Margaret autoBio • 2018




2017 ___ __ ~ Chapel Talk, Catalina, AZ


      My husband John Daly and I took our first SIL course at Oklahoma University in Norman in 1955 and went to Jungle Camp the winter of 1956 with our two small daughters. We returned to OU for a second summer and then joined SIL and WBT and were assigned to work with the Peñoles Mixtecs in Mexico. The NT was published and dedicated in 1978 by which time we had five children.

      John's parents' ill health required us to return to the US in 1980. John had finished a PhD in Linguistics at Indiana University in 1963 and our fieldwork was completed. John had given many years of service to the organization as a member of the Executive Committee several times, as a teaching assistant and as Director of the program at the University of North Dakota for 19 summers, as Associate Director of the Branch for 4 years, Branch Director for 6 and a half years and Vice President of SIL International during that time, plus the fact that his own health was declining due to multiple sclerosis, so we decided to retire in 1981.

      John passed away in 2009 and for several years I was not involved with translation in any capacity. But things changed the summer of 2014. Remember that I said we took our first linguistic courses in 1955? Well, I didn't tell you that two of the first four people we met were Joe and Barbara Grimes, teaching assistants that summer, and members of Mexico Branch assigned to work with the Huichol people.

      The Huichol NT was published in 1967 after Joe completed a PhD program at Cornell University in 1960. He became an associate professor there in 1969 and a full professor in 1976. The Grimes began the Hawaii Pidgin project in 1987. The Hawaii Pidgin NT, Da Jesus Book, was first published in 2000.

      Barbara passed away in the spring of 2014 and Joe was deeply feeling her loss. She had been an important member of the Hawaii Pidgin team, having worked on both the NT and the OT translations in that language. He wrote the Mexico Branch Director to ask if someone could help him with editing jobs and a couple of months later he asked me to join the editing team. He had always intimidated me somewhat due to his intelligence, so I was reluctant to say I would do it. Like Moses who told God that he was not eloquent and he was slow of speech, I protested to Joe that I didn't know any Hawaii Pidgin, but he said there were a lot of things I could do without knowing any of the language and that by listening to him and his co-translators work, I would learn.

      And so it began. I listened and watched the computer screen of translated OT portions as Joe and Earl or Joe and Dot worked on revision. Joe also gave me assignments which I could do by using the computer programs developed by SIL and JAARS technical experts.

      One of my biggest assignments was to search the entire Bible in Hawaii Pidgin for the phrase "bad kine stuff" to determine the correct meaning of that phrase. I found that a number of the more than 1500 phrases I studied were ambiguous. I had seen that the meaning is 'sin' if the phrase says "do bad kine stuff" and it means "disaster" if the phrase says "bad kine stuff happen." Joe had asked me to study the context of all ambiguous phrases to determine which was the correct meaning and to write a report to inform him so that he and his co-translators could disambiguate so as make the phrases clear.

      Another time Joe asked me to check such things as book titles to be sure the type styles were the same and that no chapters or verses of any book were missing. While looking at book titles I discovered that there was a lack of symmetry in the naming of books with numbers in their titles. I also found that the ones that tell about a person's life (for example Ruth and Esther) in contrast to the books written by someone (the four gospels) or to the congregations in some town (the Pauline epistles) were also not synchronized. Joe and Earl, who is executive pastor of a large church on Oahu, discussed how the titles could be brought into line and made the changes quickly to the manuscript.

      And then there are the things I noted as I was looking for something else. Trying to follow the discourse in one of the OT books I found that sub- subsections had been written in the same type style as subsections. There are only three places in the Bible that the format marker \s3 for sub-subsection is used in contrast to the format marker \s2 for subsection and that the typesetter had missed changing subtitle type styles which meant that the two different kinds of sections were titled in the same type style and so were confusing.

      As I was going through Exodus (which is named Outa Egypt in Hawaii Pidgin) I saw something that had to be changed. The picture printed in chapter 32 didn't fit the text of that chapter but it did fit the text of chapter 14! The picture showed the Israelites crossing the Red Sea with the Egyptian army in hot pursuit, but the text was about Moses about to fling down the stone tablets of the 10 commandments! Joe checked to see how the wrong picture could have been chosen to place in chapter 32 and discovered that a single digit had been incorrectly typed, thus misidentifying which picture to use.

      Fortunately, changes can be made quickly by computer. One huge change that needed to be made several months ago was the word "Boss" which had been used to as the title for God. Plantation bosses often did not display the characteristics of the God of Heaven and in some cases were very cruel, so a discussion had been going on for several years, searching for a better term for God. One morning as Joe and Earl were working and I was listening, Earl said, "The boss is known in Pidgin as the man in charge, so how would it be if we were to identify God as 'Da One In Charge' ?" Joe did a computer search of how 'Boss' might be replaced by 'Da One In Charge' in a number of different places and they determined that the change was a good one in every case. (“Boss” carries negative overtones for Pidgin speakers; “In Charge” is positive.) Joe asked Earl once more if he should make the change and Earl said "Okay" and a few seconds later over 8,700 instances of 'Boss' had been changed to "Da One In Charge." Everyone who has seen this change is happy with it.

      In April of last year the revision phase was completed and the files were sent to the typesetter. Since then all of us on the team then turned our attention to carefully reading galley proofs to be sure that all corrections have been made correctly and to see if anything still needs clarification. Recently while reading the story of Jonah I found that a picture shows Jonah being vomited onto the beach, but the caption said he had been swallowed by a big fish. The caption now says that Jonah was swallowed and a few days later he was vomited onto the beach, and it gives the references to both verses.

      Being involved in the editing of the Hawaii Pidgin Bible has been a blessing to me and I'd like to share with you a verse from Zephaniah that my pastor preached from this past Sunday. He used the English Standard Version of Zeph 3:17 which the handout compares with the same verse from Da Good An Spesho Book, the OT in Hawaii Pidgin.

The LORD your God is in your midst,       Yoa God, Da One In Charge,
                                               stay right dea wit you guys!
a mighty one who will save;               He get plenny powa fo make you guys da winnas!
he will rejoice over you with gladness;   He goin dance an sing bout you guys. 
he will quiet you by his love;            He goin make you guys come so notting bodda you,
he will exult over you with loud singing. Cuz he get love an aloha fo you guys. 
                                          He goin yell, cuz he stay real good inside 
                                               bout you guys!

Zeph 3:17  English Standard Version       Zef 3:17   Hawaii Pidgin

      Pastor Eric drew our attention to the various kinds of emotions that God displays, (love, anger, grief and so on) with Scripture references for each one, and reminded us that our emotions reflect His emotions. But what I want to bring out this morning is how the Hawaii Pidgin translation expresses some emotions. Look at the English Standard Version and then how that emotion is stated in the Hawaii Pidgin translation:

   a mighty one                 He get plenny powa
   who will save;               fo make you guys da winnas!			
   he will rejoice              He goin dance an sing 
   he will quiet you            He goin make you guys come so notting bodda you,
   by his love;                 He get love an aloha fo you guys. 
   with loud singing.           He goin yell,
   he will exult over you       cuz he stay real good inside bout you guys!

      I am not the only non-Pidgin speaker benefitting from the Hawaii Pidgin translation. A few days ago Joe received an email from a former student who is now a translation consultant. The message says:

      Remember me from Oklahoma 1981, '84 and '87 ? (Maithili translation in South Asia.) I just want you to know how often we pop into Hawaii Pidgin to see how things were done as we check some translations here in South Asia. The Lord bless you and the team! Will be reminded to pray as I look at your translation often! We begin consultant checking of Revelation in a language related to Maithili on Monday.

      Of the almost 93,000 copies of Da Jesus Book which have been sold -- in bookstores and even at CostCo in Hawaii! -- many have been purchased by tourists who find they can understand much of the translation and can figure out the rest by comparing it with an English version. Personally, I have been asked by 4 different people to be sure to let them know when Da Good An Spesho Book is available so they can buy one

      Of Hawaii population of about one and a half million, over half speak Pidgin. But about 200,000 of that 750,000 people, around 200,000 don't understand English well and it is for them that we ask your prayers.


/dk/bio/2017-00-00.php       Stephen R Elliott • 2018 Jan 21 • 2018 Jan 21