Stakeholders canvass for solid restructuring, establishment of national conference for Interpreters at CACTS Interpreters' Conference


By Our Correspondent 

The maiden edition of the Interpreters' Conference held at the Victoria Adeyoola Akinosun Building, Christ Apostolic Church Theological Seminary (CACTS) Ile Ife, Osun State, has stirred many testimonies and ignited the calls for value, recognition and need for conferences for interpreters.

The conference which was themed "The Ministry of Interpretation in the 21st Century: An Eroding Culture or a Necessity?" held on Saturday, 29th April, 2023.

The unprecedented programme, organized by the CACTS Interpreters' Unit attracted interpreters from local churches and seminaries, as well as Guest Speakers such as the Registrar, Christ Apostolic Church Theological Seminary (CACTS), Pastor Lawrence Biola Akinyosoye; the Keynote Speaker and Director of Students' Affairs, CACTS, Pastor Michael A. Adetunji and the Pastor-in-charge of CAC Latona English Assembly (Anointing Chapel), Osogbo, who spoke aptly on relevant topics.

The Coordinator of Interpreters' Unit, CACTS Ile Ife, Brother Boluwatife Oparinde, had in his Welcome Address pointed that, "so far, we are not sure about the existence of conferences like this for interpreters in our church. But if there be, it is certainly not as loud as other departments of the church like the Sunday School, Choir, Ushers and so on. If you call this jealousy, then it is a holy one. This conference is a product of a strong desire for a rigid structure for the interpreters’ department locally and globally, particularly, with respect to the Christ Apostolic Church, Nigeria and Overseas. Beyond the impartations, impactations and the manifestation of the glory of God that we will enjoy today, it is a subtle call on our fathers in the church to normalize annual conference like this for interpreters."

In his Keynote Address on the theme of the Conference, the Director of Students' Affairs and Chaplain, CACTS Ile Ife, Pastor Michael Adetunji, observed that some of the identifiable factors that may be advanced for the erosion of the Ministry of Interpretation are, "hearers most times prefer to hear from the horse’s mouth, that is, directly from the main speaker, whether in their local language or English preferably, and not through an interpreter; the practice of Eurocentric Christianity. For instance, a civilisation which came as a result of African’s privilege to Western education paralysed, significantly some cultural values; it is time-consuming due to its spontaneous and extemporaneous nature in the case of pulpit ministrations; lack of exact vocabulary to convey the thought of the main speaker in the language(s) preferred for interpretation because some interpreters are not good linguists, and also, not all words retain their potency when interpreted;  and, the monolingual or mono-cultural composition of the audience is a situation whereby everyone constituting the audience understands the language of communication."

Providing justifications for the necessity of the interpretation ministry in the 21st century, the cleric expressed that, "research has proven that one thinks in his mother tongue. Also, language is a strong cultural identity of a people. Therefore, speaking in one’s native language or of the host community is a symbol of unity and acceptance;  Interpretation is a wise tool for missiological engagements; It helps in the contextualisation and globalisation of the gospel. For instance, the Bible translation engagement of individuals or corporate bodies like the Bible Society of Nigeria is a laudable venture which has helped native readers to feel at home with the gospel that started outside of their shores; It bridges the gap and prevents the offences of the language barrier."  


In the first lecture, the Pastor-in-charge of CAC Latona English Assembly (Anointing Chapel) Osogbo, Pastor Ezekiel Olowookere speaking on the topic, "Ethics and Practices of the Ministry of Interpretation in Building an Effective Church Ministry" introduced that "the ministry of interpretation should not be mixed up with the divine ability of interpretation of tongues. Also, I want to point out that the ability is not the same as supernatural manifestation of coding and decoding revelations/dreams or symbolism (as can be identified with Daniel in the scripture)" adding that in order to fulfill the duties of an interpreter, these basic skills are needed, "Language Command Practice; Attention Skills; Analytical Skills; Memory Skills; Language Transfer Skills; Note-taking Skills; Cultural Awareness; Clear and Audible Speech/Visible Signing; Adaptability; and Knowledge of Subject Matter." 

Pastor Olowookere, who also noted that the CACTS Ile Ife Interpreters' conference was the first of its kind in Christ Apostolic Church, highlighted some of the numerous codes of ethics for interpreting and translation as, Confidentiality, Accuracy, Completeness, Non-judgmental attitude, Acceptance of Assignments and Professionalism; adding that the most common modes of interpreting are consecutive interpreting, simultaneous interpreting, sentence-by-sentence interpreting, and whispered interpreting.

The cleric, who is one of the leading interpreters at the CAC National level, listed some of the several benefits in using an interpreter, both for the speaker as well as for the listeners, "people hear the message in their heart language. A language learning opportunity. The speaker can keep up with his or her sermon notes more easily. The interaction between the speaker and the interpreter provide some 'comic relief' in the message and make for a more enjoyable listening experience. Proper use of an interpreter yield immediate fruit in your sermons, but the improper use can spell disaster."

Speaking on the topic, "The Necessity of the Ministry of Interpretation in the 21st Century and a Peep into the Preacher's Sermon Notes", the Registrar of CACTS who is also an expert in the field of interpretation, Pastor Lawrence Biola Akinyosoye, observed that "the 21st century, the emergence and wave of linguistic inclusivity has gained unprecedented prominence. This is a situation whereby regional languages are being embraced in business, pop culture, virtual and educational pedestals. People speaking different languages expect representation and negotiation to communicate and extract communication with ease. 

"In like manner, the idea of contextualizing the gospel message to the various cultures it comes in contact with necessitates the use of interpretation in order to make the gospel ‘be at home’ with recipients of the kerygma. Therefore, interpretation has significant roles to play in this revolutionary milieu and the wave has the propensity for becoming stronger in the future," he added.

The Registrar of the Seminary college identified some of the importance of interpretation to a trans-lingual and trans-cultural communication society as, "Interpretation adds enormous value to businesses; Business negotiations become much easier with interpretation; Quality interpretation simplifies communication; Language is beyond words; Facilitates communication between Individual; Quality and consistency; Business negotiation; Simplifies Communication; Intercultural knowledge; Specialisation; Accurate translation; Understand Cultural Sensitivities; The Preacher/Teacher/Speaker or language user and the Interpreter are partners in progress."

A practical workshop on the "Challenges of Interpretation for Church Interpreters: What Could Cause the Use of Interpretations to Become Obsolete Culture among the Modern Day Christian Congratulations" was also handled by Pastor Ezekiel Olowookere. Also, the Registrar of the Seminary, Pastor Akinyosoye donated his book on interpretation to the unit who in turn, donated them to representatives of the churches in attendance.

In their reactions on the conference, some of the attendees, to include Pastor Epiphany Oriola from CACTS Ilesa and Elder Gandonu Babatunde from CAC Badagry DCC Headquarters, lauded the initiative, expressing the need to place strong value and recognition as well as normalize the interpreters' conference to hold annually at CACTS Ile Ife with strong support from the National Body of Interpreters and CAC Authority.

In attendance were some of the staff and students of the Seminary; interpreters from CACTS Ile Ife, Ilesha Campus; CACTS Ile Ife, Ede Campus; CAC Badagry DCC H/Q; CAC Hill of Righteousness; CAC Truth Arena; CAC Moore DCC; CAC Palace of Peace Ayetoro; CAC Igboya Zone; CAC Ajamopo; CAC Oke Itura; CAC Bethel; CAC Oke Ayo Akure; CAC Truth of the Gospel; CAC Mercyland, among others.

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