AWAKE No. 3 2016

Breaking the language barrier

Daily Text

Wednesday, June 22

Stop keeping company with anyone called a brother who is sexually immoral. This is taken from 1 Corinthians 5:11.

A heartrending experience for Aaron’s family is recorded at Leviticus 10:1-11. They must have been devastated when fire from heaven consumed Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu at the tabernacle. What a test of faith it was for Aaron and his family not to mourn their dead relatives! Are you personally proving yourself holy with regard to not associating with family members or others who have been disfellowshipped? We may not face as severe a test as that experienced by Aaron and his family. But what if we were invited to attend and participate in a church wedding of a non-Witness relative? No explicit Scriptural command forbids us to attend, but there are Bible principles involved in making such a decision. Of course, we try to avoid offending our relatives, but it is usually best to speak with them in a kind, though straightforward, way—well in advance of the event.

Breaking the language barrier

There are about seven thousand languages at this present time because of this travel, trade, education, and government are complicated. In ancient times, under the rule of King Ahasuerus, the Persians transmitted official decrees across the realm, “from India to Ethiopia, 127 provinces, to each province in its own script and to each people in its own language.” Taken from Easter 8:9.

Even today, most governments would not try such a difficult challenge. Jehovah’s Witnesses has proved to be equal to the task. They have publish magazines, audio and video productions, and many book,including the Bible, in a combined total of more than 750 languages. Not to mention, some eighty sign languages and various versions of Braille for the blind. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not profit financially from their effort. Their translators and other staff are all volunteer workers.

Before the actually translation of the text begins,the publications have to be carefully planned, researched, and written. During this process, the Writing Department at their world headquarters in New York thoroughly checks all text for factual accuracy and correct, up-to-date language usage. The Writing Department then sends the text to hundreds of translation teams worldwide—most of whom live and work where the language into which they translate material is spoken. The majority of them translate into their mother tongue. They must thoroughly comprehend the original material as well as the target language.

How do translators typically carry out their work?

They work as a team, so good cooperation is the key. They explore  solutions to tough translation problems. They try to use language that is natural and that will hold the reader’s attention. So that the reader will keep on reading as if the words were delicious food.

What advantages are there in living where the language is spoken?

Talking with the local people is a rich resource. They can hear the language spoken every single day. they have field-test terms and expressions to find out if they are natural, understandable, and appealing. This helps them to convey the real meaning of the original text.

How is your work organized?

A team is assigned to each project. First, each member of the team reads the original to get the feel of the material and to discern its basic structure and the target audience. They ask main questions to understand the material. This step gets their imagination going. Next, the team members share their thoughts, learning from one another. Their aim is to elicit the same reaction in readers of the translation as the original writer intended for his audience to experience.

How do team members collaborate?

Their aim is for readers to understand the text the very first time they read it. They read each translated paragraph aloud several times. The translator types a paragraph in the target language, which they can see on our computer screens. They check that no ideas have been omitted or added. They also look for naturalness, proper spelling, and correct grammar. Then someone reads that paragraph out loud. If he or she stumbles when reading, we ask why. Once the whole article has been translated, one team member reads it aloud while the others make notes, highlighting problems that might need to be fixed.

That sounds like intense work!

It is! And by the end of the day, they are very tired. So they look at the material again in the morning when we’re fresh. Some weeks later, the Writing Department sends us final adjustments to the original text. Then they reread our work with fresh eyes and ears and refine it.

What computer tools do you use?

Computers still cannot replace human translators. But Jehovah’s Witnesses have developed translation tools that help to streamline their work. One tool is a type of dictionary in which they accumulate commonly used terms and phrases. Another tool enables them to research everything that has already been translated by their team and see previous creative solutions to their translation challenges.

How do you feel about your work?

They view their work as a gift to the public. And they want to package that gift nicely. They are thrilled by the possibility of a magazine article or a webpage item touching the heart of a reader and affecting his life for the better.

JW.ORG Official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses Over 700 languages
LISTEN TO GOD AND LIVE FOREVER Brochure published by Jehovah’s Witnesses Over 640 languages
THE WATCHTOWER Magazine published by Jehovah’s Witnesses Over 250 languages
AWAKE! Magazine published by Jehovah’s Witnesses Over 100 languages


Daily Text June 20-26. (2016). Retrieved June 22, 2016, from

JW. (2016). Breaking Through an Ancient Barrier. BREAKING THE LANGUAGE BARRIER,Awake!(No. 3), 3-7. Retrieved June 22, 2016, from


About Scarlet Moonbeam

I like to change many tv or movie stories into happy endings even for the villains...sometimes. ;-) You can find my stories on or you can search my author name Scarlet Moonbeam and be brought to my home page. HTTYD: Guardians of Dragons (Or Hiccup the Night Fury) MLP: Letter of Destiny
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