Interpreters and Translators


Understanding.  The mission in the field of interpreting sounded a lot like priesthood, translating a clarity of the language.   Finding the truth was not so easy even when it all seemed to be spelled out.  The worry concerning a clarity of the language is reduced as “we” — fill in the denomination – “utilize the most qualified interpreter.  We understand that accuracy means everything and must never be compromised.”  Or so says the literature of one service offered for interpreting and translating to court services and lawyers.

Understanding.  So what happens when men do not listen?  To women?  To God?  Was it in the volume?  Was it in a readiness to hear?  Was it in the pronounciation of the speaker?  Was it about a tiredness in the listener?  And how much repetition was required to get it all right?    


Understanding. My lawyer offered some advice to my dentist on the eve of his wedding.  He told him that he would never make another decision about his domestic kingdom ever again, IF he was smart.  His advice was just to go along with his wife’s tastes.  My dentist told him to keep flossing.  My lawyer also has offered advice over the years on issues of understanding.  He told us, as someone married longer than either of us, that he understood his wife only about 35% of the time.  And because he tried to understand her, it was not an issue of effort.  Over the years, his kids helped serve as interpeters.  After all, together he and his wife had taught them to talk.  I have not asked lately how it all was going.      


Understanding. Understanding.  It ain’t easy.  It was not easy to try to see the most tender side of someone, even when it was not an issue of effort.  Love was about weakness and strength.  And there was a spiritual dimension.  It was not always easy to try to see the tenderness of God, in his weakness and strength.  God in human form, in you and in me.  In His son.  His strength was in His weakness.  In the poor around us.  In the world that needed attention.  


Understanding. A church’s true mission has been in the field of interpreting and translating, to promote quality services of its people.  And the members of a church play a critical role, with services carried out by the seasoned and professionally trained, just like in those services offered for interpreting and translating to lawyers and court services.

The process. For the observant, the interpretation process is ongoing every day.  Interpreters did more than just translate, when communication involved more than just sounds.  Deepening one’s knowledge of the language spoken, interpreters looked for meaning in words which worked together, in verbs that gave nouns action. 


Understanding. The Good Book was now interpreted into English from Aramaic, from Hebrew, the original text.  But we still needed to know how to read correctly, to ask a lot of questions, to discover the original text.  I tried to see the character of God unfolding each day.  And like I was taught to consider, what was the message?  What was His intent?  How did He affect me?  Did He frighten me today?  Did I love Him?  What exactly was He after?   Had He changed much during the time that I knew Him?  What most impressed me about Him?   



In the end, the questions were not much different than those asked by a lover.  If you were trying to love that lover?  Either in reading the Good Book or living in the real world.  In the end, it was all about the change in the process.  The effect in me.  On me.  And interpreting and translating were not quite the same function.  



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