Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Discussion: What is the value of the written word?

What is the value of written word?

The written word has such an impact on my life. To me, the most important written word is The Bible. I believe that it is the infallible word of God. Recently, my church had visitors who are Crimean missionaries who work to translate the Bible and introduce the Christian God to Islamic communities. The most memorable part of their visit to our church was their discussions of the troubles of translating the Bible into something that the inhabitants of that area would understand. What word would they use for God? The only words that meant "God" in their language was used for either polytheistic gods or the Islamic God. Which word would help the inhabitants better understand the God of the Bible?

Another struggle is also how they would keep the essence of the Bible the same. This led me to realize the importance of every word when translating any written word into another language. Not only is the denotation, the dictionary definition of a word, important; the connotation, the overall meaning behind the word, is also equally if not more important. The essence and feeling behind each word has to be the same. Translation software companies like Smartling who help to translate written word, such as novels, from one language to another must struggle with these same problems.

While translating written word, it is important to me to keep the emotions behind the story consistent throughout languages. For instance, I recently read Shaken by Kariss Lynch, the first in the Heart of Warriors series. I loved this book mainly because of the emotions that I felt while reading it. Although I usually do not cry during novels, I wept during this one. The emotions were so real and I could easy connect with the characters. If this book were to be translated into another language, I believe that the raw emotions behind the book and the feeling that I was left with after reading it would also need to be translated.

What do you think is the most important aspect of a novel that may not be easily translated? What novels would you like to see translated into another language?

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