Showing posts with label translation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label translation. Show all posts

14 May 2012

Translate the articles on this site

Use the translation feature to display 'Journeys of heart and mind' in more than fifty other languages. If English is difficult for you to read, automatic translation may be very useful to you.

The distribution of systems of writingUnless you are an inveterate explorer and fiddler there may be some useful things you don't know about this blog. I plan to highlight some of these for you from time to time.

Today's highlight is the translation tool. You can choose to read the blog in dozens of different languages. If your first language is not English you may find this feature useful. Here's how to use it.

Scroll down and look in the right-hand column. You'll notice that it begins as a single column but then splits into two narrower columns. The translation button is at the top of the narrow columns, on the right. Found it?

Click the 'Select Language' button and choose one of the options - there are 53 languages to choose from (at the time of writing). There will be a pause before your chosen language kicks in, please be patient.

Once you have the page in the language of your choice you can just browse as normal. If you visit another web site translation will stop, but as long as you remain on 'Journeys of heart and mind' translation will continue (after a short pause).

The translation is done in real time using the Google Translate engine. The translated text will not be as good as a human translator would achieve. However, you can hover over text to highlight it in the original, English version. If you can read a little English, hovering may help you sort out any confusing sections.

Other issues are that much of the paragraph structure is lost in the translated version (though the text should still be readable), and that the 'Browse' button leads only to English versions of the text.

Despite these issues, we hope you may find the 'Select Language' button useful.

14 February 2012

Has the Bible been modified?

If we are to trust the Bible we need to know that it faithfully reproduces what was written by the original authors almost two thousand years ago, or earlier. It turns out that the Bible stands up to scrutiny better than any other ancient book.

Damaged papyrus of Matthew's gospelThe Bible is not really a book in the normal sense, rather it is a library of books written at different times and by different authors. Some versions of the Bible may include or exclude particular books for a variety of reasons.

But what can we say of the accuracy by which the books have been copied over the years and centuries since they were originally written? And how do the books of the Bible compare in terms of reliability with, say, Plato or Aristotle, Caesar or Cicero?

Surprisingly, we have a great deal of evidence for the reliability of both Old and New Testament books. Far more than we do for any of those other ancient books.

This is well-summarised in a web document by Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM).  Here's a claim made on that web page. Take a look at the page itself for the supporting argument.
The New Testament documents are better-preserved and more numerous than any other ancient writings. Because they are so numerous, they can be cross checked for accuracy... and they are very consistent.
Notice especially the table that shows how other respected ancient documents don't even come close in terms of early copies.

This section from an article on Wikipedia supports the accuracy of the New Testament, while another article, Textual variants in the New Testament, actually lists them for us. The majority are very minor indeed.

Whatever we may say about the comparisons to be made between the Bible and other ancient books, we may be quite certain that the Bible we read today has been faithfully copied. The New Testament we can buy and read today is very, very close to the original works written almost 2000 years ago. For the vast majority of the text (99.5%) the match is perfect across all copies.

Translation - Doesn't translation affect the meaning of the text, changing it from the originally intended sense? The purpose of good translation should always be to render the original meaning in a different language as accurately as possible. Many of the Bible translators have gone to extreme lengths in research, learned debate, discussion, checking, inviting critical comment, reviewing and revising. All this before they even consider printing a new version.

A far greater danger would be lack of translation, with less knowledgeable people trying to understand the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek and probably making mistakes.

Paraphrase versions, like the Living Bible and idiomatic translations like The Message do their best to make the text more readable. These are not intended to replace the formal equivalence of more typical translations, but they can be an excellent way to introduce the Bible, making it more accessible and providing impact and immediacy.

Study aids - For serious study I recommend reading several modern translations along with Hebrew or Greek interlinears, good commentaries and Bible dictionaries (giving the range of meanings of the Hebrew and Greek words). There are excellent tools online, take a look at Bible Gateway and Biblos, but there are others out there. Try some out and bookmark those you find most useful.

And rest assured, the source material you are using (directly or indirectly) is of high quality and pretty much identical with what was originally written.

(Check linked articles on other blogs - please explore!)

06 January 2011

ANNOUNCEMENT - 'Greatest Thing' republished

(See indexes on other topics)

I've just published a modern English version of Henry Drummond's 'The Greatest Thing in the World'. His wonderful essay on love was originally created in 1884, and it analyses Paul's famous chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians.

The Light of the worldDownload a copy - The modern English version is available free to download, choose from PDFKindle. (You can also read the modern English version and the Victorian original online.)

Article series - You might enjoy an ongoing series of short articles in which I examine Henry Drummond's essay in more detail.
  1. What is the greatest gift to grasp?
  2. The fulfillment of the law
  3. Love and other things...
Licencing - Copyright in the original has expired while the new version comes with a Creative Commons licence. So please feel free to print or republish either version and distribute it as widely as you like.

A new version for today - Why have I gone to the trouble of translating this essay into modern English? Basically, because it deserves a wider audience. Years ago The Greatest Thing was often reprinted as a booklet and was very popular. I remember buying a copy in Wesley Owen's on Park Street in Bristol back in the 1970s when the language was still less than 100 years out of date. It was a great read and it helped to change my life. The analysis excited me, Henry Drummond confirmed what I already knew to be true - this new life in Christ is all about love. At the same time the little book challenged me and drew me on.

Today it's hard to find - I don't know if the original remains in print. This great essay is no longer widely known or read. It deserves better. It will speak to readers today just as it always did. Read it!

I'm open to the possibility of releasing a printed version. I'll look into routes for self-publishing in the next few weeks, but would also be glad to hear from any commercial publisher that might be interested in The Greatest Thing.

Acknowledgements - And finally, I just want to thank the family members and friends who read my early drafts and made helpful suggestions, pointed out errors, or were just encouraging. You know who you are.

See also: Christian life can come to nothing - Cerulean sanctum

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