Annual Missions Lecture Features Translator

22 November 2013 • On–Campus • Annual Missions Lecture

Photos: J. NieuwsmaPhotos: J. NieuwsmaA mission specialist in Linguistics and Translation for the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC), Dr. Michael Colburn recently visited St. Vladimir's to offer a talk about his work in translating Orthodox Christian liturgical texts into native languages. A former translator with the Wycliffe Bible Translators who served the Ogea people of Papua New Guinea, Dr. Colburn also worked twenty–four years as a software developer and product manager for the United States government. He holds degrees in Biblical Studies, Linguistics, and Computer Science, and has brought his background to bear on the many complexities and challenges of Orthodox liturgical translation.

"Why do we do translations?" asked Dr. Colburn at the start of his talk. "Because language and culture can be barriers to the understanding and acceptance of the Faith; the Lord wants all to come to repentance, and be healed by God." He noted that of the 7100 living languages in the world, 2000 of them have no Scriptural translation. Additionally, the complete liturgical texts used by the Orthodox are eleven times the size of the New Testament text, so the challenge for Orthodox translation work is even greater.

However, Dr. Colburn also explained that due to developing technology, the tools for translators are rapidly improving. He cited a major development in free open source software that will significantly aid in the process of Orthodox Christian translation. "From the translator's hand to the chanter's stand" is our goal, noted Dr. Colburn.

The Missions Lecture at St. Vladimir's coincides with a missions week hosted every fall at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary in Brookline, MA. Holy Cross houses the Missions Institute of Orthodox Christianity, directed by former OCMC missionary The Rev. Luke Veronis. The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, SVOTS chancellor/CEO and adjunct professor of missiology, has been an integral part of the pan–Orthodox Institute since it launched in 2010 with the stated goal of promoting an awareness of missions within Orthodox Christian schools of theology in the U.S. In April of this year, St. Vladimir's hosted the annual Missions Institute board meeting

Look for the missions lecture on Ancient Faith Radio's Voices from St. Vladimir's podcast
Read more about the work of the Missions Institute