The Translation Mission is one of the three key concepts of The Return to the Word Mission. The term, Translation Mission is a newly created phrase. It is a proper noun. The Translation Mission is not simply a mission concerning translation. The Translation Mission is the Mission of the Word. However, the title, the Mission of the Word, in itself does not explain the full implications of the Translation Mission. If we add a further concept to give a closer meaning, we can say that it is ‘persistency’. The Translation Mission makes the continuous and persistent supply of the Word as its core component, and includes a series of courses to train disciples, based on this core component.
In the Korean, the term ‘translation’ (‘bun-yeok’, ‘번역’, 飜譯) is understood as work on written texts, and the term ‘interpretation’ (‘tong-yeok’, ‘통역’, 通譯) is considered as work on orally spoken language. The concept of ‘translation’ (‘bun-yeok’, ‘번역’, 飜譯) in Chinese characters encompasses both writing and speech. In other words, we can say that the original concept of translation includes both written translation and oral interpretation. If we take a closer look, the particle ‘bun’ (‘번’, 飜) refers to communication done between two bodies or parties, and the particle ‘yeok’ (‘역’, 譯) refers to unilateral communication. So the idea of translation within Translation Mission encompasses both written translation and oral interpretation. To summarize, translation, in a broad sense, refers to converting one body of information from one language and expressing it into information in another language.
The very first Translator is Jesus Christ. The Word was with God from before the beginning of time. Man had no access to the Word. Even if man came in contact with the Word, he would have been destroyed at the same time. ‘The Word became flesh and entered the world.’ This allows man to eat and drink the Word. The Incarnation of Jesus Christ is the first Translation. It is a Mission itself. The Translation Mission concerns the Incarnation of Jesus.
The Translation done by Jesus, which is the Incarnation, was not just a technical conversion or transfer of information. Jesus said, “Take My flesh and eat it! Take My blood and drink it!” The Translation that He did was the sacrifice to give Himself. It was a painful task that could not be done without Him tearing His flesh and shedding His blood. His Translation has subsequently saved countless souls. His Translation was a compassionate Translation in that it not only fully considered the situation of those who would receive this translated Word, but it was the Perfect Embodiment of the meaning of the Original Text. He overshadowed the old dilemma, “Will you translate it word-for-word from the original text, or translate it so that it can be easy to read and listen to?”.
Translation is the mission, and the mission is translation. The translation and the mission are one. If the translation and mission are separated, the translation loses its purpose, and the mission becomes empty. The translation that forgets its mission is the excess of knowledge, and the mission that forgets true translation is nothing but self-satisfaction. Without love for the Word, the Translation Mission cannot begin, and without willing sacrifice for the sake of souls, the Translation Mission cannot be accomplished.
The Son of God came out of His Father’s bosom. The Holy Spirit, whom He sent after He went to heaven, still comes out from the Father. Through the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus sent, we are still receiving the Word that comes out from the Father. The Translation Mission does not end with a one-time supplement of the Word. The Word should be continually supplied to those who have discovered the value of ‘The Picture of God’s Will’. To this end, translation should lead to ongoing life, and not remain a single event. It is hard to make disciples from a single sermon or a single book. A constant supply of the Word is required to make disciples.
Jesus gave the warning of what was going to happen in the Last Days. He said, “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?” (Matthew 24:45). Look at these phrases: ‘Faithful and wise servant’ and ‘At the proper time.’ We were all raised and fed by the love of our mother, not by a distant uncle who ate out with us occasionally. The Translation Mission is a mother’s duty to prepare meals for her children. It is troublesome, it is hard, and it can be frustrating. And sometimes it can urge a mother to quit. But the mother cannot do so. The children grow up healthy and strong because of the mother’s sacrifice. The heart of the Incarnation of Christ, the heart of the mother – this is the mind of the Translation Missionary.
Pastor Ki-Taek Lee
The Director of Sungrak Mission Center