he will pursue this with them since e-books are so convenient now. And they weigh so little when I take them on trips with me!

  6. Dannii says:

    Gah. Publishers suck. Any publisher who won’t even risk 120 copies is not worth an exclusive contract! In these days of print on demand, who needs them?! Especially if they’re not even marketing it for you!

    My advice to would be authors: put your books under a CC-BY-NC-ND licence and then use lulu/whatever. Any publisher who likes what they see can always contact you for a private arrangement!

  7. Dan Arnold says:

    Riddle me this, Batman:

    If the publisher won’t publish the book unless he can guarantee 120 copies of the book, why can’t he abandon the risk-adverse publisher and self publish on Kindle?

  8. Michael says:

    Hi, I now read (more or less exclusively) e-books only (pdf is great on my net book or smartphone). I am happy to pay for the book but has it delivered electronically. I live in the UK and the cost of shipping the physical book to me will be more than the cost of the book itself!

  9. sgftosis says:

    Hi, I’m the author of the book described and discussed above. It is now available through William Carey I’ve gotten some really nice reviews from readers, and the book is already selling very briskly and my copies are almost flying out the window. Thankfully, William Carey also states that within several months, the book should be available on Kindle as an ebook. You can email if you have any questions. You can purchase copies while I still have some or you can buy directly through

  10. dkmt says:

    Dr Fortosis,

    That’s great news that it will be on Kindle too! Thanks for the information, and thanks for your work in bringing the translation task to life for non-translators.


  11. sgftosis says:

    Seriously, it was a pleasure to honor a group of servants that have been more or less ignored for too long. They have made the Bible available to thousands of people groups who would never have heard. I hope lots of lay Christians will enjoy the book, as you mentioned.
    If you want to order hard-copy books directly from me, my email address is

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