Sunday, 31 January 2010

Did she say what I think she said?

I have sat in my fair share of translated meetings, being a listener who understands the two languages well enough to compare what was said with what was translated. There are many types of translators: those who translate word for word, whether it makes sense or not; those who translate nothing that is actually being said and create their own presentation; those who have the gift.

Translation is a serious art. It takes a real gift for the ability to quickly switch between two languages simultaneously. A gift I do not have, but am willing to let God to continue to work out through my efforts.

Since arriving at our new appointment in Madrid, a new style of ministry has developed for my husband and me. He speaks, and I translate. We are learning this together, and it is not without its frustrations. Most Sundays I come down from the platform exhausted, often feeling as if I made no sense at all.

Today, my husband spoke on the parable of the prodigal son in Luke. He began to describe the extravagant love that the father lavished on the returned son; a robe, a ring, new sandals. And as I translated I noticed the people began to chuckle slightly. I assumed I said some thing that when translated directly can be taken out of context, so I let it go. It happens often enough, that I’ve learned to try to not get distracted. After the meeting, someone asked me if I knew why everyone was laughing.

“No. Did I say a bad word, or something?”

“No you said that the father called for them to put watermelons on the prodigal son’s feet.”


Sandalias = sandals……..sandia = watermelon

It’s an honest mistake. And I’m positive it won’t be my last.

1 comment:

Sue J. said...

Considering what the prodigal had done, he would have received watermelons with joy, I'm sure!

I think everything you've said here is on target, Valerie. If God has called you both to this, then He will continue to provide what you need to bring His message to the people. And if they giggle at watermelons, then you've made a connection!