Being a sidekick

Posted on Posted in Translation

During December we’re focusing on leaning on God. Please see the Monthly Prayer Focus page to read our strategic prayer request for this month.

By Lindy Pate

During the translation checking session, I mentioned that I was working with seven Papua New Guinean men. There was another presence in the room as well. God. Before I get into the details of his role, I want to bring two facts to mind.

First, 2 Timothy 3:16 says that all Scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching.

Second, things are not always what they seem. You’ve seen it in films. The boss or hero saves the day, but only because of a competent sidekick working in the background. This assistant’s key role is ignored by others and sometimes even by the hero (ie. The Pink Panther). Some film analysts say that the ‘sidekick’ is actually the hero in these instances.

During the work of translation sometimes I can notice something and think, “Wow, I’m really good at this. I caught that error.” Like the apparent heroine of a story when I’m actually the sidekick. This time I was definitely beyond my comfort zone and training, so God’s role was obvious. He is the hero of his story and His Spirit is active in the translation process.

However, His Spirit is so subtle that without looking carefully it would be possible to miss. It is almost like the butterfly effect.

The recording team missed a word in the text. Nothing big. Just a pronoun. In their review process, they did not catch the omission and sent the recording on to the editing team. We listened to the recording and followed along on the page. I don’t speak Mborena Kam, so there may be errors that I will never spot. But I can read and I can tell when there are more words on the paper than in the recording. I noticed the omission and asked. Replaying the verse led the rest of the team to focus their attention more closely and they found a mistake that actually changed the meaning. It was fixed.

Sometimes Hans, who plays the recordings, messes up and plays the wrong verse. One time, he accidentally played a verse that we were done with and someone caught the change from past tense to present tense.

It is so cool! God is at work. How many times are we leaning on God and we don’t even notice?

Lindy serves as a Bible translator.

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