by Patricia Mundelius
One of the most memorable meetings I ever attended was the Translators' Conference in Paris last year. Twenty-five masters of language generously shared their experiences-the challenges, difficulties, and triumphs-with translating The URANTIA Book into their respective native languages. It was fascinating to hear about their solutions to different problems-problems of syntax as well as meaning. How does one pour the liquid of language from the bottle labeled "English" into a French carafe or a German stein while keeping the contents as crystal clear as "the original" English translation, given to Urantia?
There were obvious linguistic kindred spirits at the conference: The Italians, French and Spanish seemed to be drawn to one another. The Dutch, Germans and Swedes exhibited a special bond, as did the Finns and Estonians. The Russians and Koreans, however, were the sole representatives from their linguistic families, and they had unique translation problems not shared by the other translators.
Before I arrived at the conference, I anticipated that I'd be in the presence of men and women who were gifted linguists. However, I was not prepared to meet women and men so driven by their love of The URANTIA Book and so motivated to share its supernal teachings with their kinfolk. Their superior language skills paled in comparison to their incredible gifts of love and service to their fellows. One of the translators recently said to me that "a translation is a labor of love made visible."
Another observation I would like to share with you is this: Not only are outstanding translations being made, but superior and unique teachers-the translators-are being trained. I was stunned with the realization that the translation process was an invaluable end in and of itself, in addition to the translations being created! The experience of translating The URANTIA Book creates a new breed of URANTIA Book teacher-student.
The interaction among these men and women translators was something to behold. I won't forget that weekend ever. The Trustees are already making plans for another conference later this year or early next year.
We are on the brink of a translation explosion. The first translations came slowly and one at a time-the French, the Finnish, and the Spanish. But times are changing. Already in 1997, the Russian translation is available and later this year the Dutch will also be published. Next year the Korean and Swedish translations will go to press. Work is in progress on the German, Estonian, Italian, and Arabic translations with Chinese, Portuguese, and Hindi in the wings. The cross-fertilization of ideas and experience at the next Translators' Conference should be spectacular.
The job is not over once a translation is completed. According to the Declaration of Trust Creating URANTIA Foundation, these teachings must be disseminated-worldwide. The next challenge we face is distribution. Problems and solutions vary from country to country. The Foundation recognizes that the best approach is one of decentralization. Offices are therefore being established where there is a need. At this time, there are URANTIA Foundation offices in Australia, England, Finland, France, and Spain. We are in the process of setting up offices in Russia and México. Our offices deal not only with book distribution but also with reader services.
The 21st Century brings the challenge of growth. The Foundation is laying the groundwork to meet this growth explosion. These are exciting times for all of us. This is surely the "time of translation" and the beginning of the worldwide spread of these beloved teachings. Come join us and share the joy of this service.
"It is this ability to communicate and share meanings that constitutes human culture and enables man, through social associations, to build civilizations. Knowledge and wisdom become cumulative because of man's ability to communicate these possessions to succeeding generations." (The URANTIA Book, page 1775, par. 4)
Audio Urantia Book
Board Meeting Decisions
Urantia Foundation History