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.