Advocacy: Lost in translation

It’s been a heavy week, in the best week, with writing on several topics finding light in the Afrobloggers Community. It has honestly been a great prompt and wonderful information has made its way in circulation.

Continuing yesterday’s thoughts on learning and reading disabilities, I thought I would draw attention to language. Lebogang’s post lays the foundation for this.

Let’s just get out there, if you want to communicate, you will need a language.

In All Rise (have you watched it?) there’s this scene where Luke tells Emily, when she fails to say ‘I love you’ back because her old relationship had messed up that concept, that they could create their own language if they needed to. The romantic in me swooned over those lines. Bottom point here language affects us and our ability to relate others.

It should be considered a blessing to have the opportunity to learn more than one language. Especially when you don’t have to pay for it 😏.

My mother tongue is Lusoga.

Feels like I don’t flaunt that enough but it’s absolutely beautiful. And relating with people in a language they are comfortable with shows you that there is nothing wrong with the way they process the world but we push them into corners to make ourselves feel better.

I think the understanding that the mother tongue may also affect pronunciation of words in other languages goes a long way in helping us accommodate the differences among us. And not being quick to judge.

I don’t know if the literacy rates in the country are a reflection of the general ability to read and write for daily purposes in simply English (which is the language of instruction) or it accounts for everyone’s native.

Because maybe the numbers would reveal something else when the standard for ‘literate’ is rightly adjusted.

I have been to my home district and seen them read and write in Lusoga and Luganda. True, they may not have enough material to make it a viable hobby, to sit down and say they enjoy reading. And English may still go over their heads from time to time. But I’m sure with the right translation, they would be found to sustain deep informed conversations.

With this understanding, it is a quiet dream of mine to sit down and translate common books into a language that they can read. It seems ambitious, I know, but I would like to do that. Try to ensure that the language lives on in a format that can be traced.

And that’s a wrap 😎. Hope the different topics you’ve read about have inspired thought and provoked necessary conversations.

10 thoughts on “Advocacy: Lost in translation

  1. I think there would really be more meaningful solutions for the people if they were allowed to speak in the way most familiar to them. After all, people fear what they don’t know. This is a great write up! That brain of yours is a winner

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. I think people also can not properly express their problems because of the language differences. Language barrier still remains a thing even though it should be evened out now with people learning both their mother tongue and another. Instead we exchanged one for the other and there is no bridging the difference.
      Thank you for reading and commenting :).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When communicating something as important as the gospel of Christ, our mission is all about doing so in those people heart language, ,what they speak at home or when they speak about something important to them. But it take a long time to do this, first you must learn their heart language, then by using an international letter system which make the next step possible, giving the their language in written form. Next step, well it’s two steps on one really. The missionary starts translating the bible into their heart language and at the same time teaching the people how to read and write their language. It’s an important step because, without reading how will they get the nuggets of gold out of the Bible for learning about their Creator. Everybody has a belief system in place but it may not be the one that will tell them who God the Creator really is, who man is and what sin is. What ever their belief system is will be how they live culturally life. I remember well this one village high in the mountains of Papua New Guinea. Some of their graves had cross on them but they were turned up side down. Why, because in their belief system they had mixed a little of Jesus and a little of their spirit world together. They believed their spirit must pull themselves out of the grave. In Bolivia, SA, the people in the mountains believe the earth has a spirit and when one of their children fall down it is that an evil spirit that has pulled them down. So they will take a broom and beat the earth when a child falls. How does one teach the bible truth when faced with such beliefs, through their heart language. God wants all to hear the gospel clearly. I say, go for learning your people group language, how proud your family would be with you. The easiest way to learn a language is to move into a village and learn through day to day activities, watching and listening to them as they work, and play, asking questions, always be a learner. Some move into a village and teach English then present the Bible in that language, and that works too. But it does not save the heart language. Truthfully the reason we learn the heart language is only to present the gospel, to tell them God loves them and so they will not go to hell. There is a great video on Youtube called E-Tow, about a village in Papua and what happen when missionaries moved and did the process of giving them the truth of the bible. Just type in Ethno360, our mission board, then the name of video, E-Tow, which means, thats right. Wow, I am on a roll, sorry this is so long but I am excited that you are writing on this subject because language does affect people ability to hear the gospel all over the world. Ok, I will quit now, I know you are wiping your brow and saying, finally, yes finally she is done. Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is quite the story and I enjoyed reading this – know the inner workings from someone who has done some interpretation so that I’m not going in blind. I’m glad to know that there is a system for it all.
      We got the Bible translated in Lusoga, I think coming to 8 years now. It’s such an exciting thing. But Lusoga is so close to Luganda like truly so close and the Luganda translations have been around longer so they are not wild about making the change as yet. Which also breaks my heart a little – wish they could have more pride in their language but I know it will take some time.
      I think I mostly want to do stories and novels for the translation. Maybe if it’s in a language they feel like they can read it won’t feel so much like an uphill climb. I’ve thought of it off and on but I do hope that I could or at the very least lay the foundations to get it done.
      Thank you for reading and commenting :).


  3. You are such a missionary. That’d be a great initiative to embark on. It’s possible and I know you’ll do wellπŸ˜†πŸ˜†

    Thanks for the mention. Kudos

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for highlighting the need to keep our languages alive.
      I also think it would be fun πŸ˜… when it’s not busy being intimidating. It would be nice to learn more about the language than what I know.
      Thank you for reading and commenting :).


  4. Language does affect us and our ability to relate to others. There’s a sense of belonging when we communicate in our mother tongue, …
    And talking about being multilingual…id love to learn Lusoga. How do I say hello?…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😊😊 Aww.
      Well its ‘Muliiyo?’ or ‘Kodeyo’ – Direct translation ‘Are you there?’ But this is more of ‘Hi’.
      Formally its ‘Mwasuuse mutya?’ – Direct translation ‘How did you sleep?’ for Good morning.
      So glad to share. Thank you for asking.
      And reading. And commenting.πŸ€—


      1. Ohhh okayyy…ima keep coming to this post πŸ˜†πŸ˜†until I know them


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.