Bible Translated Into Jamaican Patois

Though it has been a long time coming, the Jamaican people now have a Bible that has been translated into their own creole language, which was first created by West African slaves. The decision to provide translation services for the language has been highly debated for years and is still a touchy subject for some. However, many also herald the new translation as a huge success for the people of Jamaica and for the country.

Jamaican Patois Is Somewhat Controversial

The language of the former British colony is officially English, but a majority of the people still speak the creole language. Some eventually speak traditional English over the English-West African dialect, but it’s not uncommon for people in Jamaica to go their whole lives only speaking the patois. At first, the thought of providing professional translation for the Bible into Jamaican patois shocked and offended many people.

This is because there has been a lot of shame associated with the language because people have related it to social deprivation and illiteracy. However, Hubert Devonish, a linguist and coordinator of the Jamaican language unit at the University of the West Indies says that the Bible translation will hopefully help the state accept that Jamaican creole is a legitimate language that deserves recognition.

Language Translation for the Scriptures

Some people believe that the language might water down scripture or that the translation is sacrilegious.  The opposition isn’t as fierce as it has been in years past, but not everyone has embraced the translation with open arms. Faith Linton, the translator of the patois Bible, translated it from the original Greek text and is a professional translator for the Bible Society of the West Indies.

For the first twelve years of her life, all Linton spoke was the Jamaican patois, and she is convinced that the translation will have a large impact on the Jamaican people. She believes that it will make scripture more relatable and will encourage more people to read the scripture for themselves.

Translation as a Psychological Problem, Not a Linguistic Problem

The Bible has been translated into lesser known languages and into other patois from different groups. The problems that the translators encountered with the Jamaican patois were not linguistic problems, but psychological problems. People didn’t want the translation because many still see the language as poorly spoken English instead of a separate language.

Hawaii also has a creole language translation of the Bible, but the patois there doesn’t have the stigmas that are associated with the Jamaican patois by many people. Hopefully, this new literary hurdle will make people look more favorably on Jamaica’s traditional language and garner more acceptance than rejection.

Source: TriValley

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