An important distinction

For the last 21 years, [my husband Will and I] have lived half our life in India. It started with research into linguistics and surveys of languages. Then, we joined Wycliffe.

In 2008, we were living in rural India with an eight-month-old baby, and Will was working with a local translation team. He started bringing the translation team over to our house to do Bible studies.

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One day, we were reading Mark. In chapter 6, it says that Jesus sent out his disciples, saying, “Take nothing for your journey except a staff” (v.8).

One of the translators asked me, “How old were the disciples?”

I replied, “Why are you asking?”

He said, “Because if they were old, they were taking the stick to walk with. But if they were young, they were taking the stick to beat people into submission.”

I realized that, in translation, connotations are so important, not just dictionary definitions! We translated “stick” as “stick for walking.”

Source:, from an article by “Kathryn” with Naomi Reed.