Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

Factors That Necessitate Interpretation of Sermons in Churches in Uasin Gishu County, Kenya

Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

Factors That Necessitate Interpretation of Sermons in Churches in Uasin Gishu County, Kenya

Article excerpt


The study investigated the factors that make the use of interpreters during preaching in churches necessary in Uasin Gishu County, Kenya. The theory of functional equivalent interpretation, propounded by Eugene Nida in the year 1970, was used in the study. The theory analyses the challenges encountered in the process of interpretation. It also advocates for an interpretation that conveys the meaning of discourse rather than its structure. In the study, data was collected from 10 randomly sampled churches. Six congregants, one preacher and one interpreter were randomly selected from each of the sampled churches to respond to the research questionnaires and interviews. The other methods used to collect data were participant observation and tape recording. The collected data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. The study concluded that interpretation in the churches is motivated by the church policies, preachers' preferences for English, audience's incompetence in the source languages, among other factors. To achieve effective communication of sermon messages, it is recommended that churches select and use interpreters who are highly capable of using a variety of methods of interpretation. Preachers and interpreters may benefit from the study in understanding the need for interpretation of the messages they intend to pass across to their congregations. The work is also important to the world of scholarship as it informs the need for a curriculum base for courses on interpretation for specific purposes.

Keywords: factors, necessitate sermon interpretation, churches, Uasin Gishu County, Kenya.


Interpretation is a crucial element of communication which takes place amongst people and their varied languages. This process is an ideal bridge among a bilingual people. Interpretation therefore can be defined as a skill that is used to communicate words and the meanings of those words, from the source language. Interpreters therefore have a major task of passing the meaning, purpose and feelings of the speaker of the source language. The main objective here is to enable the listener of the target language to get the speakers message in a manner that is as close as it would have been if it were to be delivered in the source language. Many a time people perceive that word for word interpretation is more suited in preserving the message of the original speaker. It has, however, emerged that whenever this method is used the message is always distorted, towards the end of the interpretation (Wikipedia, 2007). This method considers only the arrangements or appearance of the words as they appear in the source language, as opposed to the meaning of the whole sentence, this paper has discussed more interpretation method that emerged during this research and how best suited they are in preserving the message during preaching.

For interpretation to succeed, it is mandatory that the interpreter understands the topic that is being discussed, for him to be able to change that information from the source language to the target language. The interpreter has to consider the culture of the people of both languages; he has to be physically present at the place where the interpretation is taking place. This is because the interpreter has to maintain that close contact, look at the speaker of the source language and listen keenly, in order to pass the same message to the listener. After giving the definition and explanation of what interpretation is, it is appropriate to explore the historical background of the same, and its relation to the Christian religion more so because this paper is based on Christian religion.

The Origin of Interpretation

The origin of translation has been researched adequately. This paper perceives that the activities of interpretation started earlier than translation, only that this has not been documented. This is an indication that historians have dwelt more on translation, although interpretation was in use even before the science of writing was discovered. …

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