Afrikaans Translation Team Leader: Henri Theron
Show English text of the Introduction
I was born in 1948 and grew up in a small village in the Orange Free State, a province in South Africa. My parents were Afrikaans and I received an Afrikaans upbringing and schooling. Afrikaans is a language with a Dutch basis but developed as an independent language in South Africa because of the concurrence of certain events and the influence of other domestic languages. It is the home language of about 7 million people, is colored by Dutch, Malay and Khoisan words and very much reflects South African history. I attended university and obtained a MA degree, qualifying as a psychologist in 1976. I have spent most of my career as a student counsellor at universities and colleges.
In 1995 I opened a private practice as psychologist, but was anything but a happy psychologist or human being. A colleague, Rob Barnes, told me about A Course in Miracles and invited me to a group meeting.
I was fascinated by the Course and started seeing the “light,” finding the Answer. In my excitement I thought that I would like to share all these new ideas. I felt that the content might restore a lost confidence and trust in the traditional Christian churches. They were indeed searching spiritually. What better spiritual therapy can one find than the Course?
Although not being a professional translator I nevertheless started translating sections of the book in 1998 with the aim to make it available for future Afrikaans students and ended up in a workshop on forgiveness presented by Dr. Kenneth Wapnick in Roscoe, NY in 2000! I had “passed” the initial test of translating Chapter 13, and was discussing the future possible translation of the whole book with Ken. He agreed to assist with the translation although there was no publisher in sight. My main task would be to make sure that the meaning of the Course would not get lost.
The translation took a giant step forward when I met Willem Glaudemans, the Dutch translator, and received the Dutch version. Because Afrikaans and Dutch are so similar my task as translator was much easier. I could easily take over certain words from the Dutch translation without having to sort it out with Ken first. Also the meaning of many sentences was from the beginning quite clear in the Dutch version.
But what was making my task more difficult was that I had to work mostly on my own and did not have immediate access to linguists to sort out some problems. Although Afrikaans is a young and vibrant language it lacks esoteric terminology. It was therefore necessary to create words, “mind” being an example – one that probably also haunted a lot of other translators! I even battled to find a final reader, but was fortunate in the end to obtain the services of Flip Strydom, a well-known Emeritus Professor, who in 2004-05 linguistically streamlined the whole translation.
We came to the conclusion that it does not really matter who is going to say what about this translation. It was quite clear, reading the Afrikaans version, that we were hearing the same Voice speaking with so much dignity and authority in the English version. What a blessing!
Over the years I have tried in vain to get a publisher in South Africa. The reason was always the same: a too expensive book for a too small market. In 2005 the Foundation for Inner Peace finally came to our rescue agreeing to sponsor a CD or e-book. This was made available in September 2006.
In the meantime I have become involved in teaching the Course and I find myself visiting and facilitating small groups or teaching individuals. I also keep on translating miracle material. And all the psychology background? “Can you find light by analyzing darkness, as the psychotherapist does, or like the theologian, by acknowledging darkness in yourself and looking for a distant light to remove it, while emphasizing the distance? Healing is not mysterious.” (T-9.V.6:3) All the old roles have been exchanged for simply becoming a happy learner.
There can hardly be a better way of healing than translating A Course in Miracles It is with gratitude that I think back on all the material and assistance that I have received over the past six years from the two Foundations and their staff.
What else is left now but to give …
“Teach only love, for that is what you are.” ( T-6.I.13.2 )
– Henri Theron, Cape Town, 2006