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Community Participation in Scripture Version Design


An Experiment in Translating Jonah into Sabaot


What strategies can be applied in producing an alternative version of Scripture that is complementary to the existing translation(s) and acceptable to the target audience? This book answers this question by exploring a theoretical strategy for this purpose. On the basis of Christiane Nord’s functionalist theory of translation, the author of this book formulated a Participatory Approach to Bible Translation and experimented with it in translating the book of Jonah into Sabaot, a Kenyan language. This book provides an excellent model for involving communities in the production of Scripture translations.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-60724-408-0
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Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Mar 17,2011
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 248
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-60724-408-0
$178.00

Recent developments in the field of translation studies have shown that no single translation can communicate effectively all the aspects of the source text on which it is based. Unlike the case in the past when alternative versions of the Bible were treated with suspicion, today the Bible is translated in very many ways and for a variety of purposes. It is now acknowledged that a single version of the Bible is not adequate for the many reasons for which a community may need a Bible. Since every version of the Bible has certain functional limitations, it is necessary to produce complementary translations with different communicative functions. Indeed, the need for alternative Bible versions has been widely acknowledged in African contexts, but few studies have been carried out on strategies for designing and producing functional and acceptable translations that are based on biblical source texts. A question that comes to the mind of many translators is: “What strategies can be applied in determining and producing an alternative version of Scripture that is complementary to the existing translation(s) and also acceptable to the target audience?” This book answers this question by exploring a theoretical strategy for this purpose. On the basis of Christiane Nord’s functionalist theory of translation, the author has formulated a Participatory Approach to Bible Translation (PABT) and experimented with it in translating the book of Jonah into Sabaot, a Kenyan language.


Diphus Chosefu Chemorion is a Kenyan born in 1967. He is an ordained minister of the Reformed Church of East Africa. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA Social Work) degree from the University of Nairobi, a Bachelor of Divinity (BD) from St. Paul’s United Theological College, a Master of Theology (MTh.) from Candler School of Theology, Emory University, and a Doctor of Theology (DTh) from Stellenbosch University. He has worked for a long time as Translation Advisor with Bible Translation and Literacy (BTL). Currently he is a lecturer in the Biblical Studies department at St. Paul’s University, Limuru-Kenya.



Cover: Sermon on the Mount, fresco, Cosimo Rosselli, 1481–1482.

Recent developments in the field of translation studies have shown that no single translation can communicate effectively all the aspects of the source text on which it is based. Unlike the case in the past when alternative versions of the Bible were treated with suspicion, today the Bible is translated in very many ways and for a variety of purposes. It is now acknowledged that a single version of the Bible is not adequate for the many reasons for which a community may need a Bible. Since every version of the Bible has certain functional limitations, it is necessary to produce complementary translations with different communicative functions. Indeed, the need for alternative Bible versions has been widely acknowledged in African contexts, but few studies have been carried out on strategies for designing and producing functional and acceptable translations that are based on biblical source texts. A question that comes to the mind of many translators is: “What strategies can be applied in determining and producing an alternative version of Scripture that is complementary to the existing translation(s) and also acceptable to the target audience?” This book answers this question by exploring a theoretical strategy for this purpose. On the basis of Christiane Nord’s functionalist theory of translation, the author has formulated a Participatory Approach to Bible Translation (PABT) and experimented with it in translating the book of Jonah into Sabaot, a Kenyan language.


Diphus Chosefu Chemorion is a Kenyan born in 1967. He is an ordained minister of the Reformed Church of East Africa. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA Social Work) degree from the University of Nairobi, a Bachelor of Divinity (BD) from St. Paul’s United Theological College, a Master of Theology (MTh.) from Candler School of Theology, Emory University, and a Doctor of Theology (DTh) from Stellenbosch University. He has worked for a long time as Translation Advisor with Bible Translation and Literacy (BTL). Currently he is a lecturer in the Biblical Studies department at St. Paul’s University, Limuru-Kenya.



Cover: Sermon on the Mount, fresco, Cosimo Rosselli, 1481–1482.

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Diphus Chemorion

  • Table of Contents (page 5)
  • Preface (page 11)
  • Acknowledgments (page 13)
  • Abbreviations (page 15)
  • Chapter 1: Introduction (page 17)
    • One word, Many Versions (page 17)
    • Structure of the Book (page 18)
    • Explanation of key concepts (page 19)
    • Bible Translation (page 19)
    • Source Text (page 19)
    • Target Text (page 20)
    • Mother Tongue Translation (page 20)
    • Common Language Translation (page 20)
    • Acceptability (page 21)
    • Functionalist Approaches to Translation (page 21)
    • Initiator (page 21)
    • Translation Brief (page 21)
    • Participatory Approach to Bible Translation (page 22)
  • Chapter 2: functionalist Perspectives on Translation (page 23)
    • Introduction to functionalist theories (page 23)
    • Christian Nord's functionalist model of translation (page 25)
    • Nord's Definition of Translation (page 25)
    • Communicative Functions and Types of Translations (page 26)
    • The Intercultural Nature of Translation (page 28)
    • Key Participants in Translation (page 29)
    • Translation Brief (page 32)
    • Nord's Ethical Considerations (page 33)
    • Nord's Technique of Text Analysis (page 34)
    • Steps in the Translation Process (page 35)
    • Conclusion (page 36)
  • Chapter 3: Acceptability In Bible Translation (page 37)
    • Introduction (page 37)
    • Acceptability in Bible Translation (page 37)
    • Early Church controversy over Jonah (page 39)
    • Indicators of acceptability (page 41)
    • considerations for achieving acceptability (page 42)
    • Audience Participation (page 42)
    • Cultural Norms and Existing Conventions (page 44)
    • Language and Literacy Issues (page 45)
    • Conclusion (page 46)
  • Chapter 4: Participatory Approach to Bible Translation (page 49)
    • Introduction (page 49)
    • Bible Translation as Communication (page 50)
    • Bible Translation as Linear Communication (page 50)
    • Bible Translation as Transactional Communication (page 52)
    • Function-oriented Types of Bible Versions (page 53)
    • The neccessity of different versions (page 54)
    • An outline of the Participatory approach (page 55)
    • The Engagement Step (page 55)
    • The Source Text analysis Step (page 57)
    • The Transfer Step (page 58)
    • Conclusion (page 60)
  • Chapter 5: Translation Brief for the New Sabaot Jonah (page 61)
    • Introduction (page 61)
    • The sabaot People (page 61)
    • History of Christianity among the Sabaot (page 62)
    • Bible Translation among the Sabaot (page 63)
    • Characteristics of Christianity among the Sabaot People (page 66)
    • The Sabaot Worldview (page 67)
    • Sabaot Understanding of Space (page 69)
    • The Sabaot Understanding of Causality (page 70)
    • Sabaot Understanding of "Self" and "Other" (page 73)
    • Sabaot Understanding of Time (page 75)
    • Practical Issues Related to the Sabaot Language (page 78)
    • The Sabaot People's Attitude to Sabaot Language (page 78)
    • The orthography of Sabaot language (page 79)
    • Literacy in Sabaot Language (page 80)
    • The Dialect Chosen for Translation (page 81)
    • A Participatory Jonah reading workshop (page 82)
    • Setting of the Jonah Reading Workshop (page 82)
    • Proceedings in the Jonah Reading Workshop (page 82)
    • A Translation brief for new Sabaot Jonah (page 85)
    • The Addressees (page 85)
    • The Skopos of the Translation (page 86)
    • The Medium and Process of the Translation (page 87)
    • Conclusion (page 87)
  • Chapter 6: Exegesis of the Hebrew Text of Johah (page 89)
    • Introduction (page 89)
    • Perspectives on Biblical Exegesis (page 90)
    • The Nature of Biblical Exegesis (page 90)
    • Exegetical Approaches in Biblical Studies (page 93)
    • Exegesis for Bible Translation (page 100)
    • The Perspective of Nord on Source Text Analysis (page 101)
    • A Narrative Approach to the Analysis of Jonah (page 104)
    • Justification for the Use of a Narrative Approach (page 104)
    • Application of a Narrative Approach in Biblical Studies (page 105)
    • Translation-oriented Procedure in Exegesis of Narrative Genre (page 109)
    • Exegesis of the Hebrew text of Jonah (page 112)
    • Preliminary Remarks (page 112)
    • Description of the Source Text (page 112)
    • The Genre of Jonah (page 113)
    • The Narrative Plot Structure of Jonah (page 117)
    • Analysis of Episode 1: Jonah 1:1-16 (page 120)
    • Analysis of Episode II: Jonah 2: 1-11 (page 131)
    • Analysis of Episode III: Jonah 3: 1-10 (page 139)
    • Analysis of Episode IV: Jonah 4: 1-11 (page 144)
    • Analysis of Stylistic Features in Jonah (page 150)
    • Theme Suspension (page 150)
    • Intertextuality (page 151)
    • Lexical Repetition (page 152)
    • Use of Direct Speech (page 153)
    • Irony (page 154)
    • Hyperbolic Expressions (page 154)
    • Analysis of Hey Biblical Terms (page 155)
    • Yahweh (page 155)
    • Elohim (page 157)
    • Zabah (page 158)
    • Qadosh (page 158)
    • Heykal (page 159)
    • Ra-a 144 (page 159)
    • Hesed (page 160)
    • Yeshu-athah (page 160)
    • Sheol (page 160)
    • Analysis of the Unknown Ideas (page 161)
    • Yam-146 (page 161)
    • Dag 146 (page 162)
    • Oniyyah (page 162)
    • Qiqayon (page 163)
    • Goral (page 164)
    • Tsom (page 165)
    • Saqqim (page 166)
    • Analysis of the Theological Intention (page 166)
    • God is Sovereign over All Creation (page 167)
    • God is the Source of Salvation (page 168)
    • The Necessity of Repentance (page 168)
    • The Fullness of God's Love for all people (page 169)
    • Conclusion (page 169)
  • Chapter 7: Translating Johah Into Sabaot (page 173)
    • Introduction (page 173)
    • Translation Principles Applied (page 173)
    • Translation Brief (page 173)
    • Style fo Translation (page 174)
    • Explanation on Versification (page 174)
    • Application of Supplementary Features (page 175)
    • Necessity and Application of a Back-translation (page 175)
    • Translation of Episode I Jonah 1:1-16 (page 176)
    • Introductory Remarks (page 176)
    • Translation and Back-translation of Johah 1:1-2 (page 176)
    • Translation and Back-translation of Johah 1:3 (page 178)
    • Translation and Back-translation of Johah 1:4-5 (page 179)
    • Translation and Back-translation of Johah 1:6 (page 180)
    • Translation and Back-translation of Johah 1:7-8 (page 181)
    • Translation and Back-translation of Johah 1:9-10 (page 182)
    • Translation and Back-translation of Johah 1:11-12 (page 183)
    • Translation and Back-translation of Johah 1:13-15 (page 184)
    • Translation and Back-translation of Johah 1:16 (page 185)
    • Translation of Episode II: Jonah 2:1-11 (page 186)
    • Introduction Remarks (page 186)
    • Translation and Back-translation of Johah 2:1-3a (page 186)
    • Translation and Back-translation of Johah 2:3b and 2:3c (page 188)
    • Translation and Back-translation of Johah 2:4,6,7a,5 (page 189)
    • Translation and Back-translation of Johah 2:8,7b (page 190)
    • Translation and Back-translation of Johah 2:9-10 (page 191)
    • Translation and Back-translation of Johah 2:11 (page 192)
    • Translation of Episode III: Jonah 3:1-10 (page 192)
    • Introductory Remarks (page 192)
    • Translation and Back-translation of Johah 3:1-2 (page 193)
    • Translation and Back-translation of Johah 3:3-4 (page 193)
    • Translation and Back-translation of Johah 3:5-9 (page 194)
    • Translation and Back-translation of Johah 3:10 (page 195)
    • Translation of Episode IV: Jonah 4:1-11 (page 196)
    • Introductory Remarks (page 196)
    • Translation and Back-translation of Johah 4:1-4 (page 196)
    • Translation and Back-translation of Johah 4:5-6 (page 197)
    • Translation and Back-translation of Johah 4:7-9 (page 199)
    • Translation and Back-translation of Johah 4:10-11 (page 199)
    • Differences between the Sabaot Versions of Jonah (page 200)
    • Conclusion (page 203)
  • Chapter 8: Testing For Acceptability (page 205)
    • Introduction (page 205)
    • Criteria for determining translation errors (page 205)
    • The Notion of Translation Errors (page 205)
    • Criteria for Testing the New Sabaot Jonah Translation (page 208)
    • The Criterion of Function (page 208)
    • The Criterion of Culture (page 209)
    • The Criterion of Language (page 210)
    • The Criterion of Manuscript Quality (page 211)
    • Testing the New Sabaot Jonah Translation Draft (page 212)
    • The Expert Evaluation Test (page 212)
    • Community Oral-Aural Test (page 220)
    • Back-translation Test (page 224)
    • Conclusion (page 227)
  • Chapter 9: The New Sabaot Jonah Traslation Text (page 229)
    • Introduction (page 229)
    • The New Sabaot Jonah (NSJ) Translation (page 229)
    • The English Back-translation of New Sabaot Jonah (NSJ) (page 233)
  • Bibliography (page 239)
  • Index (page 247)
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