Chaz in Oaxaca

I’ve been able to talk with Chaz a few times on a webphone and we’ve also emailed back and forth,when he has time to log on and write! He has been enthusiasatic when we’ve talked,interested in the conference sessions and learning a great deal. One excerpt:

“We have talked about basic stuff so far,mostly working with back-translations [the indigenous language translated word for word back into English],what a consultant should expect from the translator,what one can discover from a back-translation,etc. Bill [Bivin,the Guaymi translator from here in Panama] gave me another team’s first back-translation of Mark and I worked last night and some today on forming questions for them. This afternoon we worked on it together. …[The Bible translator] worked among a mostly Catholic group,..[linguistically isolated],from an area west of Mexico City. [This group has] 200,000 speakers. A priest who is from the group has training in Greek and has been doing the drafting and they have a group of reviewers and checkers. One of the [indigenous translators] was along with the …translator so I could ask him the comprehension questions directly. It was fun. Bill is our supervisor and he told me he was concerned the translation was rather literal;they haven’t done much discourse analysis [studying how the parts of a text all fit together,what words are used for transition,etc].”Another day he reported that they were reviewing Greek and Hebrew information,so he hopes to brush up more on those in the future. He has daily opportunities for hands-on training,with Wycliffe translators that are working there in Mexico. There have been some interesting words on some computer programs also that may be of help in the future. The days are long but it is a grand opportunity.

All is not work,though. Saturday a group went to see some ruins nearby:“The trip to Monte Alban was only 15 minutes each way from the office here. The site is the size of two football fields and they say that’s only a third of what the federal government has designated for research. The mountain is in the middle of the Oaxaca valley and you can see the western and eastern ranges easily before they merge to the south. The ancient Zapotecs lived there for 2500 years,but decline began about 850 AD.

“We had lunch in a restaurant that overlooks the downtown plaza. I had pork,tortillas and beans but never prepared like these were. ”No reports of digestive upset yet!

Thank you for your prayers for him. We are all doing fine on the home front,but were just sorry to miss celebrating Chaz’s birthday with him. His big day was yesterday,and he planned to celebrate it in a unique way:“Tomorrow I go with Hans Elwert (a former Colombia colleague,now working in Mexico) and two ladies to an Indian market town to sell books in some language (likely a form of Zapotec).”We packed gifts and cards for him in his suitcase. The birthday cake will have to wait until he returns.

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