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24 November 2007

Rost In Transration

If you visit the following link, click "Cancel" on the option to install a new language pack (unless you want even more bloat -- albeit harmless -- on your computer that you'll never use):

http://www.dynetel.com/english/company/company_01.html

From the president: "Even if we have good name in this field now, I do believe it will be continue without Self-trying and your patronage." Uh... right. Got it!

All of the material from the post today comes from alert reader Tony M, including this classic photo he took while in Japan. Tony noted that the humorous translation issues we see (most often with Asian languages) are wonderful parallels to the "Church Speak" issue I frequently harp on (or "upon which I frequently harp").

One statement he made to me that I'm still digesting and wondering how (or if) it applies to the Church's interaction with non-churched people is, "I've come to the conclusion that, while it's helpful to know the language from whence you're translating, it's more important to be fluent in the language into which you're translating." (Emphasis his.) Very profound, and quite obviously very accurate when we see these gross examples of poor translation.

In the area of personal conviction, I've been asking myself lately, "That's fine and all -- your posts about "Church Speak" -- but what difference does it make if you (Dean Lusk) are not actively telling people outside the Church about Christ?" I believe that if we're content to stay in our church and religious circles of friends, it's perfectly fine to keep thinking and speaking that way. However, if we're really intent on taking the message of Jesus Christ to those around us, it is prudent to think in current cultural terms -- to try to "hear" how our words (and actions!) are translated by those around us.

I'm debating with myself about jumping into the issue of whether or not a typical church service should be "evangelistic" in nature...

3 comments:

christy said...

Again I find myself wondering if my reply is really what the subject is about. But here goes: translating the "church language", hmmm. The gospel is pretty much THE GOSPEL IN ANY LANGUAGE. Jesus came to earth as a baby born of a virgin. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Jesus rose from the dead on the third day and is now sitting at the right hand of the Father. Jesus loves you and wants you to ask him to be your Lord and Master. I don't think I would call that "church talk". The church talk comes in when you walk into the church building. I personally believe that the church is to disciple believers, and if lost people come and are convicted by the Holy Spirit to be saved - that's AWESOME! But we the church body (Dean you know which part you are - ha!) are to go out to spread the gospel. I don't think there is much "translation" needed when it comes to the Gospel. Now, let me get up on another stool to express another passion of mine - sign language. Not just American Sign Language, but pretty much any sign language speaks to everybody. So, if you are trying to share the Gospel with someone of another language, use hand motions (sign language), facial expressions, body language. God is God and He can break any language barrier just like He created the language barrier at the tower of Babel.

I think I'm through.

Preston N said...

Recently during a trip to China I was stopping over in Tokyo and wanted to buy some gum. I went to a little gift shop in the airport there and picked up a pack of gum. On the packet was the following description: "High Technology Taste"? Huh...?? This type of "speak" is very typical of the Asians. I just thought to my self - just what exactly is this gum company trying to say to its target audience?? I was clearly confused as to the message they were trying to send, as the gum tasted like spearmint and was not at all metallic tasting. :)

This does dove tail however in how the church speaks. We do have a language of our own. How many of us could walk up to a friend or family member who are unchurch and not saved and ask them to define the following words for us:

Atonement
Dispensation
Premillennialism
Postmillennialism
Eschatology
Sanctification
Hermeneutics
Rapture
Preterism
Grace
Justification

I know some who are Christians that they alone have a hard time understanding these terms, so what makes us think an nonbeliever would have any easier of time understanding these terms. An interesting note here is look at how Jesus taught sinners. He didn't go around like the Pharisees or Scribes spouting off religious terminology in public. Instead he used parables by which to reach the hearts of people. This drove the Pharisees insane as Jesus had taken that which was exclusive to the Pharisees and had turned into a format the public could easily understand. For me this has what we have lost the ability to do in our public lives as Christians.

Dean Lusk said...

Sweet! That means "cool" when the kids these days say it. :)

Good comments! I think this is the direction I'll keep running on Monday...

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