More than 160 years ago the Bible was first translated into Official Malagasy. Back then, the English missionaries and the Malagasy people who worked with them, would have thought long and hard as they searched for Malagasy terms to represent the biblical concepts, and wrestled with the language to make sure the translation clearly communicated the message of the Bible. Since then there have been a number of revisions and new translations; the latest revision of the Official Malagasy Bible being completed in 2012.
Now in the 21st century, translation teams are going through a similar process into their own varieties of Malagasy spoken around the island. As local translators are being trained and are translating the Bible into their own languages, they, too, have to search for the appropriate terms to represent the biblical concepts they are translating. It can be slow and painstaking work-drafting, checking, discussing, testing, more checking-before a gospel is completed and ready for a trial publication. And then there will always be corrections and revisions to be made, just as there were with the Official Malagasy Bible. (Of course, there is no such thing as a perfect translation – Bible translation is always a work in progress.) Yet these Malagasy translators are breaking new ground as they produce the very first translations of God’s word into their own heart language.
Please thank God for the translations of Luke’s gospel which are finished (8) and pray for perseverence for those nearing completion (2), as well as those teams which have moved on to other gospels or Acts.
Pray too, for Sue’s involvement as consultant to one of the teams in the south, continuing to work on Mark. It’s not yet clear when she will make her next trip to Madagascar to work with the team face to face.
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