Sunday, August 3, 2014

Until I die!

The other day, I received an email from one of my friends, who also happens to coordinate many of the courses at our Training Centre. "Come out and visit with some of the participants at teatime today," he urged. "They have some fascinating stories!" Not needing to be asked twice, I grabbed my recorder and notebook and charged down the shortcut that leads from my house through the gardens, up to the Training Centre. (I had forgotten that it had rained that morning and the shortcut was entirely full of mud...but that's why we have water taps outside buildings...for washing feet!) I had a marvelous time visiting with the many students who were in a variety of courses, including back translation, alphabet design, and computer software--so much, that I had to come back and visit over lunch too! Here's a glimpse of some of the fascinating people that I get to talk to every day!


“I will be a part of this Bible translation work until I die.” Gariai has been working on translation and literacy in the Kunimaipa language since the early 1980s. Still, he is eager to keep learning, and this year is participating in a two-week Back Translation workshop held at the Ukarumpa Training Centre.

Thirteen participants from five languages around Papua New Guinea are learning how to create high-quality back translations so their drafts of newly translated Scriptures can be easily checked by outside consultants for accuracy, naturalness, and clarity. This is an important step before the translated Scriptures can be typeset and published.

Sylvester, a translator who has been working in his language of Korafe since 1989, found the workshop to be very interesting. “The back translation workshop is helpful because it helps me understand how my own language works. For example, is the order subject, verb, object or different? If I learn about my own grammar, then I can create a better back translation for the consultant to check.”

“God called me to this ministry…this work, translation, is very important in my life. It’s important in my family’s life.” Sylvester leaned forward, his gray hat tipping to one side. “[It’s my hope] that all men will be able to read God’s Word well…and let it come inside their thinking and affect their lives.”

Gariai agreed. “This work has changed my life…” he said. “Now many people in my community are hearing the Word of God and getting training to preach from our translated Scriptures. Only God could do such a thing.”