Archive for the ‘Languages’ Category

One Single Hand Cannot Break Open a Cola Nut

Monday, May 25th, 2015

This month marked the 25th anniversary of SIL’s work in Chad. To celebrate the amazing work that has happened for the different language communities in Chad over these last 25 years, a ceremony was held and attended by representatives of local language communities, several government agencies, the university of N’Djamena, church partners, other NGOs and civil society organisations.

Group photo

It is an immense joy to give a sincere testimony regarding the partnership between the Federation of Associations for the Promotion of Guera Languages(FAPLG) and SIL Chad. SIL helped FAPLG be born and grow up in the difficult Guera region. — Mr Adjbane Akouna Djimet, Vice President of the Federation of Associations for the Promotion of Guera Languages (FAPLG)

I rejoice in all the accomplishments in the development of Chadian languages… the result of a fruitful collaboration with the Chadian state, national church organizations and other non-governmental institutions. Today we celebrate the proverbial truth that ‘one single hand cannot break open a cola nut.’ — Dr Michel Kenmogne, SIL International Executive Director Designate

Read the full story from SIL on the celebration of twenty-five years of partnership with Chad’s language communities.

Here at Wycliffe, along with our partner organisations such as SIL, we believe in partnering with local communities and translators to work together in bringing their languages into written words that they can read and understand. Ultimately we share the goal of bringing Scripture to people in a language that resonates with them the most – their heart language. As this celebration in Chad shows, by uniting and working together, by sharing our resources and committing to each other – amazing things can happen!

Find out how you can support and be involved in this amazing work.

The method of writing tone

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Translating the Bible is just one part of what is needed to bring God’s word to a community. Another important aspect is to teach people to be able to easily read what has been written!

Many languages are tonal – the sounds of vowels can be high and low (and sometimes in between).  Making sure that a writing system denotes this clearly is critical for the fluent understanding of the readers.  This is where Tone Orthography Workshops come in. To put it simply, tone orthography is the method of writing tone. These workshops help translators develop accurate writing systems so that people can read the Bible fluently when a translation is finished.

This brilliant video from Cameroon gives you a glimpse into life as a Bible translator and a brief look at what happens in these Tone Orthography workshops.  Have a watch and share with your friends.

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Find out more about the work of Bible Translation and how you can help.

Belt and Braces

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Did you know that Scripture is not only translated once, but twice when bringing Scripture to a people’s heart language? It would be completely rational for you to assume that once Scripture has been translated there is no further need to translate the material. But did you know that Scripture is then translated back into English?

Back Translation, as it is called, is a word for word process. These words are then re-arranged to make sense in English. This is due to differences in sentence structure found between languages.

A class in Papua New Guinea being taught Back translation Principles. It’s hard work and requires a strong grasp of both languages involved.

 

Why do we do this? To help ensure that the translated text is faithful and accurate to the original and that none of the meaning is lost in translation, an essential belt and braces process. People are learning these principles in classes through out the world, including in Papua New Guinea.

“Pray for wisdom as this training is very important to the accuracy of the translation.” – PNG Experience

Read about this and more of what’s happening in Papua New Guinea on the PNG Experience website.

Being a translator is just one of the roles needed to bring Scripture to people who need it the most. Find out how you can be involved in this amazing work or you can read another back translation example in our latest edition of Words for Life.

The Bible for the unreached

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Did you know that there are about 400 sign languages in the world and none of them yet have the whole of the Bible? Deaf Opportunity Outreach (DOOR) International, which has a centre in Kenya, is working to change this.

One of their translation consultants, Josh, explains his work:

Celebrating portions of the Bible in Kerala Sign language

Celebrating portions of the Bible in Kerala Sign language

‘Today I have been working on a commentary piece on the fruit of the Spirit, specifically joy. After I have done the study I will sit with one of our Deaf translators and work to explain what the Bible teaches about joy so that he can sign it in a way that is clear and easily understood by the Deaf in their own language. It is exciting and fun. I love my job.

But you know what is so frustrating? Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” But that hasn’t been translated yet. 1 Peter 4:12-13 says, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” Wow! But that isn’t translated either.

Praise God for the work that has been accomplished! It is impacting lives. Deaf people in Kenya are turning to Jesus and growing in their faith.’

Please pray:

  • Pray for the translation teams working at the DOOR centre in Kenya.
  • Pray for the translators as they do the difficult work of taking meaning from one language and communicating it clearly in another.
  • Pray for those working with the teams to help them understand what the texts mean so they are able to do that work.
  • Pray for those who will be checking the translations for accuracy.’

Watch the need for sign language Bible translation, an inspiring video that explains how deaf communities are being impacted with God’s word.

I Understand This!

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Moving meaning from one language and culture to another is a technical process. It’s something that translators spend a lot of time on in order to prevent loss of meaning from the original text. The fruits of their labor, however, are more than worth it.

Almost in tears in his enthusiasm, Ezra, a translator working amongst his people, shared with his fellow translators the exciting moment when people who had recently asked for Scripture materials exclaimed, “I understand this!

People in Ezra’s and Nehemiah’s culture are used to not understanding Scripture.

“But when they actually read something in their own language and suddenly have the experience of Jesus or Paul or Moses speaking as it were to them, it’s God’s Word to them in a significantly different way. They are sometimes amazed. “I understand this!” It’s an announcement of something grand. It’s something stupendous. Ezra and Nehemiah live in a non-reading culture. They get excited when someone understands by either reading or hearing.

That’s why we’re doing this job. For starters at least, we’re working for the ones and twos who announce this new thing to anyone who will listen.”

Read the full post on wycliffe.net which goes on to share some of the very real challenges they face in translating the Lord’s prayer, here.

Find out how you can help Bible translation: be involved either through prayer, financially or by going.

Biblical Sheep became Chukchi Reindeer

Monday, March 16th, 2015

How do you bring Bible stories to a people group in their own language? For nearly two years Zhanna, a Chukchi woman from the village of Kolymskoye in north-east Siberia, has been working on crafting Bible stories in to her own language. Two translators, Michal and Geneviève, have been assisting her. Now, with 25 stories completed, it’s time to take them to the Chukchi people for some feedback.

Geneviève writes,

“When the villagers saw our helicopter coming they thought there must be some Very Important People on board. Rumour had it that a group of Canadians were coming. In fact there were two Chukchi students, Zhanna and just one Canadian – me…”

In this great article, Geneviève tells us how the initial stages unfolded – from having the drafts checked and improved by two Chukchi ladies to having the stories recorded by a Chukchi language school teacher. Then finally they put down the papers, picked up the recordings and sat down with Chukchi villagers.

“In the process of crafting the stories from the biblical text, we made them more streamlined, made sentences shorter, anticipated questions that Chukchis would ask, made some adaptations to Chukchi culture… And so it was that biblical sheep became Chukchi reindeer. This made the ladies laugh. We wondered whether… But they said they liked it very much. It made the story real to them…

“They had heard about the Bible, but these stories in their very own language brought it all alive!” (Read Geneviève’s story in full on wycliffe.net)

The next stage of this project involves a consultant who will look over the text. Her task is to ensure that the stories are still true to the Bible, even when retold in different words. Revised stories may be tested in another village trip. Eventually there will be the final, definitive recording which will be circulated around the Chukchi villages and reindeer camps.

It’s encouraging to read about the work that is happening among the Chukchi community, however, there are still over 1,860 languages that are yet to have any Scripture in their own language. Find out how you can be involved in the work of Bible translation.

 

Softened soil, waiting for the Word

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

This year, our spring appeal is focusing on the use of AudiBibles in PNG and how they are helping to prepare the hearts of the Kandawo to receive the New Testament in printed form, which, after 30 years of faithful and painstaking work, is being completed now and will be made available in April 2015.

The AudiBible is wetting the ground, making the soil soft so that they will be ready to receive the written word when it comes.

No bigger than a mobile phone, AudiBibles are robust, solar-powered devices with the recently translated New Testament on them. They are enabling people like Naomi* and her family to hear God’s word spoken in their own language for the very first time.

Speaking recently to the Kandawo translation team, Naomi* said, “I saved up the money I earned selling vegetables and bought one. Now I go to sleep every night with it playing on my chest,” She smiled as she continued, “We listen to it as a family. It has changed us so that we no longer gossip, speak evil of others, or steal.”

Naomi’s daughter, Felicia*, has also seen her life change after listening to the New Testament in her heart language. After her husband left her, Felicia took responsibility for feeding, clothing and educating their two children. When she met the translation team, she broke down in tears and was desperate to make them understand just how much God’s word had transformed her life.

‘I face worries, heavy problems and insults,’ said Felicia, ‘but the AudiBible told me that if I humble myself under God’s mighty hand, he will lift me up. So I came to the Lord and he lightened my load.’

While stories like these among the Kandawo people are very encouraging, there are still almost 300 languages that need a translation project to be started in PNG alone. Every one of these languages represents a significant number of people who have never heard a single verse of the Bible in their own heart language.

Help bring God’s living word to people who are still waiting for it in the language they truly understand.

I want to make a donation!

Thank you once again for your support of this work. We constantly thank God for your partnership and prayers.

* Names have been changed to protect their identity.

The Ethnologue

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

The Ethnologue is the world’s most comprehensive research publication into the languages of the world.

18th edition of the EthnologueIf, like many people, you think that there are just a few languages in use around the world, a few minutes with the Ethnologue will open your eyes to a world of diversity. 7,102 living languages in use around the world, over 2,000 of these in use in Africa alone.

For the past 64 years editors of the Ethnologue have been tracking these languages. Recording their names, locations and where possible the number of speakers.

The publication has continued to grow and more information added. Today, thanks to the internet, everything is available online and much of it is free.

In 1951, the first edition of Ethnologue consisted of ten mimeographed pages of language information. Since that time, it has grown into an active research project involving hundreds of linguists and other researchers around the world. It is widely regarded as the most comprehensive source of information of its kind. – SIL

The new, 18th edition of the Ethnologue, is now available to buy, download or browse. Packed with language statistics, maps and information it gives a small insight into the diversity of humanity in God’s creation.

It also highlights the challenges of Bible translation. For example, there are 17 languages in Syria, 41 in Afghanistan, oh, and Nigeria has 527. Bible translation is underway in many places, for example Nigeria, but there are harder to reach corners of the world that will not be so accessible. Are you up for the challenge of supporting financially or even going, to bring God’s word, his hope and his peace so that all people may know him?

International Mother Language Day 2015

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

Today is International Mother Language Day. What is it? It’s a day founded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1999, designed to raise awareness and celebrate linguistic and cultural diversity. Each year on February 21st UNESCO sets a theme; this year is “Inclusive Education through and with Language – Language Matters”.

How fantastic that the diversity of languages is celebrated in the world! But it’s not often that we consider how much language forms an important part of our identity. It helps us to communicate and teach, to share culture and history.  And when languages are developed in a written form, rich cultural heritages are documented and preserved.

However, there are still millions of people whose mother tongue is not developed in a written form. No alphabet. No dictionary.

Help raise awareness and celebrate language diversity by sharing International Mother Language Day with your friends and family. Jump into the action on twitter by tweeting your favorite phrases, greetings and translations in your mother language – find out more at tweetmotherlanguage.org about how to tweet in your #MotherLanguage.

Languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing our tangible and intangible heritage. All moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue. – UNESCO

So much happens when Bible translation gets underway in a language community.  Wycliffe Bible Translator’s commitment that all should have access to God’s word in the language they understand best opens amazing doors, as we celebrate today. Find out more about International Mother Language Day on UNESCO’s website.

No easy answers

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Bible translation, as well as being an incredibly joyous thing,  is often difficult and challenging, with the people involved carrying a lot of responsibility. Translators have to truly get to the heart of what is really being communicated in Scripture by the writers and then figure out how to best translate it.  This means the message can be communicated successfully in the translation with minimal loss of the original meaning.

In a brilliant article, Sue Arthur gives us a brief look into the world of  being a translator, highlighting some of the challenges and complications that can arise in the process of bringing Scripture to people in their heart language.

Before you can translate something, you have to understand what it means. Understanding the meaning of a verse like this well enough to be able to re-express that meaning in another language will inevitably involve some level of interpretation, because there are always choices to be made.

There are generally no easy answers when it comes to translation, just hard work and lots of decisions… Yet often in the midst of the research, the brain storming, the testing and the checking, God uses the whole process of translation to speak through his word.

Read Sue’s full article Salted by Fire which describes the process they encountered while translating Mark 9:49 ‘Everyone will be salted with fire.’ (NIV). Eddie and Sue Arthur lived and worked for twelve years in Ivory Coast where they were part of the team translating the Scriptures for the Kouya people. Sue is now based in the UK but continues to support translation work in Madagascar. Check out Eddie and Sue’s blog at Kouyanet.

Support the work of Bible translating by finding out how you can get involved. Are you up for the challenge?