Sunday, October 25, 2009

Taupota visit

My visit to the Taupota area was good. Nothing spectacular happened, but there was a burial going on, however we missed most of it unfortunately.

It is mango season and again, mangos drop off the tree occasionally and when you hear it snap a start to fall, you worry about the fact that you are sitting under the tree! One time I fetched one that fell and enjoyed eating it, although it was a little bruised.

The frangipanis and hibiscus were in bloom and looking great. There were so many different colours of hibiscus and they were really pretty.

Here are some photos…

Beautiful view:

Mango tree:


Another hibiscus:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

How do we translate?

I could write an answer to this question that would fill a page, so I'll try to be brief.

There are different stages to translating, some of these are: first draft, advisor check, village check, back translation and consultant check. After each checking session, changes are made to the draft translation, until it is refined and as accurate as it can be. During this workshop I am involved in the first draft, advisor checks and back translation.

You might wonder how I can be involved in the first draft, when I don't know the language. Well, the two Taupota people do the actual translating. I typed for them (not easy when you don't know the language!) and I gave suggestions in English about different ways they could write it. I also explained things to them, such as the meaning of certain words or passages. They told me word for word in English what they had written in Taupota and sometimes I checked the meaning of the words or picked up on something that they hadn't included.

That's the main initial part of the translation process. I will try to write about the other parts another time.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Things that move

At both Alotau and Hagita, I have encountered various things that move. Creepy crawlies isn't quite the right term and I can't think of a general term that covers rats, frogs, ants and crabs.

We saw a rat in the toilet block on our first night at Hagita and screamed because of the sudden movement of it running fast. We haven't seen a rat there since though. Maybe we scared it away too with our scream! Nearly every night, there are frogs there too, but fortunately they have kept out of the toilet stalls and not scared us too much.

We don't have frogs or rats at the Alotau Centre, but I have seen little crabs, very small ones, but I don't like them running around inside. They look a bit like spiders.

I am also fighting an ant war at both places!! There were ants on my toothbrush, inside my toothbrush holder, so now I am keeping it in a zip-lock bag. I had ants among the cereal and milk powder that I left at the Alotau Centre for eating when I am there on the weekends. Ants are always hard to keep on top of everywhere. When I'm in Ukarumpa, I have the occasional ant crawling in and out of my computer, which is a bit of a worry!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

At the village

Presuming that all goes to plan, I will be at a Taupota village while you read this! There is a lady from Global Recordings Network, who has been at Hagita recording some portions of Scripture, and she is visiting the Taupota language group this weekend to record some songs that the people have written in their language.

The Taupota people that I am working with invited me to visit their village too. There is some sort of church celebration happening tomorrow and they wanted to share it with people.

I realise that I have had to give up the comforts of a warm shower, a washing machine and internet access to visit this village (I have counted the cost!), but I'm sure that it will all be worth it because I love being with people in the villages.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Translation workshop

There are about 11 language groups that have come to the facilities at Hagita to participate in this translation workshop. Each language sends three people to the workshop – two of them to do translation work, and one to do literacy work. Each language has a mentor who advises and assists them.

I am working with the Taupota language. They live on the coast and can access Alotau by road. Most of the other language groups came to the workshop by boat.

During this 'module' the groups are translating Exodus 15-17, making adjustments to an information booklet about HIV-AIDS that they translated previously, and writing a fairly literal translation back into English of their Genesis translation.

Friday, October 9, 2009

My current situation

During the week, for the translation workshop, I am at some facilities a bit out of Alotau, at a place called Hagita, and I go to our Centre in Alotau on the weekends. At Hagita we have cold water for the showers. so I am enjoying being at Alotau where we have nice hot showers.

I have access to broadband internet on the weekends when I'm in Alotau, so that has been good, however, next weekend I am going to visit a village, so I'll be out of internet contact for two weeks. I have set up some blog posts to go up automatically to keep you entertained until I get back to the internet. I'm sure I'll have some interesting story to tell you about my village visit, but you'll have to wait two weeks to hear it.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mashed or solid food?

Well I'm at Alotau now, helping a language group at a translation workshop and over the past couple of days we have been working on translating an information booklet about HIV/AIDS. My group came across something that could possibly be misunderstood if translated poorly. It was talking about taking babies off breast milk and starting them on solid food. 'Solid' was the word in question. One of the translators pointed out that we should really say 'mashed' food because people would think it meant that they should give babies something truly solid, like peanuts! Imagine the trouble we would be in if a translation that we endorsed resulted in a baby choking because they had been fed solid food and not mashed food. So you can see that it's really important to translate well and literal word for word replacements don't usually work well.

And here are some photos that are completely unrelated to this blog post, except that they were taken in Alotau: