Burning need for Translation

One of the many hats that I wear where I live, is a fire helmet. As a member of the volunteer fire crew,
I get to drive around in an old fire truck and shoot water from the hoses to put out fires.

As you might be able to tell from the writing on the side of the truck, the fire truck is from Japan. Being a Japanese fire truck, all of the valves and gauges are labeled in Japanese. There is a slight problem in that none of the fire crew can read or speak Japanese. Imagine going to a fire and not knowing for sure if you needed to move a lever to the left or right to engage the a pump.

To overcome this problem, the fire crew had a Japanese speaker translate the Japanese labels into English. The English was then written in permanent marker in the appropriate places on the truck.

Great. The Japanese labels have been translated into English. But the work doesn't stop at just getting the words translated. Imagine if the Japanese translator approached us and asked about the translated labels and our response was, "You did a great job. We never take the truck out of the firehouse, but whenever we go there we stand back and appreciate the hard work you put into making that more understandable. Sometimes we even read the English words and marvel that those Japanese characters say that." He'd probably be very frustrated because he wanted his translated labels to be used to have an impact on fighting fires.

In a lot of ways, this is just like our desire to see God's Word translated into the various heart languages here in Papua New Guinea. We don't want to produce an end product that just sits on the shelf. We want people to actual read God's Word in a language that they can understand. But we want them to do more than just read it. We want them to be fully engaged with it. We want it to be used to have an impact on transforming their lives and communities.