Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Translating with Martin Luther

After our memorable tour of Wittenburg, Tito Friedrich, Tita Glen and I traveled again by ICE to Eisenach on the east side of Germany. Eisenach is well known for Schloss Wartburg or Wartburg Castle which was named in 1991 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is an important site because it is here where Martin Luther translated the New Testament in German while on exile.

As soon as we reached Eisenach, Tita Glen decided I should not miss the chance to savor Germany’s favorite, Thuringian bratwurst. After all, the famous bratwurst originated in this region, Thuringia, of which Eisenach is a part of.

A view of Eisenach from the Wartburg Castle

We took a taxi to reach Wartburg Castle which is nestled on top of the hill. A tall German and English-speaking lady led us to a tour of the castle into the knights’ hall, the dining hall, chapel, the women’s quarter called Elizabeth’s bower (after St. Elizabeth of Hungary who married the landgrave of Thuringia Ludwig IV), and the banquet hall.

Outside Wartburg Castle

Elizabeth's bower

After our stroll in the palace, we roamed freely in the museum of the castle which showcases artifacts from the Reformation, including weapons, furniture, and writings of Luther. From there we went to the Lutherstube, the room where Martin Luther stayed while translating the New Testament. While laboring over the translation, Luther remarked, “I battle against the devil with the ink.” As a Christian writer and translator on my way to Littworld, an international publishing conference, I find that remark significant. Every attempt to write and translate the message of truth and grace (and have it published) is a warfare against the dark, evil forces.

Museum of Reformation artifacts

Luther's room

I may be going ahead of my story, but days later, at the Littworld conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil, I made sure I attended the workshop on the topic of translating. Also, as I walked from our villa to the auditorium and conference rooms where plenary sessions and workshops are conducted, I realized that the organizers have named the alleys where the villas of the participants are located. They named the alleys after famous Christian personalities who were somehow involved in publishing. I noticed the alley names about two days into the conference already. The name of my alley? Martin Luther.

No comments: