Here is something to cheer you up and -- I don't know -- maybe marvel at how big the world is and how different its people are. I recently heard someone say it's a curse that people all seem to be alike (we all eat, drink, sleep, go to the bathroom, and have noses) but we turn out to be so very different. This is true for people around us, within our own culture, but, oh, so much more for people from a culture different than the one we're primarily familiar with. 

What I'm going to share with you may be a good example of that. Most of you know that I've been working for a few years now on this crazy project called Translation Insights & Perspectives (TIPs), for which I collect specific examples from translations of the Christian Bible where something is gained in translation in a way that might be insightful for people who don't speak the language of the translation. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you might want to look at Source, the ATA Literary Division publication that just published an article about TIPs.

In the last year or so, I have been focusing more on non-textual examples of translation, including sign language, oral stories, song, and dance. This represents a shift happening within the world of Bible translation as well, where it's now widely recognized that there are different forms of language transmission, with textual being just one and not necessarily the most fitting for a particular situation or people.

In this video you can see the Old Testament book of Jonah translated into Southern Altai throat singing. Southern Altai is a Turkic language in Southern Siberia, spoken by about 55,000 people. Traditional throat singing has recently experienced a new surge in popularity in that part of the world and is widely embraced as the best way to tell stories. Amazingly, every word of the song in the video can be understood clearly by listeners who speak Southern Altai. If you spend a couple of minutes with the video, you'll see that there is a rather lengthy traditional introduction (which includes "let my great guttural singing be heard forever" -- a line that cracks me up every time I listen to it) and then drone footage of the area the language is spoken in as well as an artistic rendering of the story by a local artist. I really, really love this video -- not only because of the traditional great guttural singing boast, but because it's such a powerful translation that is recognizable even to us English speakers in its back-translated subtitles. (Plus, to the slight frustration of my wife, I have started to like and play the music.)

So much for the decidedly non-technical introduction to this edition of the Tool Box Journal . . ..