Student Reflection 2022
Translating to Make Connections
By Kalkidan Antonios '24
“To my surprise, I found myself scribbling in Amharic when I first was learning the translation of the verses from Biblical Hebrew to English.”
My name is Kalkidan and I am pursuing a Master of Arts in Sustainable International Development at the Heller School. I joined SCRoLL Lab this fall. My time at SCRoLL Lab has helped me develop my qualitative research skills. I don’t have a background in the Hebrew language, but that hasn’t excluded me from contributing towards the research. Dr. Hassenfeld and team have made lab a welcoming place by encouraging me to draw from my experiences.
As a bilingual student, I am able to draw on my Amharic language skills to decode the grammatical structure of biblical Hebrew and reflect on religious literacy practices. Some exciting similarities I have found between Amharic and Biblical Hebrew is that Amharic uses the same principles of shoresh, tense, gender, collective nouns. To my surprise, I found myself scribbling in Amharic when I first was learning the translation of the verses from Biblical Hebrew to English.
In Ethiopia, our Holy Bible is originally translated from the Septuagint and Greek to the ancient language Geez which is still predominantly used by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Eventually the Bible was translated into Amharic (our working official language) and other Ethiopian languages to make it accessible to a wider audience. Knowing how reading the Bible in my native language has positively impacted my cultural and religious identity, I’m deeply invested in SCRoLL Lab's research which works to understand the cultural impact that reading the Bible in the original Hebrew language has on connecting children to their Jewish heritage. I am also excited to see how bilingual children use English and Hebrew to translate scriptures.
Kalkidan Antonios is pursuing a Master of Arts in Sustainable International Development at the Heller School. She received her undergraduate degree in international affairs with a concentration in development from Gordon College in 2021. She has taken courses in New Testament, Old Testament, religion and international affairs. Kalkidan is passionate about creating a sustainable solution to reduce period poverty in the developing world. She runs a non-profit educational platform that seeks to teach women how to make reusable biodegradable sanitary pads from locally sourced fabrics. She is excited to research children's literacy development in the case of Biblical text.