The past few weeks have been interesting. I need to write more often but it seems like day runs into day and the next thing you know I have not written in almost two weeks! Long story short, caught a bad flu, was home from work for a week, sleeping, and running back and forth between home and my new apartment, which is now mostly clean, painted, and ready for items to be moved into it, starting on Sunday, things I ordered will be delivered.
And now its Friday. Tomorrow I’m looking forward to taking the mother of one of my students, and three students on a tour of the Galilee, come rain or shine, and it looks like rain. Tonight though, I had my usual class. I had a few new students, several students who hadn’t been there in a few weeks, and some regulars… so with a prayer in my heart, I decided to change the lesson to something more group oriented, and we took a look at the task of translation, using Psalm 23.
The assignment? The students had to translate verse 3 from Psalm 23, from Chinese into English. It was amazing how different, yet how similar, their translations were. But beyond the task at hand, understanding how to translate, the need to look at original language, keep the spirit of the poetry, and maintain meaning, there were nuances in Hebrew not carried into Chinese, and nuances in Chinese that could not be carried easily into English.
Yet the truth of the Word still came through in every translation. Here are a few examples some of the Chinese to English translations suggested:
He awakens my soul and leads me to the moral road to disseminate His virtue.
He wakes up my soul and leads me to the right way in the name of His honor.
He awakens my soul and for his name guides me through to the righteous road.
He wakes my soul up and leads me to righteousness because of His holy name.
I found it interesting that what is generally translated as “He restores my soul,” in Chinese, for each student, came across as “awakes” or “awakens.” Apparently, this concept in Chinese carries the idea of renewal, starting over, restoration, and so…
But isn’t it a beautiful picture? He awakens my soul… my soul which was sad and dreary from the frustrations of the day, soul sick from loss or illness, my soul which was asleep to the need around me… He awakens my soul!
And what about, not just “paths of righteousness” but being led on the “righteous road?” Somehow, it just rang in my soul. God doesn’t just leads us in paths of righteousness, but the entire road He leads us on is righteous!
And so, while my students gained a deeper appreciation for the task of translation, and we were able to discuss the tools at hand to help them when they have to translate something for their own understanding, I was blessed with a deeper appreciation for Psalm 23.