Speaking in many different tongues: Bon jour, Bom dia, Gutten morgen

“You should interpret what you hear ‘as is,’ and don’t allow your own opinion to influence what has been said” recommended Donald Reasoner, director of the translation services at Global Ministries, the mission office of The United Methodist Church.

Reasoner, a former missionary and an experienced translator who lived in Brazil for many years, was speaking to more than 140 translators who joined General Conference 2012, the denomination’s top lawmaking body, for its gathering in Tampa, Fla.

There are seven official languages for this year’s conference. About 140 experienced translators will interpret for the 450 delegates from the central conferences. Most translators speak not two, but three or more languages. They will translate the briefing sessions, legislative committees and deliberations on the floor.

God bless you! Pagpalain ka ng Panginoon, Deus te abençoe, Mungu Akubariki, Que Dieu vous benisse!

United Methodist delegates will hear a multitude of tongues as they work, dialogue, deliberate and witness with international delegates. The total of delegates from central conferences and Concordat churches in Latin America is 372. There are about 40 non-voting delegates from Latin American churches. It is estimated there are at least 50 visitors from outside the United States.

Delegates from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Philippines, Latin America and the Caribbean will bring color, flavor and the sounds of more than 10 languages. Throughout Tampa’s Convention Center, Tagalog, Swahili, French, Portuguese, German, Russian, Korean, Spanish, Burmese and English will be spoken as well as some local dialects. Sign language will be in evidence as well.

“More than 430 people depend on our participation,” Linda Tanquist-Boulus, a former missionary to the Democratic Republic of Congo, told the group.

“Those people are tired, they have traveled for several days — even for a week — in order to get here and be with us. They are tired, they left the familiar to the unfamiliar and when they get here they are overwhelmed with their inability to communicate.”

“We are here to help them, to interpret and facilitate. We are here to make a little easier for them,” she said. “We have an expression in English —‘We can’t see the forest for the trees.’ This means focus on the big picture.”

Merci, gracias, danke! Kam sam ham me da!


Like what you're reading? Support the ministry of UM News! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community. Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

UMNEWS-SUBSCRIPTION
Local Church
The Rev. Lovett H. Weems Jr. Photo courtesy of Wesley Theological Seminary.

Young elder numbers hit record low

Annual clergy age study by Lewis Center confirms downward trend for United Methodist elders under 35.
Church Growth
The Rev. Taurai Emmanuel Maforo. Photo by Mutsa Roy Maforo.

Virtual church is the new ministry paradigm

The shift from physical gatherings to a “church without walls” was deemed unthinkable just a few years ago, but COVID-19 lockdowns fast-tracked the practice of online ministry.
General Church
The Rev. Adam Hamilton, senior pastor United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, speaks about the pandemic and the proposed denominational split during an interview at United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tenn. The church will host 2021 Leadership Institute on Sept. 29-Oct. 1 with a focus on helping pastors and laity address divisions in their communities. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

Adam Hamilton: Leading in polarized times

Ahead of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection’s 2021 Leadership Institute, UM News spoke to the Rev. Adam Hamilton about the pandemic and proposed denominational split.