On October 10-14 IBT conducted a webinar for Bible translation teams from IBT and partner organizations on the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes. 14 participants from seven Bible translation projects (Avar, Kyrgyz, Tabasaran, Khakass, Tsakhur, Yakut and a North Caucasian project) gathered online for this training event. The webinar was taught by Luka Manevich, a biblical scholar and exegetical adviser in several Scripture translation projects, already familiar to many of the students from his expert instruction at previous webinars.
The sessions dealt with many of the primary problems that face translators of Ecclesiastes, such as how to translate the title and what renderings could convey the meaning of the key term hevel (often translated in English Bible versions as “vanity”.)
Another important methodological point was the attempt of translators to find analogues for Hebrew proverbs from their own culture. The lecturer urged caution against such a desire, for even good analogies are never completely equivalent and may introduce an element of distortion. In addition, this deprives the reader of the opportunity to cross the bridge between the Old Testament and his or her own culture.
The webinar included both a theoretical and a practical component, so the students were encouraged to produce a draft translation of Ecclesiastes during the course of the webinar if they had not done so in advance. A big advantage of the webinar format is that the video recording can be viewed again in the future, and can also be offered to other translation teams when they are ready to start their own work on Ecclesiastes.