Hymn text translation

For all of you German-singing carolers, Latin-lauding educators, and traditional textists, I’ve got an article for you: “The Challenge: Finding Translators for Hymn Texts.” It offers a little insight into the LCMS hymn writing symposium held this past fall, as well as the need for hymn text translation around the world.

(I can’t believe I missed that hymn writing symposium! I hope it will become an annual event!)

While we may first associate hymn text translation with ancient songs of the church or Reformation, Germanic texts, it continues now, too, as more and more church bodies seek hymnals as tools for worship and passing down the faith!

Translating non-prose can be hard enough. Bringing in the poetry, rhythm, and stylistic literary devices (alliteration, metaphor, simile, hyperbole, allegory, etc.) complicates the project tremendously. At the same time, such work continues to be done, redone, and tweaked. It is encouraging to me: people continue to value hymns used even if they were used on the other side of the world or in a different age. (Ahem, though it’s all Christ’s Age.)

Individuals interested in supporting the ongoing work of hymnwriters and translators in partner churches in other countries may contact Deaconess Sandra Rhein—who is awesome by the way—at [email protected].

For donations, make checks payable to “The LCMS” and note that the gift is for “International Lutheran Hymnal Translations.” Mail checks to The LCMS, P.O. Box 66861, St. Louis, MO 63166-6861.

Of course, also pray for writers, translators, and hymn text translation. Maybe carol a little in German to show solidarity, good humor, and global solidarity. 🙂 As for me and my house, we’ll be praying, “Veni Veni Emmanuel!” over and over again this Lent.

Of course, you should also write. Maybe a project in your future will need translation!

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