Christmas in March? (The Prices Write, April 2019, part 2)

Recently we have been translating Luke chapters 1-2 in four Roma dialects, which tell about the birth of John the Baptist and of Jesus. These are very difficult chapters to translate because of the extensive use of poetry.

We had waited until the translators had some experience under their belts translating Luke 4-10 which is easier since it is mostly narrative and stories. But they have done a good job tackling Luke 1-2 (we will get to chapter 3 soon) and our goal is that by December we will have the translation of those chapters edited and tested so that they are ready to be published in time for Christmas outreach.

Often in my updates, I mention concepts or cultural practices from the Bible that are foreign to Roma which we have to be careful to explain with an expanded translation or footnotes. But interestingly, there are a couple things in the Christmas story they did not want footnotes for, because the concepts are so well known in the Roma culture: swaddling clothes and the manger.

For years Roma mothers have had the practice of swaddling their newborns, wrapping them up in cloths so, as Biljana said, they look like little croissants! Mangers are also no problem for them to understand since many Roma keep animals in their yards so having a feeding trough near the house is no big deal. In fact, some Roma even used to make wood boxes, like mangers, for their babies to sleep in.

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