South Asia (MNN) — The driving passion of Wycliffe Bible Translators is to see God’s Word made available in every language and as fast as possible. Pursuing that end, Wycliffe and a number of other Bible translation organizations realized it would be a long time before every language needing the Bible would have it available to them. So they formed a partnership and are launching out in creative, different approaches to the large task at hand.
‘Trevor’ and his wife ‘Sam’ work in Southern Asia with Wycliffe, where they’re employing these different approaches to translation work. They’re starting by learning the national language and then training nationals to do the translation work. When a need for Bible translation arises, Trevor will use the training he has received in order to train the nationals, being a facilitator to many rather than a translator to one.
Trevor says, “The hope is that we as foreigners become trainers and facilitators and consultants, instead of actually doing the translation work as has been done in the past.”
It’s facilitating faster translation, by empowering nationals to do the work, says Trevor, and “The hope is that we can get three or four languages that are very similar to come together at one time, with a few representatives, that I could train them in translation skills. They can be together to encourage each other and work together on different things that come up, different issues, like key terms and other stuff like that. And then they’ll go back to their own people group, their own language, to go work on the actual translation project.”
Throughout the process, Wycliffe will keep a close relationship with the translators, ensuring translation accuracy and consistency.
Sam is taking on the literacy work side of things. She says that it’s exciting to see the work reach further than just what she alone could do. “The reason why it’s really exciting where we’re working is that instead of me being one literacy worker to one language, me and the other literacy workers then are able to service many different languages in the country. And just like the translation side, we’re doing it as a team, and so in that way it’s not like an isolated effort, but then we can be able to reach out to a lot more groups, use the resources that we have and connect with more people that way.”
In addition, Sam says, it will also build partnerships and empower people to do the literacy work themselves. “So I and other national colleagues, would be training, in the national language, minority peoples on how to develop literacy materials for their own people groups, and that can be catered then to the different groups that there are in the country, and their different levels of need and population and demographics and stuff like that.”
It’s about training and empowering nationals to do translation and literacy work themselves.
More than 3500 language groups still need a translation project started, an impossible task unless God is in it, says Trevor. The cohort of Bible translation organizations established “Vision 2025” with the goal of a starting a Bible translation project in every people group that needs it by the year 2025. The various groups are sharing resources and partnering together, Trevor says, because they really want to see it happen.
“It’s exciting and different because it’s partnering with lots of different people and organizations,” says Sam, “and we’re working together, so it’s not so individualistic. We need to use more creative strategies and have the work be done by a lot of people, and not just us.’
As Wycliffe and the other groups move forward with Vision 2025, continue to pray for both the translation trainers and the translators themselves, that God would spread His Word to all people.