Interpretation Guideline Comprehensive Version



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Interpretation Guideline

Comprehensive Version




OVERVIEW

As the Gospel is preached throughout the world, the holy work of interpretation becomes essential in spreading God’s word to multiple nationalities and countries. Interpreters do more than simply translate words – they relay concepts and ideas between languages. Therefore, they should strive to have a more comprehensive knowledge base so that they are able to convert the message from the source language to the target language. In addition, they must remain sensitive to cultural differences associated with their target audience.


Interpreters must strive for deeper biblical knowledge and spirituality in order to speak God’s word effectively. Daily Bible reading and prayer are crucial in drawing closer to God and understanding the work of His Spirit. This guideline provides recommended steps and pointers for preparing oneself for the holy work of interpretation. The Appendix also provides a list of common English-Chinese terms that interpreters may frequently encounter. Future versions may include common terms for other languages (e.g. Spanish).

OBJECTIVES


  • Faithfully interpret the message to the target audience

  • Help eliminate language barriers



SPIRITUAL ESSENCE

Interpretation involves more than knowing how to process words from one language to another. The interpreter must translate the spiritual essence of the message and have the abidance of the Holy Spirit in order to edify the congregation. Like the sermon speaker, the interpreter serves as a mouthpiece of the Lord. Moses, a wise and learned man, was called by God to deliver His people out of Egypt. Moses was called not because of his eloquence of tongue, but rather because God wanted him to be the instrument to carry out His will.

God will “be with your mouth and teach you what you are to speak” just as He was with Moses and Aaron (Ex 4:12). Like Moses and Aaron, the speaker and the interpreter should be of one mind with the same purpose – to deliver the word of God. With prayer and supplication, the fullness of the Holy Spirit will lead us, and God “will be with your mouth and with his mouth” (Ex 4:15).


HOW TO
PREPARATION BEFOREHAND


  • Pray for wisdom and eloquence in speech

  • Talk to the speaker beforehand about the theme and key phrases

  • Bible Knowledge

    • Know the books of the Bible and be able to turn to them quickly

    • Be familiar with OT and NT terms

    • Be familiar with names and places in the Bible

    • Quote verses using the most commonly used version

  • Church Knowledge

    • Understand the essential doctrines of our church (10 Articles of Faith, 5 Basic Beliefs)

    • Know the history, structure, names, and present conditions of our church

  • General Knowledge

    • Expand knowledge in all fields (i.e. literature, history, medicine, etc)

    • Be informed on historical events and keep up with current events (good sources for current events are NPR, CNN, Chinese Times, etc)

  • Language Skills

    • Learn to pronounce all the Bible books and biblical terminologies correctly

    • Read books on effective public speaking and communication
    • Broaden exposure to regional differences within a language – be culturally aware in choosing terms that different groups can understand(e.g. Mandarin speakers from China use “San1 Fan1 Shi4” instead of “Jiu4 Jin1 Shan1” for “San Francisco”).


  • Learning Skills

    • Listen to recordings of your own interpretation and make necessary adjustments (i.e. pitch, accent, dynamics)

    • Observe and learn from other interpreters


PREPARATION ON THE HOUR


  • Appearance

  • Interpreters are visible to the congregation throughout the service, so dress appropriately and groom yourself as one serving God and representing the church.

    • Neat appearance – hair combed, facial hair shaved/trimmed, shirt tucked in, etc.

    • Appropriate attire for brothers – collared shirts, ties, slacks, dress shoes (avoid t-shirts, jeans, shorts, sneakers, sandals).

    • Appropriate attire for sisters – shirts, skirts, slacks, dress shoes (avoid excessive jewelry, jeans, shorts, sneakers, sandals).

  • Arrive to church a minimum of 15 minutes prior to service to prepare your heart

  • Check with the speaker about topic to avoid surprises


DURING INTERPRETATION


  • Remain calm and focused

  • Be reverent

    • Be mindful that you are speaking for edification and strengthening the church, not for entertainment or rehearsal (cf. 1 Cor 14:26)

    • As a mouthpiece of God, glorify His name

  • Be confident and positive in doing His ministry (cf. Heb 10:35)

  • Be enthusiastic and sincere

  • Be faithful to the words of the speaker

  • Use common words that everyone can understand

    • Be simple and precise, do not be too wordy and avoid repeating words


    • Know your audience – be respectful and choose appropriate words based on culture and age (e.g. during RE prayer session be mindful not to use big words)

  • Speak and enunciate clearly

    • Maintain the same speed and tone as the speaker

    • Be expressive and engaged

    • Project your voice

  • Stand firm and upright

    • Look towards the audience; avoid looking down at the Bible the entire time

    • Do not lean on the podium or sway too much

    • Do not make assumptions about what the speaker will say or is saying

    • Correct the speaker of any mistakes during Bible referencing


AFTER INTERPRETATION


  • Look up or write down words and biblical verses that were interpreted incorrectly

  • Continue to:

    • Practice by reading church literature and the news

    • Learn by attending services and listening attentively to the speaker and interpreter

    • Correct yourself by listening or watching your interpretation

    • Improve by accepting constructive criticism


ADDITIONAL POINTERS


  • Be familiar with commonly used expressions and sayings (e.g. slang and proverbial sayings)
  • Read reference books on commonly used phrases in different languages (e.g. American English All-Purpose Manual – common terminologies of Chinese/English use)


  • Keep an interpretation notebook; take note of words or phrases you do not know

Types of services the interpreter should be prepared for:



  • Evangelical Sermons

    • This type of service generally focuses on facets of the Bible relating to salvation

    • Know the stories in the gospel books as well as in Genesis and Exodus

    • Knowledge of current events is helpful

  • Pastoral Sermons

    • This type of service involves a wider perspective of the Bible

    • Knowledge of the epistles of Paul and Acts of the Apostles is useful

    • More comprehensive than evangelical sermons, this type of service requires overall Bible familiarity

  • Testimonies

    • This type of service usually consists of everyday terms associated with a person’s past

    • Bible verses may be referenced

    • Knowledge of medical and family relationship terms is useful

Appendix
Table of Contents

Common Bible Terms: Old Testament 6

Common Bible Terms: New Testament 7

Bible Books 8

Feasts 10

Offerings 11

Tabernacle Items 12

Judges & Related Terms 13

Kings and Tribes 14

Prophets 15

Church Organization 15

Religions 18

Heresies 20

Family Relationships 21

Modern Medical Terms 22

Common Phrases 25

超自然現象 30


Supernatural phenomenon 30

Common Bible Verses 31





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