Posts Tagged ‘Training’

Nigeria is one of three areas with the greatest remaining need for Bible translation in the world. With 512 languages spoken across the country, more than 300 languages still need a translation started. If the goal of seeing a Bible translation in progress in every language that needs it by the year 2025 is to be accomplished, Nigerian Christians will have to play a critical role. The biggest need centers on training and equipping Nigerians to serve in key roles as translators, linguists, recording specialists and more.

In 2005 the Theological College of Northern Nigeria established a four-year bachelor of arts program in Bible translation. Several years later a two-year advanced master’s program and a one-year postgraduate diploma were added. Currently, more than 35 Nigerians are enrolled in these programs.

In addition to specialized courses targeting Bible translation, the linguistics and translation department has provided reliable Internet connection, back-up generator power, printers and a well-stocked library. To date, graduates from the program have had an impact in more than 33 Nigerian languages, and are ready to assume leadership roles in all aspects of Bible translation.

One of the second year students in the Linguistics and Translation Department, Samuel*, was struggling with the question of whether doing Bible translation in minority languages was really worthwhile.

During the Field Assignment part of his training, he was stranded in the village in which he was working due to unrest, unable to communicate with the outside world. He saw one villager killed and another forced to flee for his life; these were men who had helped him on translation.

God used this situation to renew Samuel’s vision for the work of Bible translation. He realized that he had to complete the work God had called him to, so that every people group has the hope of God’s Word in a language they understand. Now his wife desires to join him in this ministry and plans to complete the same degree when Samuel has finished his studies.

In addition to degree-level training, another project offers up to 20 workshops per year, providing training in translation, Scripture use, literacy and language software topics. These workshops serve our partner organizations in Nigeria and help provide better quality support for Bible translation projects as well as allowing flexibility to respond to specific training needs as they arise.

Support Wycliffe’s translation and literacy efforts.


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The Teapu Bible Translation Program in Papua New Guinea was started in the mid-fifties by missionaries who, with the help of the first Teapu pastors, translated the books of Mark, Galatians, Philippians, Ephesians, and 1–3 John. The translated portions were used effectively for several decades, but eventually the language began to change, and today’s generation doesn’t understand the original language very well.

A modern revision of the Teapu Scripture portions is underway. Teapu translators recently attended a training course where they focused on Mark 1–10, revising the chapters, checking them, publishing the text, and recording it in audio format.

The chapters were then presented and dedicated at two local churches, and the pastors and congregations gave feedback that greatly encouraged the translation team. One church member said, “Reading Mark from my tongue is reading from my heart. I understand everything I read. I do not have to look for the meaning of the word as I do in English.”

Another agreed, saying, “I was so happy to read God’s Word in my language. I have only been reading in Tok Pisin*, and it wasn’t clear, but now everything is so clear!”

His Words are Their Joy

The youth of one church enjoyed hearing the translated Scripture so much that they didn’t want the translator to stop sharing. The youth leader said, “All the youth were very happy to hear the translator teach in the local language; they were very interested in hearing God’s Word in our language.”

Your donations through the Worldwide Projects Fund have made a difference in the lives of the Teapu people. In the words of Aileen, a Teapu translator, “Thank you for your support. It’s not being wasted. People are seeing and feeling the importance of Scripture in their language. It is changing lives and cultures both physically and spiritually.”

*Tok Pisin is an official language of Papua New Guinea, and the most widely used language in the country.

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By Tim Scott and Richard Gretsky

A Giant Goes Home - Ainde Translating 2Ainde Wainzo’s face was framed by grey hair and a full beard. He was diminutive in size, but a giant when it came to translation.

When at his computer, three languages shown on the screen: English, Greek, and his beloved Angaatiha. With a delighted smile or a determined brow, Ainde embraced the challenge of clarifying God’s Word so people could clearly understand it in Angaatiha, their heart language and his.


He spent over thirty years translating the Angaatiha New Testament, and his diligence paid off. In 2004, his team joyfully celebrated with the rest of their language group, located in Morobe Province, as they dedicated their completed New Testament.


In the nine years since that day, Ainde worked even harder to complete the Old Testament. Believing thatA Giant Goes Home - Ainde with Award Papua New Guineans are essential participants in the process of translating the Scriptures into their own languages, he continued to learn all he could to assist him in translation. Recently, he completed yet another course at the Ukarumpa Training Centre, where he learned to use Paratext, a tool to assist him in translation.


A Giant Goes Home - Ainde Translating 3
Then, on August 1st, suddenly Ainde died, leaving behind both a body long plagued by chronic asthma and a legacy as a gentle, patient man with a passion for translating God’s Word. He is survived by his family (wife, daughter, and two sons), colleagues, teammates, and friends. Although they miss him greatly, they are rejoicing that he is with Jesus, and that, while there, he has likely received two words of Scripture directly from their Author—“well” and “done.” No translation necessary.



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Earlier this year, Ivan and Jesse Dishman attended Wycliffe’s new missionary training and told the story of how they decided to serve God in Papua New Guinea. We enjoyed hearing it so much that we wanted to share it:

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Dr. Andy Alo, a graduate and lecturer at Africa International University (AIU)* speaks five languages. However, it is his mother tongue, Lugbarati, that holds a valuable place in his heart.

Getting involved in Bible translation

Andy pursued a degree in education with a major in teaching languages in Bunia, a city in northeastern DRC. While studying there, he met a young woman, Yvette, in the church choir, who would eventually become his wife.

Soon after finishing at university, he began teaching French with the conviction that education was the best way to help people to live more meaningful lives.  However, a friend studying at AIU in Nairobi, Kenya, told Andy about the Master’s degree program in Bible translation at the university.

“Then, I realized that the Word of God was the true light people needed for an everlasting joy and life,” said Andy who decided to enroll in the program at AIU.

After graduation, he and Yvette returned to Congo where Andy worked as a translation advisor on Congolese Bible translation and language projects. He also taught an introductory course in translation principles to other translators and linguists at a local teacher training college.

“Being an African gave me the ability to explain things from the inside,” he said. “Because I speak [those languages], as well as share the worldviews, I was able to help translators solve some of the challenges they face.”


After five years, they felt motivated to do something more:  multiply themselves. They returned once again to Nairobi and AIU.  This time Andy did doctoral level studies in translation and research. In a few short years, Andy was encouraged to join the teaching staff in AIU’s Translation Department. He is now one of several lecturers in the department.

One of the courses Andy teaches is program planning—a course designed to help students understand how to plan a Bible translation and language development program.

In one of his recent classes, his students engaged in a discussion regarding the methodology of entering a new people group who did not yet have the Scripture in their mother tongue.

Many people in Africa speak at least three languages. Those who attend school learn a national language like French or English, in addition to the trade language of their region and their mother tongue. However, Andy and his students all agreed that when the Bible is only offered in a national or trade language, it is deficient.

“Many people may be multilingual,” Andy said, “but their level of knowledge in those languages is not as deep as the knowledge they have in their mother tongue. The Word of God is more successfully communicated when it’s done in the native language.”

Through teaching, Andy is multiplying his knowledge and experience by helping people to have a meaningful part in Bible translation projects. His knowledge of language and personal experience with Bible translation make him an excellent fit for his role at AIU and an important part of Bible translation.

“It is one thing to lament over the spiritual and socio-cultural misery of the marginalized ethnic groups who do not have the privilege of reading the Word of God,” said Andy.  “It is another thing to get involved, one way or another, in taking the Word to them. I have chosen the second option because I know that reading the Word and living by it will make a difference in their lives.”

* AIU was formerly known as Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (NEGST)

Photo by Taylor Martyn

Content and the photograph for this article were provided by staff from African Inland Mission’s On Field Media team (AIM-OFM). See more of their stories on www.aimstories.com. This story was written for the Wycliffe News Network of the Wycliffe Global Alliance.

Read a longer version of this story. 

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