“What you are doing is just like sharpening an arrow.”
These words were spoken by a man who had been taught by his father to use arrows when he was a young boy. As an adult, he used arrows to hunt wild game to feed his family. This man knew the importance of sharpening an arrow.
However, in this instance he wasn’t talking about a wooden arrow. He was talking about the process of checking the New Testament translation. He was walking through his village when he passed the house where several people were talking about the coming of John the Baptist and the baby Jesus. Translation advisor Hanna Schulz was sitting on her veranda with the Kope translation team. Together they were going through the newly translated books of Luke 1 and 2 phrase by phrase. Their purpose was to check for accuracy and clarity. As they worked, they made adjustments in the text where needed, making the message sharp and clear.
Next the team carried the draft manuscript to another village in the language area, where people heard the books on their language for the first time. Sometimes a listener would say, “I know what this means, but we wouldn’t say it quite like that.” Then they would adjust the wording to make it flow like smooth Kope talk. As they worked, more villagers became aware of the translation work, they had the opportunity to make comments and be a part of the process. When the books are printed, not only will they read in clear Kope, these people will also be able to say, “We had a part in this! This is our language and we helped the translators revise it. This is our book!”
Each step is part of the process to create an accurate translation that is true to the original meaning and speaks in smooth clear Kope. When they reach that point, the Gospel of Luke will truly be like a well-sharpened arrow, refined and useful in the hands of the ones who hold it, cherish it, and allow it to shape their lives.