GIAL Electronic Notes Series is an online serial publication of Dallas International University. All articles are in the PDF format.

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According to Beekman and Callow, Bible translation styles range from the overly literal and literal to the idiomatic and unduly free (1974, 19-32). In a very broad way, these various categories help us to better understand the linguistic choices that are available when handling form and meaning in translation, but they don’t really get at the complexities that are involved when a translator must deal with translation principles that often contrast and contradict each other. This paper and presentation will present various aspects of a mediating approach to Bible translation, showing how various translations define a mediating position, and explaining how the natural tension between form and meaning in translation can be used as a strength, rather than as a weakness, in the translation process.

Translating the Bible: The case for a mediating approach is the title of my recent MA thesis, published by Reformed Theological Seminary at Charlotte, North Carolina, July 2016. The paper and presentation at BT2017 will present a synopsis of the ideas found in the thesis, as well as present relevant examples that will be helpful to other translators interested in understanding more about a mediating approach to Bible translation.

Bible translation in my backyard: Translating the Bible with displaced communities
by Sunny Hong, PhD
Dallas International University faculty and SIL International

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“The world is coming to us.” “The mission field is here not only overseas.” “The whole world is connected.” These sentences are repeatedly heard in the 21st century, which reflects new open doors for doing missions. According to the United Nations, in 2005/2006 10.8% of the population in the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries was foreign born. In 2016, the total number of refugees in the world was 17,187,488. These statistics indicate that many languages that need Bible translation are accessible outside of their homeland. Languages which cannot be translated in their homeland due to political and religious difficulties can be translated with displaced communities. This paper describes issues in the Bible translation process with the displaced communities.

John 3, “being born again” in a culture with reincarnation beliefs
by Carol V. McKinney, PhD
Dallas International University faculty and SIL International

Key words: reincarnation, Bajju, Christianity, born again, Sub-Saharan Africa, resurrection, African traditional religion

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This paper examines John 3 in the context where people believe in physical reincarnation. Specifically, it reports on the Bajju reincarnation beliefs in Nigeria, West Africa. Their beliefs are not based on merit, as in Hinduism and Buddhism, but rather on whether or not an individual has fulfilled his or her roles and functions in life. If so, traditionally that individual was believed to go to the underground world. If not, that individual was physically reincarnated. To examine the extent Bajju Christians continue to believe in reincarnation, we administered an interview schedule twice, twenty-five years apart, in which we have documented that physical reincarnation beliefs continue to be held by Bajju Christians. The ambiguity of the meaning of being born again in John 3 needs careful teaching in a culture with physical reincarnation beliefs.

Arts Development for Scripture Engagement
by Michelle Petersen
SIL International

Key words: Language Development; Arts Development; Scripture Engagement; Status Development; Corpus Development; Acquisition Development; Luther; Reformation

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Because languages and arts are means of communication, principles from the field of language development that communities apply to strengthen language vitality also strengthen the vitality of local artistic genres. Arts development expands a community’s existing uses of orality and arts to new topics and functions to better meet community goals together. Status development activities increase the number of domains of use and the level of respect given local artistic genres. Corpus development activities describe genre forms and create new works in them. Acquisition development activities add to the number of people who perform or experience new works, and increase people’s interest in them. When communities work together to meet their Kingdom goals, arts development activities add to the number of people who encounter God’s word in life-transforming ways.

The visual storyteller: Using oral translation and digital media to engage local communities with Scripture
by Kris Toler
Dallas International University student and SIL International

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Bible translation workers face a major challenge in finding ways to engage preliterate communities with Scripture. Traditional translation methods take a long time and depend on literacy to function. Studies have shown that 80% of the world’s population are oral learners. This paper shows how local communities can engage with the Scripture by creating animated videos of Bible stories using free software and public domain resources. I will discuss the methods used to create these animated videos as well as the benefits and challenges of using digital media in remote communities.

We are using oral translation of Bible stories to engage in the work of Scripture translation with the Central Pame of Mexico. This allows the community to gain access to the Biblical stories sooner than if they waited for a traditional written translation. The addition of digital media engages both adults and children with the stories in a way that print media and oral stories alone cannot. This method not only creates engagement and linguistic pride, but it has created a desire to see a written translation of the Scripture in the local community.