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Published on 07 May, 2007

Bible Translation Expands on New Ireland Island in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea (MNN) — Bible translation in New Ireland, Papua New Guinea, is getting a boost.  

Wycliffe Associates' President and CEO Bruce Smith says, "Wycliffe Associates is just starting a new partnership effort that's going to give about 15 languages some additional Scripture in their languages in the next few years."

New Ireland is just off the coast of mainland Papua New Guinea, in the South Pacific. It's a tiny island that is taking an innovative approach to translating the Scriptures into complex languages. Nationals are receiving training and doing the work.

The story of New Ireland began with translators Ed and Debi Condra. They arrived on New Ireland in 1984 and committed themselves to translating God's Word for the Patpatar people.  They finally completed a New Testament in 1998 after some 14 years of hard work. But the Patpatar people then wanted the Old Testament translated into their language, and they also wanted to see God's Word translated into the other languages and dialects of New Ireland. As a result, dozens of local people came forward not only wanting to help translate the Old Testament into their own language, but they also wanted to provide a way for these other language groups to receive God's Word in their own language.

Wycliffe Associates heard about the need and sent volunteers. Smith says, "We had teams that were there in January and February. And we put that together in the early months of this year. The next thing we're doing is to look at expanding the facility so that they can really have all of the space that they need for this large group."

Just last month they had 49 national translators all in one room working on 15 different translations.   

While the facility is completed, Wycliffe Associates is doing even more to support their work. "Our role is to provide volunteer technical and administrative support for all of these groups that are working on their translations. We're also investing directly in the direct costs related to the translations," says Smith.

The New Ireland Translation Institute is a model of the power of partnership. The project involves not only the New Ireland Translation Institute and Wycliffe Associates but also The Seed Company–a ministry started in the early 1990s designed to link mother-tongue translators with financial and prayer partners.

Smith says the construction isn't completed, though. "We're right now raising about $50,000 for the next building project needed to finish out the New Ireland Training Institute."

If you'd like to help Wycliffe Associates, click here.

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  • Primary Language: English
  • Primary Religion: Christianity
  • Evangelical: 25.7%
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