Posts Tagged ‘president’

[Reprinted from wycliffeusa.wordpress.com]

By Roy Eyre, president of Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada

Those of us who are not directly involved in translating the Bible will never completely understand or appreciate the linguistic challenges our translators face day by day.

That includes me.

I am giving my professional life to the Bible translation cause. But I am an administrator, not a linguist. As a result, I approach the challenge of translation from a unique vantage point. I look at this topic as a father—and pastor of my own family. I look at it as an elder—concerned with right doctrine. And I look at it as someone who cares deeply for God’s Word—wanting everyone around the world to be able to have access to it in their own language.

Still, I can share some general insights on the matter.

One fundamental truth about translation is that there are no two languages that have an exact cross-over of vocabulary. Most Christians in North America have heard in church at one point or another that our English word, “love,” in our Bibles doesn’t capture the meaning behind the four Greek words in Scripture: agápe, éros, philía, and storgē. Take a moment to consider the implications of using éros instead of philía in a translation. Sexual connotations would certainly be a stumbling block when “brotherly love” was intended.

English is a handy language in its use of generic words like “love.” However, many languages have far more specific words. I remember a previous Word Alive story that explained that there are more than twenty different Inuit words that English attempts to encapsulate in the word “snow.”

But other languages have a more limited vocabulary. Wycliffe’s Ken and Mendy Nehrbass are Bible translation consultants on an island in Vanuatu, in the middle of the South Pacific. Ken once tried to convey to me the difficulty of translation into the Southwest Tanna language:

“Translated Genesis 2–4 yesterday. You’d think that the difficulty with translating would be that there are so many ways to say something—how do you narrow it down? But every chapter of the Bible presents the opposite problem for a language like SW Tanna: there’s no way to say it! Like [in Gen. 4:15], “if anyone kills Cain, he will be avenged seven times.” ([In SW Tanna, there is] no word for ‘avenge,’ no number above five, and no way to say ‘x number of times.’)”

Our translators face a difficult and complex task daily. Even the “simple” verses can trip them up. We in English-speaking countries—home to 85 percent of all Bible resources—have a difficult time visualizing the challenges. So let’s pray for translators like the Nehrbasses, working in isolated locations and struggling at times with a few other consultants to find the best solutions in each unique language.

How did Ken and Mendy end up solving their dilemma? They leaned upon their biblical, translation, and linguistics training; Wycliffe’s translation practices based on more than a half century of experience; insights into the local language and culture from the Southwest Tanna people; and, no doubt, much prayer.

Recognizing that conveying the meaning of God’s Words is an ultimate goal, they chose the following:

Nɨkam. Tukmə yermamə kɨrik rhopni ik, tukrɨrəh narpɨnien ehuə rapita narpɨnien yame nakawəh.

In English, this translation conveys the idea that if someone killed Cain, he’d receive a larger punishment than the punishment he meted out to Cain.

The manuscript of the New Testament is currently being printed, and the Southwest Tanna will soon have God’s Word in a form they can understand.

I may never know everything that translators, like Ken and Mendy, face. But I do know this: Wycliffe Canada is just as committed in 2012 to accurate, clear, and natural translation for every remaining language as we were sixty years ago when our personnel first started serving in this amazing and life-changing work.

—Roy’s post originally appeared in Wycliffe Canada’s Word Alive magazine. Read the rest of this issue on their website at http://www.wycliffe.ca/wordalive/#/2

—Read or watch more on Ken and Mendy Nehrbass’s work in Vanuatu at http://www.cbn.com/700club/guests/bios/Nehrbass_112707.aspx and http://www.nehrbass.info/


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EyreMail Dec11

[click for full-size, readable pdf]

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Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada held an induction ceremony for the new president, Roy Eyre, on Nov. 30. The event, held at Cornerstone Church in Calgary, was well attended by local pastors, church and national leaders, as well as Wycliffe members and Wycliffe board directors. It was a time of celebration as well as “passing on the baton.” T.V. Thomas, a Wycliffe Canada board member, hosted the program.

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I’ll post some thoughts about today’s induction service, but my brain isn’t really working this evening. So, since pictures are worth a thousand words, here are about 3,000.


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A month from today I will be installed as president of Wycliffe Canada. A lot of thoughts go through my mind as I say that, and a flood of emotions, but the idea is settling in. The more I sit in on Leadership Team meetings, the more I feel comfortable with a very good team. The more I’m able to put my stamp on decisions that are being made, the more the role is feeling and will feel my own. The more I represent Wycliffe at meetings like the EFC President’s Day last week in Vancouver, the more I feel like I belong. The more I get warm welcomes and good dialogue from Wycliffe staff, as I did at the Canada Institute of Linguistics on Friday, the more I feel like I’m not on my own.

Still, I anticipate the month ahead will build in intensity. I have a number of meetings this month that will get me up to the altitude I hope to be at by the end of the month. I’m putting together plans for the team that will serve with me as I step into the role. That includes hiring an executive assistant to help me start well, along with a couple of part-time writers/editors. I’m also putting together the outline of an initiative to help our staff build their financial support teams. And I’m sketching out the framework for a Leadership Team retreat in January, where we’ll begin a five year plan for Wycliffe.

In the more immediate foreground, two big events are looming. First, my daughter turns six on November 3. That’s a big milestone for her. Then I leave in a week for a few days in Costa Rica to meet with other leaders in North and South America as we consider some of the trends in our organization and our continents. I’ll have the incredible privilege of spending the Wycliffe World Day of Prayer with my Spanish-speaking colleagues.

It’s going to be a good month. I’ll keep you posted on prayer needs, and stay tuned for a bit of a travelog as I go to Costa Rica on November 7.

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[Reposted from thebackrowleader.com]

When I’m asked by young people about whether they should move into management roles, the first question I ask them is whether they have the ability to live vicariously: to find joy and satisfaction in the success of others. It’s a critical competency for leadership, but I’ve found it useful throughout life. Underneath this issue are fundamental questions of identity, pride and acceptance.

For starters, I work in a Bible translation organization, but I am not a Bible translator. If I didn’t have the ability to take joy in the achievements of others, I’d struggle with my role. As it’s my goal to work in my gifting so that others can work in their gifting, I can therefore celebrate as part of the team whenever a translation is completed. I have a personal goal this year to get to a dedication ceremony for a New Testament completed by a Canadian translator.

As a graphic designer, I had to be okay working with images from great locations I was likely to never see. As I look back at Word Alive magazines I designed, I feel a connection to language surveyors in central Asia, leaders in Singapore and translators in Cameroon even though my personal experience was limited to the images on my Mac.

In leadership development, I had to confront the question of whether  I was okay with advancing someone else’s career beyond my own. Once I had resolved my own issues of pride and competitiveness, I was then able to celebrate the appointment of a 32-year-old female vice president and a 41-year-old board member who benefited from my work.

Now I have the opportunity to take joy in the work of 590 staff working in or sent out from Canada. I will rejoice with the success and mourn with the struggles of IT staff, linguists, literacy workers and finance personnel. As my job description says, the performance of the organization is synonymous with the performance of the president. We’re all connected. We’re a body. And we’re all part of the Bible translation team.

That’s also our hope for you: that through your financial support, your prayers and your encouragement, you feel like you’re part of the work, from your home or your office. You are part of the Bible translation team. May you take a lot of joy in the vicarious role God has given you.

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