Lost In Translation

Sign on toilet door in Chengdu airport, China
Photo by Anne Roberts on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA-2.0

There’s a real art to translation: zeroing in on just the right words to convey the nuance of what the original author intended.

Done well, a translated work can be a masterpiece in its own right.

Oftentimes, though, a translation can turn out to be a farce, as in the following examples:

A menu item in Chinese for a roasted gluten dish was translated into English as “Sixi Roasted Husband.” (The perfect dish for wives who’ve finally had enough of their mates?)

A hot and spicy chicken dish on another Chinese menu became “Chicken Rude and Unreasonable” in English. (No wonder the chicken met his end—he had it coming!)

Or this Google Translate zinger: “It’s been the goat in the budget, because His raining badly, so quite short, he is on the bucket month out.” (Not sure what this meant in the original Danish, but I hope the goat was able to figure it out.)

Then there’s the sign for a hair salon in China whose English name is “Could Not Connect To Translator Service.” (A bit of a give-away that they didn’t bother hiring a real live translator?)

Sometimes, we have a different understanding or “translation” of what God actually meant in certain Bible verses.

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Let Off Some Steam

Latticework Pie Crust. Photo from Pxhere, Public Domain

In baking, as in life, it’s important to let off some steam every so often.

When you’re baking a pie, the recipe will usually instruct you to make some slashes or holes in the top crust before putting the pie in the oven. This isn’t just to make a pretty design, although some people do get very creative and make decorative cut-outs of hearts or dots, or even create a latticework effect in the crust.

The real purpose of these openings is to let the steam escape. If there’s no outlet for the steam building up under the crust, the filling will burst through and spill out. Your pie will end up looking like an unsightly mess.

Sometimes we need to let off a bit of steam, too. We get frustrated or angry at the circumstances in our lives, and need to “vent” our feelings.

David certainly did his share of venting in the Psalms. He let loose with some very raw emotions, crying out to God to intervene in his situation.

Surprisingly, God seemed okay with David’s outbursts. In fact, David was the only person in Scripture whom God called “a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22).

I believe David’s example can give us a key to how to vent appropriately without letting our emotions explode all over, making a mess of our lives and leaving us bitter.

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