Linguistic Prerequisites for Bible Translation: Amele case study

Statement of Responsibility:
Roberts, John R.
In this paper we show that comprehensive linguistic research into the Amele language provided essential help to the translation project. The research covered the phonological, morphological, syntactic and discourse structures of the language. We also included as an essential part of comprehensive research the development of a bilingual dictionary with a substantial number of lexical entries. We show how phonological, grammatical, discourse and lexical research into the Amele language benefited the Amele language project in general, and the New Testament translation project in particular. We also test the thesis that native speakers know intuitively how to translate into their own language without conducting comprehensive linguistic research, and more specifically, that they will know intuitively how to produce from a second language source text lexical and grammatical equivalents in their own language without an objective linguistic understanding of the lexis and grammar of their language. We demonstrate that the Amele translators’ native speaker intuitions alone were insufficient to produce an accurate and natural translation.
74 pages
Translation theory
translation practice
native speaker intuition
mother-tongue translators
linguistic research
Bible translation
Papua New Guinea
Subject Languages:
Nature of Work:
Relation Text:
Galatia SIL and Charis SIL fonts