The Humor of Sermon Translations…

I remember fondly the summer of 2000. I was the official translator of our soccer team in our mission trip to my homeland of Brazil. Our main speaker in the eight churches we ministered was the former president of a Christian College with a Master’s Degree in Theological Studies. Though we knew each other well–since we had many mutual friends in Brazil–the dynamics at the pulpit were somewhat chaotic, to say the least. The longer I had lived in the US, the rustier my skills became in Portuguese. Any graduate student who has taken at least 3 years of Greek or Hebrew knows the consequences of spending a summer without practicing. I do remember my embarrassment at certain points being completely unable to dissect my brother’s American idioms, unique expressions, and lofty theological terms. As he laughed at his own jokes, I muttered inside: “What Portuguese joke do I know to give him the impression I am translating this properly?” It was a humorous occasion. As the third sermon came, I had to give this wise and well-respected gentleman a lesson in cultural differences. From then on there were no more distinct American jokes. Tom Ascol’s humor reminded me of that occasion eight years ago. In this video, notice the Portuguese translator’s confusion at Ascol’s purposeful attempt to trick him.

About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
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1 Response to The Humor of Sermon Translations…

  1. Tom says:

    That’s hilarious. I wish I could understand what the translator was saying.

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