“Up to the elbows…” (Lost [and found] in translation, #12); March birthdays; visits with moms

Thank you all for your faithful prayers for us! March is birthday month for us. Elizabeth turned 28 on the 1st and Pamala’s birthday was on the 2nd (see pictures below). Jonathan turns 31 on the 19th and Daniel turns 15 on the 20th. I guess we should just leave the streamers up all month!

We’ve also enjoyed visits with our moms, Barbie Hughes who lives nearby in Belton, MO, and Geri Price, at her nursing home in Oklahoma City, OK. And Ariela (11) had a wonderful time attending the Super Start conference in Tulsa, OK (all pictured below).

Bible translation is going very well. We are up to chapter 14 in the Gospel of Mark, and have been meeting our quota of 187 verses per week combined in the three Roma languages, Arli, Gurbet and Chergash. Pictured below are some of the translators at a recent training event where they took two classes, “Mission and Bible Translation and the History of Bible Translation” and “Approaches to Bible Translation”. They do their assignments in Serbian and I will be grading those assignments for one of the classes.

When consulting on the Arli translation of Mark recently, we decided to make a couple of changes to 7:4. Their draft said “For, the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat bread unless they thoroughly wash their hands.” There were two problems in this translation. First, when it says “Pharisees and all the Jews”, it sounds like the Pharisees are not Jews, so we adjusted it to say “For, the Jews and especially the Pharisees”. Secondly, “thoroughly wash their hands” is not accurate. This is a hard phrase to understand, but more than likely means “wash their arms up to the elbow”, so we made that change in the new version.

In Mark 8:38 it says literally “Whoever will be ashamed of me in front of this adulterous and sinful generation…” Most Roma who are not familiar with the Bible would probably take “adulterous” literally here. However, it is not likely that Jesus is only rebuking literal adulterers. In the Old Testament especially, the Lord often spoke of idolatry as spiritual adultery and compared disobedient and unbelieving Israel to adulterers. Jesus is probably echoing this Old Testament usage, so to make that clear we adjusted the draft translation to “Whoever will be ashamed of me in front of this unbelieving and sinful generation.”

And here’s one more example that shows the importance of something as small as a preposition. They had translated Mark 11:1 as “they arrived at the villages of Bethpage and Bethany”, but it is not possible for someone to arrive at two villages at the same time (they are a mile or so apart). So we looked at the Greek more closely and concluded that it is more accurate to say “they arrived near the villages of Bethpage and Bethany.” In other words, they were on the Mount of Olives, somewhere around Bethpage and Bethany. The rest of the story tells how Jesus sent disciples into one of the villages to get the donkey’s foal he would ride up to Jerusalem.

Please pray for wisdom and the Lord’s guidance as we work to finish translating the Gospel of Mark (chapters 14-16) in the coming days.

Thank you for your prayers and faithful financial support!

Todd & Pamala

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