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By Fr. Paschal Kyaw, SDB


Anisakan, Myanmar, 27 August 2019 -- Thanks to the fresh rainy season and wonderful family welcoming spirit , all 30 participants of the 2nd EAO Salesian Formators Workshop felt at home immediately. Coming from 10 EAO provinces (only AUL and PGS were absent) and with one South Asia Region participant (Fr George Thadathil, INC - Sonada College) all were gathered at the Don Bosco Retreat house by the evening of 26 August. Even after two days travel from Darkhan, Mongolia the 22 SDB, 4 FMA, 3 Salesian Cooperators, one VDB and two lay mission partners met the Anisakan Catholic youth - volunteers and Nazareth Aspirantate boys (Rector Fr. Bosco Zeya Aung, Nyi Nyi), on arrival, since the 170 high school boarding students are living just next door to the workshop venue.


The girls in their different traditional costumes were the first to welcome all participants, famiiarising them with some of the 137 Myanmar ethnic groups. Thanks to the renovation of the MYM provincial house and the Retreat centre, all enjoyed the new level 3 large conference halls on the top of the house, and fast internet facilities.


Day 1 opened with the Eucharist at which the EAO regional councillor, Fr. Klement, was the main celebrant. In his homily he shared his gratitude for the coming together of so many Salesian Family members dedicated to the translation ministry, and the spirit of many holy faithful connected to translation (St. Jerome - Sept 30, as International Translation Day; St Monica for her motherly care, and Salesian martyr - translator Simao Bororo with Fr. Luigi Bolla, a holy missionary who did so much translation).


In the opening session all were welcomed by the video message of the Rector Major (Youtube link) who encouraged all translators to continue in this important ministry to bring many people, especially the younger ones, closer to Jesus and to Don Bosco. Then Fr. Charles Saw (MYM Vice-province superior) shared a brief welcome with the wish that translation becomes part of the life-long commitment to bring Jesus closer to the young people of EAO countries and cultures.


This was followed by personal presentations with brief sharing of personal translation experience. It took some time, but it was very good to understand each other: some of the participants are just starting, some are already translating the Salesian texts out of obedience or necessity for the past 15, 18, 20, 30, 35, 38 45 or even 50 years!


Among the expectations from the workshop, the most common were: the willingness to learn from each other; the need to be faithful both to the original text (source language) and to the readers' or listeners' target language, culture and group; the need to grow up in the spirituality of the Salesian translator which is necessary in order to persevere in this rather hidden and not very much publicly appreciated but charismaticaly very important ministry.


There are 3 main goals of the Workshop: contributing to drafting the first Salesian Translators Handbook, taking the Salesian Glossary (basic set of 450 words in pairs of Italian-English) back home and working out a clear institutional back-up needed for the translation ministry as an indispensable part of Social Communication sector (e.g. Provincial Directory - PC 2022 and suggestion for the incoming GC28 - General Regulations art. 33bis).


The presence of participants who work in Chinese, Cebuano, Korean, Japanese, Tetum, Bahasa Indonesia, Burmese, Vietnamese, Thai, Khmer and Mongolian, as well as English, brings fresh air to the general dynamics of this workshop.


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