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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Good Article

Hey Everyone... Its been a crazy couple of weeks for me. God has blessed me with a great job, but, he has blessed me with nearly 60 hours of work a week to go along with it.

Pray that I don't get burned out... its rough hours working that much overnight, 10:30pm - 7, 7:30am everynight... I've had one day off in the last 16... and not another until Friday... But, praise God, the paychecks will be my cup running over.

I read this article in the Moscow Times this weekend. Just wanted to pass it along. I've read a couple of these 'translation' articles, and always love them. I would post a link for you, but the Moscow Times archives all articles like a day after they are avail, so it wouldn't matter much.

Update: Still waiting for all my refences to get the forms back to International Teams so that we can move forward in the application process, everything still looks good. I am praying about possibly going this Winter, I have an e-mail out to Stacie requesting some info on the team for the Winter Camp (if you are a Moscovite and see her... tell her to get back to me!! :p), and if that doesn't work out there are a few other options open at this point.

The Moscow Times // Friday, September 24, 2004. Page 7.

King James Misplaced in Translation
By Michele A. Berdy

God bless you!: с Богом; Боже вас сохрани; Будь здоров (after a sneeze).

All rules have exceptions, and the exception to the "Russians are great quoters and Americans are not" rule is Biblicisms. This is the one area where English-speakers excel: all those years of Sunday school may not have made us morally pure, but they did imprint on our brains Biblical quotes, references and paraphrases for every occasion.

Folks who study this, like T. Klyukina and V. Lanchikov, D. Yermolovich and M. Zagot (whose books and articles are a treasure trove of Biblical lore, translations and analysis) point out that the Old Church Slavonic of the Russian Orthodox liturgy made it harder for Russians to understand and claim Biblical phrases the way English-speakers could with the King James version. "Thou shall not commit adultery" is quite clear to an English-speaker; the Russian version -- Не прелюбодействуй -- might send a Russian to the dictionary to figure out what he shouldn't be doing.

And then came the Soviet period, when the Bible was virtually banned from public and literary life and when, Russian translators tell me, they resorted to lifting the Gideon Bibles from hotel rooms on business trips abroad so they could at least know what their colleagues were referring to. Another of the Ten Commandments (десять заповедей) -- «Не укради» (Thou shalt not steal) -- is pretty clear on this point, but hey, it was for a good cause.

As a result, even if you know how to say your favorite Biblical saying in Russian, Russians might not get the reference. Of course, many quotes do exist as recognizable sayings in both languages: not by bread alone (не хлебом единым); daily bread (хлеб насущный); forbidden fruit (запретный плод); manna from heaven (манна небесная); to cast pearls before swine (метать бисер перед свиньями); many are called, but few are chosen (много званых, да мало избранных). You can flip on the light switch with a flip Да будет свет! (Let there be light!), and your Russian friends will appreciate your erudition. If you want to reprimand a friend for speaking harshly about someone, you can say, Не судите, да не судимы будете (Judge not, that you be not judged), but Russians might more readily resort to Griboyedov's А судьи кто?! (Who are you to judge?!) And "the writing on the wall" (письмена на стене), while recognizable, has never caught on with Russians the way it has with English-speakers.

Neither has Job taken hold of the Russian metaphorical mind. You can speak of the patience of Job (терпение Иова) or long-suffering Job (многострадальный Иов), but it will not resonate as strongly as it does in English. This is utterly baffling to me, since if there was one country on Earth that is the personification of Job, it must be Russia. But God moves in mysterious ways (пути Господни неисповедимы).

You can try to use "let my people go" (отпусти народ мой), but your friends may think it's a reference to a song rather than Moses' plea to the pharaoh.

"I am holier than thou" (я свят для тебя) is more likely to be expressed in Russian by the adjectives самодовольный (self-satisfied) or высокомерный (haughty).

I've given up on the Good Samaritan (добрый самаритянин), first because it's too easy for us foreigners to confuse it with добрый самарец (a good man from Samara), and then because Russians don't use it much.

"God bless you" is also a tricky phrase. Of course, if you want to say it after someone sneezes, say instead, Будь здоров! (Literally, "be healthy.") The standard translation, Боже вас сохрани is rather high-toned -- more like "May God bless you and keep you" -- and in Russian you would usually add what you want God to keep you from.

If you're the sort of person who says goodbye with a cheery, "Have a nice day and God bless you!" try Счастливо! С Богом! ("Go with God," "May God be with you.")

Michele A. Berdy is a Moscow-based translator and interpreter.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Turmoil and Uncertainty

Unless you live in a cave... in which case you probably wouldn't be on a computer at all... let alone to visit my little corner of the net... you have heard about the attacks in Russia this past few weeks.

BBC Comprehensive Article

That article breaks down all the events that occurred in the Belsan school siege pretty well. Also gives insight into the aftermath unfolding this week.

This is an e-mail I received early in the morning (around 2am my time) which would have come around 1pm Moscow Time. It is from Stacie Shopp, who is a missionary in Moscow. She coordinated our trip this past summer. Stacie has been a missionary in Russia for 10 years.

Dear Praying Warriors,

Thank you so much for lifting up the families and the children and the
situation in Beslan. Many of you have written and spoken of your prayers,
and we make sure that those we know in Beslan know of your support.

I am sure that most of you have heard that the siege ended on Friday night.
The reports have been rather confusing here as well, but what I have
gathered from Russian news is that a bomb on the inside of the sports hall,
where all the hostages were being held, went off 'accidentally'. With that
initial bomb the Russian special forces decided to go into the building
before something else took place, thinking that perhaps the terrorists had
decided to start killing everyone. Due to the kind of 'tribal' attitude
there in Beslan almost all the local men had guns and were out around the
school building also ready to attack. This both hindered and helped I guess
in the siege. Many children were able to get out after the initial bombing,
but as they fled the terrorists shot them from behind. Thus many children
were suffering from bullet wounds to the spine.

All told there are now around 550 dead or missing. It seems there were
around 1,000 in the school building at the time of the take-over. Many of
the children who were admitted to hospitals are in shock and can not speak
at all. Many have been flown to Moscow for more serious operations, but I
understand that the doctors everywhere are working around the clock to help
the children both here and in the south.

Both of the pastors there in Beslan that are connected to our work here have
lost at least one child, and several others are missing. Each family though
has one child that has returned to them, but they are in extreme shock and
have not spoken at all since the incident. The funerals for the children is
being held off until they can find out something about the missing children.
Since many children caught in the roof collapse are unrecognizable it is
possible that the pastor's children are among them. However, many of the
children in the hospitals are unable yet to speak and thus perhaps their
children are among those in trauma.

It is my understanding that there were 10 Arab men among the terrorists, and
one from Africa. The nationality of the rest are assumed to be Russian.
Many here are saying that these men were all from terrorist training camps
located in the hills of the republic of Chechnya, which has been receiving
aid from other 'sympathetic' countries. In addition, it seems that most of
the weapons the terrorists used were already hidden within the school
building which had undergone reconstruction this summer. It is believed
that this was planned for at least 6 months, and perhaps was a training op
for terrorists. What will be done to stop such further events is unknown
right now, but President Putin has been talking about stricter border
control between the republics.

Several of our Moscow ministry leaders plan to go down to Beslan tonight to
support and encourage the church and the believers there. We hope to put
together a donation from our church to help cover medical costs, funeral
expenses and whatever else they might need. A few people have asked me
about helping, so if the Lord puts that on your heart please contact me via
e-mail at stas@asr.ru.

Above all we hold to the fact that even this was not unknown by God, and He
is holding these grieving families in His hands. We will pass on your
prayers to them, and give them His promises for such times as these.

Thank you dear friends for not being indifferent to what is going on in the
world around us, and for reaching out in prayer to those of 'our' family.

Shalom in Him - Stacie

Before the school siege... a suicide bomber in Moscow blew herself up outside of a Metro (subway) station, about 10 people died, and 30 were wounded as the bomb was filled with shrapnel.

A few days before that 2 planes were downed almost simultaneously, but were more then 500km apart. They both took off from DME in Moscow... the airport I landed at. About 90 people died, there were no survivors from the planes.

That event was branded Russia's 9/11 by one Russian newspaper.

Beslan school seizure was planned by Maskhadov, Basayev - detained militant

MOSCOW. Sept 6 (Interfax) - A detained participant in the hostage taking in the North Ossetian town of Beslan said that the task to seize a school had been set by separatist leaders Aslan Maskhadov and Shamil Basayev.

"A man nicknamed Colonel gathered us in the forest, and they said: you must seize a school in Beslan. They said that this task had been set by Maskhadov and Basayev," the detained man said in his testimony broadcast by the Rossiya television station's Vesti news program on Monday evening.

"When we asked Colonel why we had to do this and what the objective was, he, Colonel, said: 'because is it necessary to unleash a war across the entire Caucasus,'" he said.

This article was taken from one of the Russian news wires. Interfax // In English

September 6 and 7 have been declared national days of mourning in Russia.

Now is the time to pray more then ever for the Russian people. Pray also for our brother and sisters there, and they serve in this time of turmoil and uncertainty.