Michael Ash’s wonderful Meridian article describing the translation process of the Book of Mormon entitled “How to Read Ancient Nephite” should be read by all latter-day saints. The “mind language” (mentalese), specific language and orthographic processes that are described, all quickened and made possible by the gift and power of God, are to me also a powerful testimony of the restoration. These linguistic processes also illustrate the extremely complex virtual “worlds without number” contained in our amazing minds as children of God. We can see why the Lord would specifically enumerate the great “gift of translation” (Alma 9:21)
Not only was Joseph Smith, the Seer, able to perform this great work way above the abilities of any known mortal, but he was able to translate at a speed that is an order of magnitude above a fully equipped and trained modern translator.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell explained:
“One marvel is the very rapidity with which Joseph was translating-at an estimated average rate of eight of our printed pages per day! The total translation time was about 65 working days. By comparison, one able LDS translator in Japan, surrounded by reference books, language dictionaries, and translator colleagues ready to help if needed, indicated that he considered an output of one careful, final page a day to be productive. … The Prophet Joseph Smith would sometimes produce 10 pages per day!”
“The coming forth of the Book of Mormon is a marvelous episode not only in Church history but also in human history.”
(Neal A. Maxwell, “By the Gift and Power of God,” Ensign, January, 1997, )
I hope we all read and ponder Brother Ash’s and Elder Maxwell’s comments.