SOME TRANSLATION AND EXEGETICAL PROBLEMS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT OF THE ASANTE-TWI BIBLE (2012)

ABSTRACT
The Bible is God’s way of communicating with His people in such a manner that would easily be understood. This has resulted in the many translations of the Bible from their original languages to specific target languages, including Asante-Twi. The first edition of the Asante-Twi Full Bible was published in 1964 as a result of the revision works on the Akuapem-Twi Bible with slight changes in orthographies. The latest revised edition of the Asante-Twi Bible is the 2012 version. Since no translation is perfect, the Asante-Twi Bible (2012) also suffers similar challenge. The researcher identified six (6) of such translation and exegetical problems in the New Testament of the Asante-Twi Bible (AsTB). These include words and phrases in Matthew 15:19 (moicei/ai); 25:15 (ta,lanta); Galatians 5:23 (evgkra,teia); and Ephesians 4:12 (tou/ sw,matoj tou/ Cristou); 6:9 (avnie,ntej th.n avpeilh,n); and 6:12 (pa,lh). The research employs biblical exegesis and mother-tongue biblical hermeneutics in analysing the Greek texts and that of the AsTB texts. Comparative analyses of the Asante-Twi texts with other Ghanaian mother-tongue Bibles were done to show how the various Greek texts have been rendered in these mother-tongue Bibles. The research revealed that the Asante-Twi Bible is widely and mostly used by members of the mainline Churches irrespective of the level of education. However, the translations of some of the words fail to meet the thought pattern of the contemporary Asante Christian whose socio-cultural settings are changing with time. It is recommended that stakeholders of the Asante-Twi Bible continually review it to reflect the understanding of the contemporary Asante Christian taking into cognisance the changing socio-cultural values of the Asante Christian.


CHAPTER ONE
GENERAL INTRODUCTION
1.1       Background to the Study
According to the late Nelson Mandela of South Africa, "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”1 This assertion by Mandela reflects the need to present the gospel message to the African in his own language since the Bible was written in the everyday languages of its original readers. Hence, for a better understanding of the Scriptures there is the need to translate it from the original languages to the mother–tongues of the indigenous people.2


Bible translation in Africa can be traced back to around 260 BC in the ancient city of Alexandria, Egypt where, the Hebrew Scripture was translated into Greek, known as the Septuagint (LXX). This translation facilitated the spread of Christianity among Hellenistic groups.3 The ability of Christianity to thrive in Egypt in the face of the Arab conquest in the seventh century can be linked to the development of Scriptures in the Coptic language in Egypt. But with reference to other North African countries like Carthage, Hippo, and other non-Egyptian settlements, the non-availability of Scriptures in their indigenous languages coupled with the overemphasis of the Latin Scriptures had a negative impact on the survival of Christianity in the wake of the Arab conquests.4 Translation plays a vital role in the growth of Christianity in any culture since the indigenous people find the God of the Bible speaking their local language.

In Ghana, Bible translations date back to the mid nineteenth century. According to Ype Schaaf,5 the earliest local translations were the Ga, Akuapem-Twi6, Mfantse7 and the Ewe. Portions of the Bible were first translated into Ga, Akuapem-Twi, Mfantse and Ewe in 1843, 1859, 1896 and 1858 respectively. New Testament translations were published in 1859, 1863, 1896 and 1877 respectively. The complete translations of the whole Bible into Ga, Akuapem-Twi, Mfantse and Ewe were achieved in 1866, 1871, 1948 and 1913 respectively. However, in 1964 the Twi Bible (referring to the Akuapem-Twi version of the Bible which was used by all the Akan speaking people) was revised into the Asante-Twi and Akuapem-Twi, with slightly different orthographies.8 Currently, three institutions are involved in the translations of the Bible in Ghana, namely Bible Society of Ghana (BSG), Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translation (GILLBT), and the International Bible Society, also known as Biblica (IBS).9

The Akan language including Asante-Twi is the most widely spoken language in Ghana. In addition to Asante-Twi, the Akan language is a cluster of dialects such as Akuapem-Twi, Mfantse, Wassa, Agona, Akyem, Bron and Kwahu.10 According to Ekem, the term “Twi” is often used to refer to the non-Mfantse dialects of Akan such as Akuapem and Asante. According to Ethnologue, the Akan speaking people are about 8,300,000 which about 2,800,000 are Asante-Twi speaking people.11 This research focuses on some of the translation problems encountered in the New Testament of the Revised Version of the Asante-Twi Bible (AsTB) (2012).

1.2       Statement of Problem
Bible translation has been the vehicle for communicating the language of the Bible from the original text to the target audience. In the mid eighteenth century, there were attempts by some Ghanaian missionaries to interpret some portions of Scriptures into their mother-tongue.12 These indigenous missionaries saw the need to communicate their new faith to the indigenes in their own mother tongues.

Bible translation and Bible interpretation are interwoven. They are so interrelated that the practice of either one presupposes the other. Bible translation has always involved a great deal of hermeneutical competence. Throughout the process of interpretation, translators interpret the texts and make exegetical choices.13 Hence, the hermeneutical and exegetical skills of the translator are brought to the fore in translation works. Since no translation is done in a vacuum there is the tendency that the religio-cultural settings of the target people or the background of the translators would have an influence on the translation work.14

According to B. Y. Quarshie,15 there has been a worry over the unsatisfactory nature of some older versions of the mother-tongue Scriptures in Ghana and Africa in general. This, according to him has been as a result of a literalist “transliteration” rather than translation of meaning by the missionary translators who began translation works in Ghana and Africa. Quarshie therefore calls for a re-translation of the older versions of the mother-tongue Scriptures including the AsTB.16 In view of that the 1964 versions of the Asante-Twi and Akuapem-Twi Bibles (AkTB) have been revised and published in 2012. However, there are still some translation problems in the Asante-Twi Bible which limit the Asante Christian to better understand the Scriptures as intended for the original recipients of the Scriptures in his own language.

A classic example of a translation problem is the translation of “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” in Matthew 6:12 as Na fa y1n aka firi y1n (And loan to us our debts), in the 1964 version of the AsTB. However, the 2012 revised edition renders Matthew 6:12 as Na fa y1n aka ky1 y1n (And forgive us our debts), which is a true reflection of the meaning of the text. The researcher identified some problematic translations in the New Testament of the Asante-Twi mother tongue Bible and studied such texts exegetically to identify the meaning of the texts as intended by the authors of the New Testament books for the original recipients; and provided alternative translations that could best fit for such problematic texts and phrases.

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Item Type: Ghanaian Project Material  |  Attribute: 131 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: GH50  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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