Cultural relevance

I’m wondering about blindspots when it comes to “seeing” our own culture.

First, I wonder about how much Western/Anglo culture affects international translation efforts when the tools for translation are in English and generated (for the most part) by the Western Church. Is a layer of interpretation inserted between the Ancient Hebrew text and the target/receptor language and text? I think that sometimes (not always) we tend to miss just how “foreign” our own English translations are from the original text. I think most people would agree that the best situation is generating a translation from the Hebrew directly into the target language, but this is rarely the case (for lots of different reasons). What best practices will help to appropriately use the current tools, and what is the way forward?

Second, I am surprised by the ability (of some) to accept the need for accommodation to communicate the ancient text (i.e. the Hebrew Bible) into a tribal or remote language so that it is contextually appropriate and understandable, and yet have resistance to allowing modern English translations to likewise reflect their current culture in a meaningful way. Is there a blindspot to our own situated-ness?

2 thoughts on “Cultural relevance

  1. Jamie MacDonald

    Read an earlier post, a letter from someone in Zimbabwe… what is happening there and have you found a way to assist or is the political situation getting worse and halting aid?

    Tried to reach you through “contact” page but verification was not working


  2. Karyn Post author

    Hi Jamie,

    I have a former student who just returned from visiting Zimbabwe and doing some work there. Our friend, who is a local pastor in Zimbabwe (the one who wrote the letter) continues to do what he can for his congregation and the people in his town. Different individuals and groups work to support the church’s efforts, but so much still remains to be done.

    Thank you for letting me know your difficulty with the contact page, I’ll look at that.


Comments are closed.