Wouldn’t it be great if there was a simple way for people with years of experience in Bible translation to share all of that experience with aspiring Bible translators?
For many years the only option for this was through translation training centers. Over the years Wycliffe Associates has built dozens of these training centers around the world, benefitting thousands of translators as they gain experience.
But no matter how many training centers we build, they will still be beyond the reach of too many translators.
Fortunately, the Internet provides a helpful alternative!
The current translationStudio app includes fifty Bible stories, and hundreds of pages of translators’ notes linked to these stories, so that local translators have the resources they need to produce the highest quality translation. Upcoming translationStudio releases will include books of the Bible and eventually the entire Bible, along with translators’ notes linked to each verse and passage.
Creating the translators’ notes linked to each verse will put these vital resources within easy reach of every translator using the translationStudio app—all at no cost to the translators!
We need to expand our team developing these notes in order to get these resources into the hands of local Bible translators as soon as possible.
Obviously, not everyone reading this blog has Bible translation experience. But if you do, or if you know someone who does, please have them email us or call Nancy Neu toll-free at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9673) to learn more about this opportunity. Location is not a limitation as long as you have workable Internet access.
This is an opportunity for your Bible translation experience to potentially bless thousands of translators, speeding God’s Word to the nations.
Let’s seize this opportunity together!
Today an unprecedented strategy is underway to provide open-licensed resources in dozens of languages for Bible translators worldwide. Open licensing allows anyone, anywhere, unrestricted access and use of these tools to advance Bible translation in their language.
We are working with existing copyright owners in an effort to release existing resources in a way that serves the global Church more effectively. But in the meantime our team is pressing forward to create new resources that will be available to the global Church immediately.
We are recruiting Christians with seminary training in Hebrew or Greek, Old or New Testament, theology, or hermeneutics to expand our team and speed these resources to Bible translators. We have a particularly immediate need for Old Testament scholars.
This is not an exclusive offer. We are looking for dozens of people willing to collaborate in this effort as part of a decentralized team. Location is not as important as Internet access – you can help from home! We’d love to have full-time commitments, but also invite and welcome you based on your availability.
The basic task is to create notes that clarify key biblical terms and complexities for translators to reference as they are working. These notes will then be translated into dozens of major languages and integrated into our translationStudio mobile app for free download worldwide. Part of the art in this is to communicate simply, in ways that translate effectively cross culturally, so that the target translation is faithful to the original Scripture text.
I have often thought of the thousands of men and women who have seminary training, but who for various reasons are not using this training vocationally. This is a tremendously under-utilized pool of godly men and women that we would love to engage in advancing Bible translation. We also need people with biblical knowledge combined with editorial skills to serve within this team.
If you or someone you know fits this description, just email us or call Jennifer Cunneen toll-free at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9673). Jennifer has more information about the qualifications we are seeking and can connect you directly with our team that is already working on this strategy.
At this point, our team is close to completing translation notes for three books of the Bible. Our goal is to complete notes for at least a dozen by the end of September, and to complete notes for the entire Bible as soon as possible. The key is to expand this team sooner instead of later.
Will you help?
“What is man that you are mindful of him?” Psalm 8:4
As we sat robed on cushions, in a circle on the floor, the air was tense with anticipation. Even with doors locked and windows shrouded we spoke softly and carefully. This was our first meeting. All of us had traveled long distances, some at tremendous personal risk to meet with strangers. This was no small step of faith for anyone present.
We introduced ourselves to one another by telling our personal stories. In just a few moments it was painfully obvious that those from the USA grew up in a very different world than those from the Middle East. Painful because instead of peace there was war, instead of light there was darkness, instead of hope there was hopelessness. My gut wrenched as they described their lives before Christ.
Their conversions were dramatic. Secret conversations and vivid dreams led to bold confessions and personal sacrifice. The Holy Spirit is moving powerfully in their nations, with house churches multiplying beyond our imagination.
Included in their stories were the number of languages each spoke. One spoke five languages. Another spoke six. One spoke nine languages. Another admitted, with some embarrassment, that he spoke only three languages.
As I listened to their stories I was struck by how God changed their anger and pride into courage and deep humility. Each of them wondered aloud, “Who am I to bring God’s Word to my people?”
You will be reading and hearing more from Wycliffe Associates about how mobile technology is not only putting God’s Word within reach of people worldwide, but is enabling them to share in translating His Word into new languages.
Who are you and I to be God’s ambassadors? We are simply His servants. Your prayers, your service, and your stewardship are enabling God’s people to speed His Word to their families, their neighbors, and their nations. Thank you for sharing in making this possible!
It’s really all about the people.
During my first visit to this team in Nigeria, I noticed that the land between buildings on the center was being cultivated. It turned out that some of the Bible translation team members, including the Executive Director, had planted a garden to feed their families because they had worked for months without salary.
As my heart was breaking from the deplorable conditions of the dormitory, the afternoon training session dismissed and the translators danced and sang their way down the slope to their rooms.
Since those early days, we’ve helped these dear brothers and sisters in Christ overcome many limitations and increase their resources for ministry. Their humility and sacrifice is inspiring. It makes us want to do everything we can to help them.
Our immediate need is for a Program Manager to give leadership to our local team and support for our strategic partners. A quick survey of the news reveals that life and ministry in Nigeria is challenging—but few things of value are easy. We are looking for an individual, or couple, who is interested in investing their lives in making a difference in eternity for the people of Nigeria.
We need someone who is excited about working as part of an international team, with a commitment to working in partnership, a creative problem solver, with proven leadership experience. But in addition to professional abilities, we need someone who is available.
If you, or someone you know, would like to learn more about this opportunity to serve Bible translation in Nigeria just email us or call Judy Yon toll-free at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9673). Judy can give you more details regarding the job, the qualifications required, and connect you with our Nigeria team members.
With nearly 300 languages in Nigeria still without one verse of Scripture, we are praying and trusting that God has prepared someone precisely to respond to this opportunity and serve Him.
Thank you for helping us spread the Word!
NOTE: This is an update to my last post, entitled From Death to Life, in which I introduced this new translation project.
As I arrived at the retreat center in Asia, I was surprised to see our Wycliffe Associates team standing together talking in the driveway. I didn’t expect them to gather to greet me, and sure enough – they hadn’t! They had two good reasons for gathering there. First, they were standing in the sunshine trying to get warm. Overnight temperatures at that elevation were around 43°F. Second, by the time I arrived, during the second week of this translation strategy, the Ng* were off and running and didn’t need us slowing them down!
“You missed it.” That’s the way my team greeted me.
We had prayed and planned for 26 Ng translators to work together. For a variety of reasons, seven of those invited were unable to come. Then, at the last minute, six more backed out. That meant the Ng translation team was down to 13 – half the number we had hoped for.
As I’ve heard the story of the first week of the project, things got off to a rocky start. A few of the assembled attendees knew each other from attending the same Ng church, but most had never met. None of the Ng translators who translated Thessalonians this summer were able to return, so none of the attendees knew anything about the translation strategy our team introduced. So, on day one our team described the process, and the reception by the Ng attendees ranged from cool to cold.
Everyone was open to trying our strategy. They came to the project with humility, convinced of their own inabilities. One Ng person in particular was very concerned about accuracy, and another was worried that his poor memory would make him incapable. Yet when the assembled people heard the plan, they were convinced they were were very willing to give it a try.
Despite the Ng skepticism, our team encouraged them to step out in faith and give the translation strategy their best efforts. They had nothing to lose! They were open to the strategy and eager to begin. So, after a brief assessment of the Ng team members’ language skills, we divided them into four teams – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
The whole translation strategy is based on learning principles that have been tested and proven over a long period of time in a wide range of educational settings. The initial drafting process is deceptively simple. Each team member is assigned a different portion of the book. The translator reads a brief passage from the source language, long enough to include a whole thought but short enough to remember in short-term memory. Then they close their Bible and think about the passage in their own language. After a few moments they write the passage in Ng. After drafting the translation, they reopen their Bible and check to see whether they have unintentionally added, subtracted, or distorted the passage. If so, they revise. If not, they continue drafting. The goal is for each translator to draft and check 34 verses per day. Typically they were drafting during the mornings and then spending the afternoons and evenings in a five-step checking process.
They had actually drafted more, but during the checking process the Luke team discovered some problems and decided, appropriately, to correct them sooner instead of later.
There is a lot more I could write about this story, but time and space do not allow today. I’ll look for ways to do this in the coming days.
The bottom line is that with just half of the expected translators, by the end of the two-week strategy they drafted and checked Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and 1 & 2 Timothy! My team tells me this is 48% of the New Testament!
I need to quickly add that there is still a lot of work to do on these drafts. Although they have passed five phases of checking, including checking against the original Greek text, there are several challenges they have to work through to complete the drafts.
Since Ng has never been written until two weeks ago, they have not standardized their spellings. The word processing program they used to type the drafts doesn’t spell-check Ng. Once they reconcile the various spellings they will work through a search and replace function to standardize the spellings. In addition, Ng is a tonal language – but the alphabet they used doesn’t include tonal indicators. So, they need to settle on how they want to indicate tones. Ng also has three dialects, so they need to make a decision about how to address this in their translation.
Winter is coming hard and fast to the Himalayas, so it will be very difficult for them to communicate and collaborate in the coming months. However, at this point they are so exhilarated by the results they have created a plan to resolve the challenges I just described during the winter and then reconvene in April to finish drafting and checking the rest of the New Testament! They could have the first Ng New Testament printed, and recorded in audio, by next summer!
This is not the end of the story for either the Ng or for the parallel translation strategy. We have a rapidly expanding number of partners and languages who want to test this strategy as soon as is practical. Our 2015 calendar is quickly filling up! The great news about this is that it will not only increase the number of languages that have Bible translation in progress, it will also significantly expand the team of trained facilitators – meaning that even more languages can benefit in the years to come!
Who knows what God has in mind? At this point we are, together with the Ng believers, praising God and singing “Glory to God in the Highest”… for this is the very first Christmas they have the Christmas story in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John!
Thank you for caring about the Ng, and for sharing in making all this possible!
*For security reasons, we are using a pseudonym for the people group and their language.
This past June a remarkable thing happened. Ng* speaking Christians in Asia translated 1 and 2 Thessalonians from a gateway language into Ng for the very first time. Why is this remarkable? Read on.
The Ng language has been described as a case study of language death and grammatical attrition.
Apparently the Ng speakers didn’t get that memo. They speak the language every day, teach it to their children, and even have their own website for Ng speakers.
So, the Ng Christians decided to start translating the Bible into Ng. They didn’t ask permission. They didn’t wait for someone else to do it. They just did it.
The Ng church leaders were so thrilled to have 1 and 2 Thessalonians in their language they immediately decided to move forward to translate the entire New Testament into Ng – this year!
In fact . . . this week!
I’m currently in Asia with a team of people doing everything possible to help the Ng reach their goal.
How in the world can the Ng translate the entire New Testament so quickly?
Well, to be fair, they had a head start by getting 1 and 2 Thessalonians done this past June. That means they “only” have 25 New Testament books to finish!
But since this summer they have been praying, recruiting, organizing, and preparing multiple translation teams to translate the books of the New Testament simultaneously instead of sequentially.
Their goal is to finish drafting and quality checking the entire New Testament in Ng this week, then immediately publish it digitally in print and audio using Wycliffe Associates technology, so that every Ng speaker has access to the life-giving and life-changing power of God’s Word in their heart language.
From death to life—in Ng, for Ng speakers, for eternity!
Would you join me in praying for the Ng people today and in the coming days? Feel free to invite others to join in prayer support. Send them a link to my blog so they can connect for themselves.
I am scheduled to depart Asia in four days. My goal will be to send you a progress report within a week to let you know how God is answering your prayers—and the prayers of the Ng people.
* For security reasons, we are using a pseudonym for the people group and their language. Please pray for their work and the safety of their families!
After a difficult season of unrest, the door is again opening to serve dozens of people groups in the Central African Republic (CAR) who are still without Scripture. We are looking for someone with a unique combination of vision, skills, and commitment to join the Bible translation team in CAR.
Bible translation has been underway in the CAR for many years, but multiple challenges need to be overcome in order to accelerate the progress. The local partners in Bible translation, ACATBA, recently negotiated an agreement granting them ownership and management responsibility for a complex of facilities in Bangui that will serve the support and training needs of translation teams working throughout this nation. The opportunity before us is to maximize the use of these facilities for a new season of impact for God’s Word through the church in the CAR.
We are recruiting an individual, or couple, to work within the ACATBA team bringing leadership to the management and development of these facilities. While initially this role will require significant hands-on involvement, it is essential that the Center Manager trains and mentors local Central Africans to carry this responsibility. An experienced work force is already in place, but needs leadership to increase their effectiveness.
The Center Manager will work closely with the ACATBA Executive Director and team to develop and implement a master plan for facility use and ministry operations. Wycliffe Associates’ team and resources are available to complement the local team.
The ability to work sensitively, comfortably, and effectively in a cross-cultural context is essential. A working knowledge of French would be valuable.
If you, or someone you know, would like to learn more about this opportunity to advance Bible translation in Central Africa just email us or phone Judy Yon toll-free at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9673). Judy will give you more details about the qualifications and job requirements, and can put you in contact with the team in CAR.
Thank you for helping us find the right person for this job!
The Challenge: more than 700 African languages have been identified as needing to begin Bible translation. Perhaps hundreds more languages that are beyond the reach of previous surveys also need Scripture. This year Wycliffe Associates’ goal is to launch new Bible translations in at least 20 languages in Africa.
You may be the key person to meet this challenge!
We are recruiting a Language Program Facilitator to work directly with African churches, church networks, and language communities to launch Bible translation in new languages. As part of our Africa Area team, this person will share in responding to strategic opportunities in high-priority locations and improving our understanding of the current status of Bible translation in these countries.
Previous experience working with multi-cultural teams would be extremely valuable. We need someone with high respect for local church leadership, strong communication skills, action oriented problem solving skills, and a commitment to see God’s Word change lives sooner instead of later. Aptitude to learn and apply emerging computer solutions to support translation is essential, as new technical tools are rapidly developing.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about this opportunity, just email us or phone Judy Yon toll-free at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9673). Judy will give you more details about the qualifications required, a detailed job description, and connect you with our Africa Area Director to explore the possibilities.
Please forward this email to anyone you know that may know someone who should hear about this opportunity to immediately advance Bible translation in Africa.
Thank you for helping spread the Word!
Note: This is the third in a series of updates about translationStudio, Wycliffe Associates’ new Android app and an exciting new project. The first post described how the app is relevant in the world of evangelism and Bible translation. The second post explained what translationStudio is and does.
As Bible translation moves increasingly into the hands of the local churches that God has raised up among the nations of the world, their earnest desire is to increase their unity with the global body of Christ. They are thirsty for God’s Word and see collaboration in Bible translation as an opportunity to learn from the scriptural understanding of their brothers and sisters in Christ.
translationStudio is a tool to connect the global body of Christ through His Word. Here’s how:
Along with each verse of Scripture and paragraph of a Bible story, there is a resource page that provides an explanation of key terms and translation challenges that occur in the passage. These resources are being developed by an expanding team of experienced translators and Bible scholars to assure that local translators have everything they need to succeed in their work. In years past, the only way to provide these resources was for the Bible scholars to personally travel to the village or teach in a local seminary. Computer technology now enables us to deliver these vital resources globally.
These biblical resources are initially included as text, but in upcoming versions of translationStudio we plan to add video and even “live” options to link local translators to experienced Bible scholars and translators via the Internet.
As we develop these resources, we are drawing from the wealth of biblical materials that already exist but are unavailable to most of the world due to copyright limitations. Every resource included in translationStudio will be released under Creative Commons: Attribution/Share-Alike licensing that allows free translation into any language.
Our short-term goal is to have all of the biblical source text and related resources available in translationStudio in 50 gateway languages.
To learn more about how you can be involved in this strategy to speed God’s Word to the world, just give us a call toll-free at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9673) or email us!
“Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.” 1 Corinthians 12:14 (NIV)
Beautiful. This is the word that comes first to my mind when I think of Papua New Guinea.
Papua New Guinea includes lush tropical islands with towering mountains, plunging waterfalls, emerald jungles, and crystal blue coastal waters. But the real beauty is in the people—and this job is about coming alongside the local people.
We are recruiting a Finance Manager to serve with the Bible Translation Association of Papua New Guinea as a mentor and trainer for local staff serving in this area of responsibility.
While the Finance Manager is responsible for the day-to-day accounting and financial management, the primary goal will be to increase the capacity of our Papua New Guinean partners.
On the finance side of this responsibility, increasing sources for local funding is a key to long-term sustainability. This will involve both effective engagement of local churches as well as developing complementary business strategies to provide additional revenue sources.
Papua New Guinea is in the South Pacific, just north of Australia. This position is located in the capital city of Port Moresby on the south coast of the main island. The working language at the Bible Translation Association is English.
If you or someone you know is interested to learn more about this opportunity, just call Ruben Garay toll-free at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9673). Ruben will discuss the qualifications required for this position as well as connect you to our local team in Port Moresby.
With over 200 languages in PNG still without one verse of Scripture, the future of Bible translation here depends on equipping Papua New Guineans to effectively tackle this challenge.
You can play a part in bringing the Bible to these 200+ Bibleless languages! Call Ruben Garay today at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9673).