I just returned from 18 days in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where 30 men and women were trained and worked on translating the JESUS Film in 8 new languages. (I am in the upper back left of the photo.) We taught the group how to use software that allows them to view and hear the JESUS film in a trade language that they all speak, which in this case is Amheric (Om-har-ic).

The Old Testament and Gospel of Luke verses in the JESUS film are displayed in the 8 languages they are translating the film to. The film script is broken down into 1,200 lines of dialogue and they are able to view and listen to the film line by line. They can enter their new translation of the film script in the software.

Translating the script of a JESUS Film to a new language is a science and an art. The translated film script needs to clearly communicate the message and the scripture in the new language. It needs to sound natural in the new language, especially since the lines are spoken. This may require rearranging the words.

Another major requirement is that the new lines need to be close to the same length of the lines they are replacing so that new lines fit into the film. In the film, if the actor’s lips can be seen, the lines need to approximate the movement of the lips.

It is important that the film clearly communicates God’s word. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) The goal of showing the JESUS film is that people will hear the gospel. As Paul says in Romans 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

Please pray for the translators to finish their new translations of the JESUS film and as they ask people in their community to review the translations for clarity and accuracy. On November 28, I will return to Ethiopia for the second two-week workshop where we will continue to review the translations for accuracy and timing.

After the second workshop, voice actors will be recruited for the approved translations of the JESUS film and plans made for the recording of the 8 new translations. Pray for powerful translations in the new languages and good voice actors so that these new JESUS films will bring many people into God’s kingdom.

Yours in Christ,

Steve & Robin