Complex task, rich rewards


POSTED ON 2013-05-03
  by Cathy Drobnick





Albert and Lynne Castelijn share some of the joys and challenges of Bible translation.

The Banwaon translation check of the book of Romans is complete.

And Albert and Lynne Castelijn count it an “enormous privilege and enormous joy” to work on this Bible translation.

They are particularly delighted to think of the Banwaon people reading promises like these in their own heart language: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, not things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

This translation check is tough going. In order to faithfully convey truth, the process must be much more than simply a matter of switching words from English to Banwaon.

Albert spends very long days reading a passage to two tribal co-workers, who think the passage through and speak back to him what they understand it to mean. Then, in English, Albert tells the translation consultant what they have said. He carefully scrutinizes the passage to determine whether they have understood it entirely.

Then there is re-reading and more discussion, Lynne writes. “Did they get this point?” “Maybe this word needs to be clearer—or changed.” And finally, “That’s great—they got it exactly!”

The translation group sits long hours in heat and humidity, focusing intently. The tribal co-workers are not accustomed to this. Their days are usually full of farm work. Sitting on a chair for such long hours in deep concentration is very hard work for them.

The book of Romans, so beautiful and full of rich truth, is also very complex. Translating it was not a simple task.

But God, in answer to many prayers, graciously gave endurance, clarity of thought and insight that only He could provide.

Albert and Lynne’s heart desire in translation work continues to be “an excellent translation that glorifies God.”

Except for a few last-minute tweakings, the Romans translation project is done. Soon the Banwaon people will read these 16 chapters of God’s revealed truth for themselves.

Lynne writes, “Pray that they will be blessed as the rich truths of Romans strike deep within their spiritual consciousness and understanding.”


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