Yahoo News “breathlessly” reports that “New Arabic and Turkish translations of the Bible from three reputable North American Christian organizations are brewing controversy because they no longer contain the words “Father” and “Son” in the Holy Trinity. In addition, the phrase “Son of God” has been removed.
They give these examples:
Stories of the Prophets from Wycliffe and SIL is an Arabic Bible that uses an Arabic equivalent of “Lord” instead of “Father” and “Messiah” instead of “Son.”
Meaning of the Gospel of Christ from Frontiers and SIL is an Arabic translation that removes “Father” in reference to God and replaces it with “Allah.” In addition, the word “Son” is either removed or redefined. Matthew 28:19 reads: “Cleanse them by water in the name of Allah, his Messiah and his Holy Spirit” instead of “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
In a Turkish translation of the Gospel of Matthew, Frontiers and SIL have used the Turkish language equivalents of “guardian” for “Father” and “representative” or “proxy” for “Son.”
Here is the response from SIL:
(January 2012) In response to various recent public accusations, SIL restates emphatically: SIL does not support the removal of the divine familial terms, “Son of God” or “God the Father” but rather requires that Scripture translation must communicate clear understanding of these terms.
Without reservation, SIL’s Scripture translation practice is to use wording which accurately communicates to the intended audience the relationship of Father by which God chose to describe Himself in relationship to His Son, Jesus Christ, as is stated in the original languages of Scripture. SIL affirms the eternal deity of Jesus Christ and insists that it be preserved in all translations.
SIL appreciates assistance in dispelling the falsehood that “SIL supports the removal of the divine familial terms.” Campaigns of misinformation can be damaging if left unchallenged, so SIL encourages readers to take time to investigate the erroneous information that has been written elsewhere. Please feel free to link to this page explaining SIL’s position and refer others to this information.
How would you phrase a translation to communicate concepts that are not part of a culture?