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Translating articles and books for CMI

When translating an article or a book from English into another language it is of the utmost importance that you first understand the meaning of each English sentence. Then translate the meaning of that sentence into your own language, not just the English words. Do not just translate the words and hope for the best! English writers sometimes use figures of speech which will be meaningless to your readers if you just translate the words instead of the meaning. If you don’t understand the meaning of the English, you must work on it until you do, by using a dictionary or by asking an English-speaking friend to help work out the meaning. If you have translated words and they don’t make sense to you in your language, you must work on the translation until it does make sense, as well as give the proper meaning of the English.

For this reason translation should always be done by someone whose mother tongue (that is the language he/she grew up with) is the “new” language. A translation should then always be checked by someone who knows this language, but whose mother tongue is English. This is to ensure that the English has been properly understood.

Note that many English words can have more than one meaning. You need to work out which is the correct meaning! For example:

“note” can mean “write it down” or “notice”. In the above sentence the meaning is “notice”.

“argue” can mean “argue for” which means the writer agrees with the subject he is discussing, or “argue against” which means that the writer disagrees with the subject. You need to work out which and use appropriate words to show which meaning is meant!

“since” can mean a time, especially if it is “ever since”. However, it can also mean “because”.

Beware of “double negatives”

A writer may describe a scientific experiment or perhaps the pictures of a planet sent back to Earth by a space probe by saying:

“The results were as expected.” (This is a positive statement which is quite clear.)

“The results were not as expected.” (This is a negative statement, which is also quite clear.)

“The results were unexpected.” (This is a similar negative statement, which is quite clear.)

“The results were not unexpected.” (This has two negatives, ‘not’ and the prefix ‘un’, which in a sense cancel each other out, so this double negative really means “The results were expected” and probably it would be easiest for your readers to understand if you translated it this way. Rather than using the double negative.

Other examples that you might need to translate are:

“not unknown” means that something “is known”.

“not impossible” means that something “is possible”.

Bible verses

For Bible verses used in the English book or article, look up these verses in the Bible in your own language if it is available, rather than translating the English verses. Otherwise your translation of the words in the English Bible may be slightly different from the words in your own language Bible, which will confuse yourt readers. If any Bible verses are not available in your language, you will have to translate what the English writer provides, of course, but only if the Bible portion is not already available in your own language.

Another problem is that sometimes an English writer will discuss Hebrew words which are used (carried over) in the English Bible but are not in your language Bible (an example is “nephilim” in Genesis 6:4 and Numbers 13:33). In such cases you can translate what the English writer says the words mean in Hebrew.

Always check the Bible references given in the English with those in your own language for accuracy. For example, some Psalms have a description at the beginning saying who the Psalm is addressed to, and in some languages this is called verse 1, so that these Psalms have one more verse than they do in English and so the numbering is different.

Key words

Certain words occur over and over again in creationist books. Some will be from the Bible; some will be from science. Discuss the Bible words with your pastor, and the scientific words with a science teacher. Also discuss if you should use capital letters for any of them. Make a list, and use the same words throughout the book. If different chapters of a book are translated by different people, it is important that all translators have and use the same key word list. Here are some of the words.


God the Creator

creationist (meaning someone who believes in creation)

the days of creation, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, etc.


kind (and) after their kind

the Fall (or) the fall into sin (referring to Genesis chapter 3)

the Curse (referring to God’s judgment in Genesis chapter 3)

the Flood

the Ark (or) Noah’s Ark

the theory of evolution

evolutionist (meaning someone who believes in this theory)

theistic evolution (the idea that God used evolution)

theistic evolutionist (meaning someone who believes in this theory)


atheist (meaning someone who is an atheist)

atheistic (adjective, as in atheistic teaching)