Monday, July 29, 2013

Hudson Taylor-Translation Difficulties

By Mary Vee
Year: July, 1862 
Hudson Taylor: age 30

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

I was sent back to England to recuperate from an illness which nearly took my life. I am not the kind of person who is good at resting. Maria, my wife, gave up forcing me to stay in bed.

I had hoped that the English air, a roof over my head, and food on my table would do the job. I had work to do!

Since I planned to return to China, I knew it would be really important for me to complete my medical studies. I didn't have much left to do to be certified as a doctor. 

I applied to the medical school, requesting to finish my surgical program. They accepted me right away. After completing the coursework and exams I took extra training to learn how to be a midwife, (helping women have their babies). So many babies died while being born in China. Maybe I could help save not only the baby's lives but their mother's too.

I passed the exams and became certified for both surgery and midwifery. My first patient was my wife, Maria, who gave birth to my son Frederick Howard on November 23rd.

Once my medical training ended, I devoted my entire day to translating the hymnal and New Testament into the Ningbo language. The Religious Tract Society agreed to publish the hymnal and the Bible Society agreed to fund the New Testament translation.

A friend of mine, Rev. Frederick Gough,  had been a missionary with us in Ningbo. He happened to be home in England at the time and agreed to help me with the translation.

Here is where the problems began. I wanted to get the work done as soon as possible. This way we could have the New Testaments printed out and packed to take back with us when we returned to China.

Rev. Gough, wanted to assure the translation was accurate in every way which took a long time. The Ningbo language doesn't use letters like we do. They have different markings for different sounds and words. Rev. Gough wanted to be sure we chose the correct marking for each word and he also wanted to be sure the translation matched the Greek original. It took forever to do all the checks and rechecks. 

I started a day with translations and then found work undone with the checks. I began to feel like we would never be able to get back to China with the translations.

Rev. Gough and I received more than one notice from the Bible Society saying they wanted to stop funding the project because it was taking too long. 

I agreed.

But Rev. Gough walked to their offices each time we received the letters and spoke with the board, explaining the importance of the accuracy of the translation. He returned each time with a smile on his face and said, "They will continue the funding."

This year sailed by so fast. So much has happened. I completed and passed school and the exams and I worked on the Ningbo translations, working long hours. I'm exhausted. 

I posted a big map of China on my wall to encourage me to complete the translation. I looked at it every day, longing to tell the people who lived in Inland China, far away from the ocean.

With the map before me I work extra long and work hard to please Rev. Gough with the translations. Wouldn't it be wonderful if Maria, Grace, Frederick, and I could return to China next year? Oh, I hope so.

Please pray that we finish the New Testament soon and accurately. We are very excited to return to China.

J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China home, in England
Blessed by God

Photo courtesy of

Research resources: J. Hudson Taylor, An Autobiography by J. Hudson Taylor; It is Not Death to Die, a new biography of Hudson Taylor by Jim Cromarty; Hudson Taylor Founder, China Inland Mission by Vance Christie; J. Hudson Taylor, A Man in Christ, by Roger Steer, and Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret by Dr. &and Mrs. Howard Taylor.

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