Pranvera Kosta says that the New Testament translation published by the Interconfessional Bible Society of Albania last year is the best Albanian translation available!
“Until this was published I used the new King James Version,” she says. “But the new translation is much easier to read!”
There is a special reason why she should know.
Although she has no formal theological qualifications, during the actors’ recording of the dramatised version of the new Bible translation for Hosanna, the Faith Comes By Hearing agency, Pranvera was of three or four people with the special role of ‘aural proofreader’. This meant that she had to listen closely to every word the actors read, pointing out places where she judged they had ‘got it wrong’ and helping them to understand difficult passages.
Altin Hysi, General Secretary of the Bible Society, asked her to take on the job because, he says, she knows the Bible very well and is “a very careful person”.
Actors in performance always sound authoritative, but what audiences sometimes don’t realise is that in many cases they have had to be coached to give the inflection to their words that properly conveys the meaning.
Sometimes, explains Pranvera, the actors would simply get sentences wrong!
“And when they made a mistake,” she says, “I stopped them!”
Peter’s letters are one example that she remembers.
“The actors didn’t understand them!” she says. “The Bible has ‘big meanings’ that not everyone can understand.
“I didn’t show them how to do it,” she adds, “I explained to them how they had got it wrong.”
If the actors’ misunderstanding was a problem, wouldn’t it have been better to use Christian actors?
“Yes! But in Albania we don’t have any!” she laughs.
In fact, at least three of the actors involved in the project were Christians, including Boby Denard.
“They were very patient,” she remembers. “Their attitude was like, ‘I am here to do it the best way.'”
Pranvera has been a member at Emanuel Church since 1993. The Tirana fellowship, originally started by overseas missionaries after the fall of Communism, is where Altin Hysi, General Secretary of the Bible Society, and Zefjan Nikollai, one of the translators of the Interconfessional New Testament, are now both in leadership.
And Pranvera showed an admirable a special devotion to her role in the recording project.
Not only does she have two sons aged 16 and 12 to look after, but her supervision of the recording was the second job she did each day. In the early hours of the morning she worked — as she still does — at a baker’s shop, going to buy fresh ingredients, filling sandwiches for about three hours and doing jobs such as going to the bank to pay the shop’s electricity bill.
But in addition, in the months while the dramatised New Testament was being recorded, in a studio rigged up in the Bible Society offices, she went there every day from 10.00am till 3.00pm to listen to the actors’ performances.
“But I’ve been blessed by it,” she says simply, “I am very happy to have done this thing.”