How Not to Do Bible Translation

I’m an Alaskan. I have a special interest in Bible translation of Alaska Native languages. I just discovered a blog post titled “How Not to Do Bible Translation.” The post begins:

An Alaskan radio station is reporting on the dire reception of a new Tlingit (an indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast of America) encyclopedia.  “The problem is: The language in the book is not recognizable by contemporary scholars, or Native Tlingit speakers.” All in all, the story is absolutely baffling and provides a very clear negative example for Bible translators.

Drew, the blog author, continues with his conclusions on what the translator did wrong. It’s worth your read and worth comments, if you with to make them.

Background on this translation project is given on the website of the above-mentioned Alaskan radio station which reports on matters concerning the languages and cultures in Southeastern Alaska where Tlingit is spoken.

One thought on “How Not to Do Bible Translation

  1. Dru Brooke-Taylor says:

    That’s a really weird story.

    Many years ago I encountered an Italian who had tried to teach himself English by reading Shakespeare. He might have been able to understand it, but there was no way of knowing without being able to speak to him in Italian. As far as I could tell, he had tried to learn English pronunciation entirely from the sort of summary that comes on the first two or three pages of a teach yourself book, with no exposure to the sound of anyone who knew what any form of spoken English was supposed to sound like.

    As a method of learning a language it failed completely at the most basic level. He thought he was speaking English – English of the highest quality. He was, though, incomprehensible.

    Sadly, it looks as though Ms Lambert’s effort has been likewise wasted.

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