May 4, 2007
The Worldwide Ministry of IVP Books
One of the things I most enjoy about my job is receiving copies of translated books. Every other day or so I'll find a slightly beat-up package or a small stack of foreign books on my desk. As IVP's rights manager, I have the honor of opening these packages and sending copies of each translation to the author(s).
Recently we received copies of the Romanian translation of Christian Apologetics in the Postmodern World by Timothy R. Phillips and Dennis L. Okholm, the Indonesian translation of How to Read Proverbs by Tremper Longman III, the Russian translation of Just Business by Alexander Hill, the Korean translation of Seeking God's Hidden Face by Cecil Murphey and Swahili translations of a number of LifeGuide Bible Studies.
I enjoy seeing the titles and covers different publishers use. For example, the Swahili name for the LifeGuide Bible Study series is "Safari Ya Biblia," which I assume means something like Bible Safari. That is quite different from "LifeGuide," but it certainly conveys the idea of encountering and discovering God, and it makes sense for an East African audience. The cover of one translation was so striking I showed it to some of the folks in our hallway. The book is about how God can use crises in our lives to transform us, and the cover pictures an upside-down turtle in the middle of a highway, stretching his neck in an attempt to flip over. It's a striking image and very different from the cover of the English edition.
These translation copies are also encouraging reminders of the ongoing ministry of our books throughout the world. One author, who is a little introverted and prefers not to travel, mentioned how encouraging it is that her books are available in places she will never visit. Some books continue to see new life as they are translated into different languages even after the English edition has gone out of print or the author has passed away.
I'm sure I'll get another slightly beat up package again soon. I look forward to opening it and being reminded about how God is using the book in another part of the world.