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Discussion in 'Bible Versions & Translations' started by John of Japan, Aug 27, 2018.

  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    For those of you who have kindly commented and inquired over the years about our Japanese NT translation, we are done except for the final proofreading. (Anyone want to volunteer? :)) Today my son and I finished correcting the last chapter (though he wants to take another look at a couple of chapters). God willing (and the proofreaders working), it will be printed and sent to Japan by the end of this year. On this thread I'll trace the rationale and history of the translation.

    First of all, here is the rationale. There are two reasons my team and I did this translation. First of all, there is a conservative translation of the Bible used by fundamentalists and conservatives evangelicals in Japan. (It was financed by the Lockman Foundation, and done by the same method as the NASB.) However, an attempt by me to get permission for a missionary friend to print the Gospel of John ran into road blocks, and my friend gave up. Therefore, it would be great to have a translation anyone could print or use on the Internet without worrying about copyright restrictions.

    Secondly, there is my position on the Greek text is Byzantine priority. Historically, there has only been one Japanese NT done from a Byzantine base, the Nagai Yaku of 1928, done from the Stephanus TR. However, that translation was done in very difficult classical Japanese, and furthermore is long out of print. Therefore, Japan is long overdue.
     
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  2. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    It is based upon the TR of the Kjv than?
     
  3. Jordan Kurecki

    Jordan Kurecki Well-Known Member
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    so do you actually do the translation work yourself? or do you train nationals in Hebrew and Greek and have them do it? I know one missionary in Uganda, he was working on a translation, but he had the nationals doing the primary translation work, he taught them Greek, he would have them translate into Madi, and then he would have them then backtranslate it into English and he would check the English translation with the greek.

    What are your thoughts?
     
  4. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Yes, Scrivener's TR.
     
  5. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    I know the missionary doing the work in Uganda. He is a good man, and we may be able to provide a man from our ministry to teach the nationals there Hebrew next summer. (Our guys are praying about it.)

    The situation in Japan was quite different. As I recall, Madi is written, but there are very few resources. However, Japanese has tons of resources that I was able to access and use. To start with, I was able to graduate from the two year course of the Tokyo School of the Japanese Language (The Naganuma School), a prestigious language school. This course was full time for two years (like a 2 year MA). Then, we had multiple grammars, dictionaries, software, etc.

    My process (not recommended for an unwritten language, or one like Madi with few resources):

    1. I translated the entire NT from Greek into Japanese. This was the first draft.
    2. Somewhere along the line, God brought in "Uncle Miya" Miyakawa to help. He and I and sometimes others (depending) went through the entire NT to put my work into better, more natural Japanese. This produced the 2nd draft. Input by nationals is absolutely essential, whether you do it this way or in the way our brother has lead them for the Madi translation.
    3. For the third (and usually final) draft, we put the translation out to others for correction. This was usually Japanese people (recommended), though we also used my son (who grew up in Japan and learned his Japanese from Japanese), and one other missionary (a great linguist) and his Japanese believers.
    4. Now we are going through the process of proof reading. For this purpose we are using Japanese believers as much as possible.

    Whether or not nationals do the actual translation, their help is absolutely essential. Non-native speakers often do not know the correct idioms and nuances. For example, the word "son" was also a euphemism that I did not know, in spite of my training and my decades on the field. (More about this later.)
     
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  6. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    May God bless your hard work and make your translation a real blessing to the people of Japan. :)
    My friend Alistair MacKenna, who is Pastor of Osaka International Church, was home just recently. He spoke at my church and described the tremendous difficulties in reaching the Japanese. Yet he is seeing some blessing with several coming to the Lord. I'm sure your translation would be of interest to him, especially as he uses the NKJV as his preferred English translation.
     
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  7. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Thank you for that information. I'll forward the name of Alistair MacKenna to our man in Japan. He may be interested in passing out some of our "John and Romans," and receiving copies of the NT when it is printed.
     
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  8. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    One difficulty we ran into is, believe it or not, what to translate for "Son of God." This problem illustrates just why native speaker helpers or translators are vital to a project.

    I was puzzled as to why all of the Japanese versions used 御子 (miko) for "son," since there is a perfectly good Japanese word for it, 息子 (musuko). Miko is a very polite word used for a child of the Emperor, but it only means "honorable child." (The term "honorable" doesn't fully represent the honorific prefix in English, but it will have to do.) Also, miko is not gender specific, so Christ is not presented as male with that word, but only "child."

    So, I originally used the normal word for "son" in "Son of God," but Uncle Miya soon worked me over linguistically on that rendering. It seems that "son" (especially "my son") can be an off color euphemism. So, what we came up with was a polite term for someone else's honorable son used at celebrations: ご子息 (goshisoku). This word inverts the order of the Chinese characters in the compound, and is thus not a euphemism.

    There has been pushback from Japanese people on this rendering, since they are not used to it, having used Miko all of their Christian lives. However, for the time being we are sticking to it.
     
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  9. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    That would be the 1894 text, the one considered to be the best TR to use, correct?
     
    #9 Yeshua1, Aug 29, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2018
  10. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    You mean 1894. There is very little difference between the TR texts out there. As I translated, I was able to note the occasional difference between the Scrivener and Stephanus texts of the TR, since the digital text I used showed those differences.
     
  11. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    You are right on the date! You also have for reading use the Critical GT 3rd edition, correct?
     
  12. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Yep. Not to brag, but I have about a dozen Greek NTs, including M. A. Scholz (1794‑1852), the original 2 volume Westcott & Hort, etc. It's what I do. :)
     
  13. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    its "amazing" that you have been able to actual use and study other than just the TR, as some KJVO would see you havign a library of "santantic texts"
     
  14. PastoralMusings

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    JOJ,
    I am grateful that God has called men such as you to the ministry of translation, and I'm impressed that you were used to do such a large work. May it be a great blessing to all who use it.
     
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  15. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    Amazing, simply amazing and wonderful.

    Your (and all who assisted) work will probably go largely unnoticed by this world but will no doubt be heralded in heaven.

    Japan - truly a valley of dry bones to whom you are giving the water of life and manna - the bread from heaven.
    The Good News of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, God come in the flesh.

    Thank You John.
     
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  16. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    I do have a question and by no means is it critical but born out of curiosity.

    Does your translation include the Johannine Comma?

    Also does Japanese culture accept the concept of Trinity (three distinct persons in one divine essence)?
     
    #16 HankD, Aug 30, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
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  17. SovereignGrace

    SovereignGrace Well-Known Member
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    Not to brag...but you bragged anyways. :D

    Brother John, I truly love the time you spent in Japan bringing the Christ to those ppl. May God continue to bless and use you to fulfill His purpose(s). Soli Deo Gloria.
     
  18. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    I think any Greek teacher should have various Greek texts if he is worth his salt. Studying the manuscript evidence is part of my job, I feel.
     
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  19. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Thanks much. I was amazed when I went to Japanese language school and learned that I love this stuff! God has gifted me.
     
    #19 John of Japan, Aug 31, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
  20. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Yes it does, since we were going strictly by the TR. I'm a follower of Skopos Theory, and our Skopos was to produce a translation from the Scrivener TR. For more about the theory: New Translation Theories

    Not really. There is nothing like it in either Buddhism or Shinto. The typical Japanese has to get saved before understanding the trinity.
     
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