Sunday, 23 May 2010

Pentecost as translation Sunday

In bed with my early morning cup of tea I listened to a brilliant "something Understood" all about Pentecost as the celebration and festival of translation. You can listen to it again here, it includes an excellent interview with biblical translator father Nicholas King - who says how he sweated blood translating parts of Romans - and concentrates on one verse from Romans 5 in reply to what is the most difficult or impossible part of the Bible to translate.
There's a great reading from an essay by A.S Byatt praising the translators of her work as her most attentive readers. The programme also includes an interview with soemone who has moved to Britain and suggests that her "I" who speaks English is a subtley different "I" from the one who speaks her mother tongue. This is a bit what I feel like with French - and I know how this goes backwards and forwards too - French abstract thinking "infects" the way I preach and think in English.
I think my favourite part of the programme was Jamaican poet Kei Miller's brilliant reading of his poem Speaking in Tongues which you can also hear on the poetry archive. I loved the line "What is language but a sound we christen" and the ending which goes "Each poem is waiting on its own day of Pentecost .... hoping this finally is the language of God and that he might hear it and respond"