New manual would improve translation speed and efficiency

By September 13, 2012

Sub-Saharan Africa (MNN) — SIL International, primary language development partner of Wycliffe Bible Translators, is working on a manual that will make translation work in Africa faster and more efficient.

There are at least 500 Bantu languages spoken by over 60 million people in sub-Saharan Africa. Many Bantu languages spoken in eastern and southern Africa share linguistic features like syllable structure and tone. Translation personnel observed that leveraging these similarities would improve literacy and translation work. They established the Comparative Bantu Narrative Discourse Project, an initiative that develops tools and materials to accomplish this goal.

Part of the initiative is a manual explaining ways in which Bantu languages differ from Greek and Hebrew. It also describes the ways Bantu languages differ from each other. This would allow translators to use one Bantu language as a "source text" to translate the rest, allowing many to hear God's Word in their heart language for the first time.

The manual will be based on 15 Bantu languages spoken in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Kenya.

Steve Nicolle with SIL International will be working on the first draft of the Comparative Bantu Narrative Discourse Manual. Pray that the draft will be completed before the end of the year.

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