From Translation to Effective Communication

From Translation to Effective Communication
Author: Ernst-August Gutt (1988)

Considering now that in Bible translation we are taking the same texts that were written for audiences two thousand or more years ago in a particular corner of the world and presenting them to audiences today, ranging from industrial societies to forest hunters in a jungle somewhere without content adaptation, it should not come as a surprise at all that we encounter not only marginal but serious communication problems.

A significant factor affecting the spiritual impact of Scripture is its relevance. In communication theory, the success of a communication depends on its relevance to the hearer. One way to increase relevance is to adapt a text to the audience, but in Bible translation, this option is normally very restricted. The relevance barrier must be bridged therefore by adjusting the text to fit the audiences’ context—by presenting biblical truths in a way that relates to their situation and using an appropriate means of presentation. Or by adjusting the context to fit the text through teaching biblical background information.

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