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2,700,000 Spanish-speaking Witnesses


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In the service meeting this week we were shown a video about the complete remodelling the Spanish branch will undergo in the next four years. Since the branch's main activity has shifted from printing to translation, the main building which is now almost empty will be demoslished and replaced with a smaller office building.

 

The whole translation team moved from Puerto Rico to Spain a couple years ago. In the video it was mentioned that the publications translated by this team serve the needs of 2,700,000 Spanish-speaking Witnesses around the globe. I was impressed by that figure. Almost three millions out of eight is a huge percentage of the total publishers. There are also smaller teams that translate publications into several other languages spoken in Spain: Catalan, Basque and Galician, as well as Spanish Sign Language.

 

When I was a kid the translations into Spanish were awful. Our books from the sixties and seventies I hardly can stand to read. The brothers back then appreciated the spiritual food they received, but the text sounded very foreign. Translation quality has gradually improved, and at present is of top quality. Composing a translation in a style that sounds natural to millions of speakers from many different countries and environments is a tremendous challenge, but somehow this wonderful translation team manages to do that every month. Thanks to Jehovah that not only gives us what we need, but also with the best quality.

 

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Makes you wonder if there aren't even more 'Spanish speakers' than that, as there are so many to whom, like English it is a 2nd language.

 

My friends were familiar with Spanish as spoken in Spain when they went to Gilead in the 1990's. They were assigned to the Honduras (in fact I have a photo of them on the same street that was depicted on the front of our recent 'Jesus' illustrations' Study Watchtower - Copan), but they could hardly understand the Spanish spoken there. It was the Spanish brought over by the Conquistadors in the 16th Century - a bit like English people trying to fully understand Shakespeare's English of the same time. Also, these Hondurans spoke their version of Spanish with many dialect words from ancient Mayan - before the Conquistador Spanish came to them. It was a big learning curve for my friends. They are now in Yucatan Mexico - different Mayan/Spanish again, but less unrecognisable now! 

 

We have an interested person who occasionally attends our meetings here in UK. She married an English man, but she is a Cuban - she speaks another Conquistador type of Spanish. Languages - fascinating as well as frustrating when we are trying to communicate across it's divides! 

 

1970's - When our family moved to the town in UK where we are now, we were welcomed by a very kind JW Spanish family living in a nearby village. 2 years on from then, they decided to move back to Spain because the father was offered a 'wine-round' (delivering wine to homes and catering businesses). He said that he would also go there to help translate the 'Aid Book' as they did not have it over there then. Don't know if he did do any translating, but it didn't turn out well for them a few years later. We found he had left the family and been dis-fellowshipped, so had one daughter and his wife was back in England with the other of his 2 daughters. I shall not divulge their surname, but local folk in the UK could not pronounce it, so tended to call them - not offensively, just what they could manage - Mr & Mrs Domestos ( Domestos = a well known brand of household bleach/cleaner). 


Edited by retroHelen
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Aw trust me i get what you say! Just to add a bit up on what you say on how translation has improved, compare the "Draw close to Jehovah" book with the latest books we've been receiving at conventions! I went to the spanish meeting a fee weeks ago and i could not get anything of the wording used in that book, just translated 10 years or so ago! Like it is to cult.... Too, mmmm idk... Doesnt feel as smooth as the newer publications, so that shows you how Jehovah likes simple teachings, which touches our heart more! Thats why i was overjoyed to get the creole bible and eventually the spanish bible.

On the september watchtower, probverbs 3:5,6 reads in creole (literal translation) "trust in Jehovah with all your heart, beware of leaning on your own intelligence. Remember Him in everything you will do, and he will make everything succeed in your life".... That verse touches me. I guess now i know what it means when it says "and he willl make your paths straight".

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Well, it seems it's time for the GB to learn Spanish .... I heard Warwick is somewhere in Spain   :D   :lol:

 

 

On the september watchtower, probverbs 3:5,6 reads in creole (literal translation) "trust in Jehovah with all your heart, beware of leaning on your own intelligence. Remember Him in everything you will do, and he will make everything succeed in your life".... That verse touches me. I guess now i know what it means when it says "and he willl make your paths straight".

Great example, brother Juan! I'll try to learn that verses in this version - much more powerful    :wink:  (I just like this smiley)


Edited by Adelin
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My friends were familiar with Spanish as spoken in Spain when they went to Gilead in the 1990's. They were assigned to the Honduras (in fact I have a photo of them on the same street that was depicted on the front of our recent 'Jesus' illustrations' Study Watchtower - Copan), but they could hardly understand the Spanish spoken there. It was the Spanish brought over by the Conquistadors in the 16th Century - a bit like English people trying to fully understand Shakespeare's English of the same time. Also, these Hondurans spoke their version of Spanish with many dialect words from ancient Mayan - before the Conquistador Spanish came to them. It was a big learning curve for my friends. They are now in Yucatan Mexico - different Mayan/Spanish again, but less unrecognisable now! 

 

Despite the differences, Spaniards and Latin Americans can understand each other almost perfectly if both parties make an effort to speak clearly. A bit like the difference between British and American or Australian speech: Extreme accents may be unintelligible, but if both speakers make an effort they can find a happy medium.

 

Now it has happened to me to listen to a conversation between two brothers from El Salvador and not understand a word from what they were saying (very similar to your friends in Honduras). But that is because they were using non-standard forms, slang terms or probably many Mayan loanwords.

 

Some time ago I met a Turkish couple from Jewish ascent who came to Spain for a convention, and they did speak Medieval Spanish. They descend from the Jews that were expelled from Spain by the Catholic kings in 1492, and they have continued speaking the language with little variations during all these five hundred years.


Edited by cvillarrubia
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Makes you wonder if there aren't even more 'Spanish speakers' than that, as there are so many to whom, like English it is a 2nd language.

 

 

In fact, a few years ago, while visiting us as (former) zone overseer, brother Loesch said that the Spanish became the 1st language. But because the headquarters and the GB are in the US... And because it would take a while till all of them would speak Spanish...   :D

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Some time ago I met a Turkish couple from Jewish ascent who came to Spain for a convention, and they did speak Medieval Spanish. They descend from the Jews that were expelled from Spain by the Catholic kings in 1492, and they have continued speaking the language with little variations during all these five hundred years.

did you understand each other ?  - a language is evolving pretty much in 500 years


Edited by Adelin
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[i'm moving this to Chit Chat since it doesn't have much to do with Christian Life anymore.]

 

did you understand each other ?  - a language is evolving pretty much in 500 years

 

Surprisingly yes, we could understand each other quite well. Five hundred years is a long time, but I suppose written languages are more resistant to change.

 

You can try that yourself, this excerpt is from the oldest known written document in Romanian, the Letter of Neacsu of Campulung from 1521, more or less five centuries ago. How much do you understand? You will be surprised. :wink:

 

I pak să știi domniia-ta că au venit un om de la Nicopoe de mie mi-au spus că au văzut cu ochii lui că au trecut ceale corăbii ce știi și domniia-ta pre Dunăre în sus.

I pak să știi că bagă den toate orașele câte 50 de oamini să fie în ajutor în corăbii.

 

Something comparable for English speakers would be Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. Would you understand someone speaking like this? I think you would:

 

“For I have promised to do the battle to the uttermost, by faith of my body, while me lasteth the life, and therefore I had liefer to die with honour than to live with shame ; and if it were possible for me to die an hundred times, I had liefer to die oft than yield me to thee; for though I lack weapon, I shall lack no worship, and if thou slay me weaponless that shall be thy shame.”
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