Posts Tagged ‘translators’

“Bible translation is not for people who are perfect. It is not for people who have it all. [It is for] people who know [God] and want to work in faith with him. And then their lives will be unfolding into beauty –– into something very beautiful.”

Lydia Teera was only a teenager in Kampala, Uganda, when she lost her father to HIV. His death left her orphaned, but it also left her confused, frustrated and betrayed. Lydia had not known that her father was battling the disease. He had kept it a secret from her and the church community in which he served for his entire life.

In the wake of Mr. Teera’s passing, Pastor Tim Kibirige and his wife provided Lydia with a home. Though they did not have much to offer her in the way of financial support, what they did offer is something that changed her life forever –– the healing power of God’s Word. While living with the pastor and his wife, Lydia began to study the Bible. She came face-to-face with God, the giver of all hope. As a result, Lydia began to slowly heal from the scars of her past. But through reading Scripture, she was also able to look toward the future with purpose. In the comforting arms of her Heavenly Father, Lydia found the home she had lost.

As she studied the Bible, Lydia grew more and more passionate about serving God in any way she could. God led her to Wycliffe Bible Translators, where Lydia became the first Wycliffe missionary sent out from Uganda. Initially she grappled with the decision to become a missionary. But as Lydia prayed, she recognized an important truth. “I’m part of a church,” she reminded herself. “And we’ve been called to go and serve. Then why not go?”


Lydia, like many others, grasped the mission of Bible translation. She realized how much God had changed her own heart and life through Scripture. Today she is still committed to share that vision, purpose and hope with the people around her.

Each December 1 is recognized as World AIDS Day –– an opportunity for people around the world to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS. And though it may only have been a piece of Lydia’s story, through encountering and grieving this disease, God drew Lydia into a relationship with himself and ultimately allowed her to share her story with many others. He took Lydia’s broken circumstances and unfolded them into beauty, as only he can.

On the surface, it might seem like Bible translation has little to do with World AIDS Day. After all, the Bible is not a medical manual, written to save the body. But for those suffering from the pain of HIV/AIDS, God’s Word offers something that no doctor can provide — hope and healing for eternity.

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“Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens. May your glory shine over all the earth.” – Psalm 57:5 (NLT)

This verse wasn’t just the theme for this year’s Scripture Celebration –– it was also the prayer and longing of the hearts of everyone in attendance.

On September 30, a Scripture Celebration took place not only at Wycliffe USA Headquarters, but all around the world, thanks to live-stream! (If you missed the celebration, you can watch it here.). It was a morning filled with rejoicing through worship, video testimonials, photos and stories as we celebrated with sixteen different language communities around the world who have recently received Scripture. On a vibrant display at the front of the stage were copies of Scriptures from each language community — some now have access to the Psalms or the Book of Luke, while others have complete Old or New Testaments. And some now have the entire Bible in their own language!

Testimonies from a few of the language communities represented were shared throughout the morning as well. There were stories from the Culina in Peru –– a group who waited 60 years from the time translation began until the time the New Testament was delivered into their hands in July of 2015. One Wycliffe couple, Dick and Nadine Clark, have been praying for this particular translation project for 40 years!

“I hope I have the opportunity to pray for something for that long,” Hannah Weiand expressed as she talked about the Culina from the stage. “Be it just one translation project or be it this work in general, I want prayer to be part of my legacy. … We need to continue praying, because the work is not done. And at the same time we’re praying, we can rejoice because of all of the translations we have today.”

There were also stories from the Kandawo in Papua New Guinea, a relatively small language community who number around 5,000. In a video, the Kandawo expressed their joy at receiving the Scriptures in their own language through a skit. This skit depicted what it feels like to receive God’s Word in a language that is not your own and doesn’t speak to your heart. But then, the Kandawo exemplified, through the acting of the skit, what happened when they received the Bible in the language that spoke to their heart: joy, hope, thanksgiving and defeat over their spiritual enemy. It was a beautiful display of what God’s Word truly means to those who receive it in their language for the first time.

Amid worship songs, testimonials and beautiful photographs, the Scripture Celebration reminded everyone in attendance of the reason the lives and hearts of so many have been changed –– prayer. The event was rooted in prayer for language communities around the world –– both those who have already received the gospel in their own language, and especially those who haven’t.

Praise God for events like the Scripture Celebration that remind us to pause and take time to be thankful for how he continues to work in the lives of people around the world. May his glory shine over all the earth!

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School is out, and summer has now begun! It’s a season filled with family, fun and new adventures. Kate and Mack want to be a part of all your adventures, from family trips to VBS and outings with friends. And we want to see all of the fun they’ve had with you!

On June 28 we’re launching a Travel Kate photo contest on social media. Sounds like fun, right? Your kids can print, cut and color their Travel Kate and take her along to all the fun places you go. (Wondering who Kate is? Click here to meet her!)


Just snap some cute or creative pictures of Travel Kate (with or without your kids in the picture) and share on social media using the hashtag #KateandMack. Don’t forget to tag Wycliffe USA in the photo! Each week a winner will receive a free A-Z Map from our shop, and at the end of the seven-week contest there will be one grand prize winner too. (Stay tuned! We’ll announce the grand prize at a later date.)

We hope you join in on the fun this summer by sharing your Travel Kate photos and following along to see all the places Kate goes!

Let’s recap the details:

What: Travel Kate photo contest!
When: June 28-Aug. 15
Where: Everywhere your family spends time together this summer (the more unique the location, the better!)
How: Post your photos on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with #KateandMack and tag Wycliffe USA.


Contest Rules:

  • Posts must be public, include #KateandMack and tag Wycliffe USA in order to participate.
  • Your family doesn’t have to be included in the photo, but Travel Kate does!
  • All photos submitted may be shared publicly by Wycliffe USA’s various social media accounts. By participating, you give Wycliffe USA permission to share your photo entries publicly.
  • There is no cap on the number of photos you can submit or the number of times you can win, so keep posting throughout the contest!

 Click here to print your Travel Kate and get started!


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“We would like to find the [Dâw] tribe. Where are these [Dâw]?” missionary Valtier Martins said when he first arrived in the Amazonas town of São Gabriel, Brazil.

He was answered with a laugh.

“Ok, the first person you find there in the street, fallen down, drunk—that’s a [Dâw],” was the reply.

Valtier finally located the Dâw and began living among them, teaching God’s Word. Several of them were wary of the foreigner. They had long been exploited by the plantation owners they worked for, and they assumed the missionary would do the same.

But this outsider was different. He and nearly a dozen others taught them God’s Word over the course of many years.

“Everything began getting better little by little because we were listening to the Word of God,” deacon Célio Dâw said. “And God kept giving us more and more strength.”

Click here to watch a video in which Célio and three other Dâw men tell their stories of how God spoke to them, drawing them out of despair and drunkenness to spiritual leadership. Today, the Dâw have grown from sixty to one hundred and twenty people who are respected in their community.




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God’s Word brings change to three language communities.

The Ubangi Cluster project serves three language communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): Mono, Ngbandi-Ngiri, and Pagabete. In addition to supporting this translation work, gifts to the Worldwide Projects Fund also support literacy training and the production of vernacular materials like song books. Although full New Testament translations are not yet complete, the impact of God’s Word in the mother tongue can already be seen in each community.Unity

Mono translators receive regular encouragement from local churches. One Christian brother wrote, “May the Holy Spirit Who guided the authors of the holy Scriptures be with you so that God’s voice can be heard for the salvation of our people by this great translation project.”

A Mono woman named Mado Mowuyo Yokane was overjoyed after attending a Ubangi Cluster literacy course. She said, “I was married with four children, but my husband rejected me because I couldn’t read and write. So my children and I went back to my parents. When I found out that the Mono project included literacy without any age restriction, I went along for the adventure with those younger than myself. I thank God—the Lord of time and opportunity—for blessing us with this project.”

In Ngbandi-Ngiri, the translation is breaking down clan barriers and uniting members of various denominations. One individual said, “Truly the Word of God translated in Ngbandi has become very clear, even without anybody explaining it.”

Mr. Kombele, who is involved in checking the Pagabete translation, said he was delighted by one outcome of having Scripture in his language. “Encouraged by friends, I have begun to pray in Pagabete, which for me was difficult,” he said.

Please join us in praying for the Ubangi Cluster project as it nears a completion date of September 2014. Translation teams are encountering challenges that include a lack of electricity, physical illness, and unrest in their language areas.

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We’re thrilled to introduce our latest video—Portrait of Bible Translation!

Bible translation takes more than just translators. It’s a team effort, and many service roles are in areas you would probably never expect. Watch this video to find out how God can use you to reach people with His Word. And if you believe Bible translation takes a diverse team, please share the video with your friends!


Visit wycliffe.org/go to find your place in Bible translation.

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By Bob Creson, President/CEO

In a Biola University classroom in Southern California, something is happening that just a few years ago would have been impossible.

Professor Rick Floyd sits down at his computer and sends a Google Hangout* invitation to the Wanca Quechua translation team in Peru. With Rick in the classroom are three graduate students completing their M.A. degrees in Linguistics and Biblical Languages, and this seminar taught by Rick is the capstone course for the program. In addition to these three, several former students in various parts of the U.S. are participating through the internet as well.

Before Rick became the co-director of Biola’s Summer Institute of Linguistics program, he and his wife, Melanie, spent 26 years with the Wanca people helping them translate Scripture into their language. Now an innovative use of technology is allowing him, along with these graduate students, to contribute to the Wanca Old Testament project while simultaneously training new workers for the worldwide Bible translation ministry.

The agenda this morning is a review of Joshua chapter 6 (Joshua and the fall of Jericho). The students have carefully prepared for the session by studying a “back translation” of the chapter—a version of the text in Spanish, translated back from the Wanca version and reflecting as much Wanca grammar and vocabulary as possible. Using their knowledge of Spanish, and drawing on their studies in theology, exegesis, biblical languages, and linguistics, the students have identified spots they think might need to be better translated.Seminar students with Wanca team

A large screen in the classroom suddenly springs to life as the Wanca team responds to the Hangout invitation. Separated by more than 4000 miles, the two teams begin to interact “face to face,” with Rick facilitating the discussion. Rick conveys student questions to the Wancas and discusses with them, often in their language, the nuances of the Hebrew original and their translation. He keeps the students involved by switching back to Spanish as needed.

The Wanca translators record the revisions. When they finish the chapter, the Wancas print copies of the revised draft and read the entire chapter out loud. They discuss some questionable spots with Rick, make a few more revisions, and then sign off, promising to be back next week to work on chapter 7.

Rick says the Wancas would continue to translate whether they received any help or not, but they are very grateful for the input. The students raise pertinent questions and often bring to light issues that the translation team missed. Sometimes the conversation leads the translators to significantly tweak the direction of the translation.

And sometimes it’s the other way around—the student consulting team’s knowledge and understanding are tweaked. The students are continually coming face to face with issues raised by the nature of the target language and culture—issues that never come up in their theology and exegesis classes. As they are coached by a senior SIL translation consultant, the students are gaining eye-opening and exhilarating first-hand experience by working on a real translation project, in a seamless integration of training and recruiting!

What’s so unique about this translation program? Capturing the best of current translation strategies, it is leveraging available technology; it’s building on the work already done in the translation of the New Testament; it reflects an emerging model for translation where the goals for the program are driven by the target community and led by mother-tongue translators; it’s creatively using available personnel spread across geography and time zones—people with education and skills but no previous on-the-ground translation experience.

Cheaper, faster, better quality—that’s the kind of Old Testament the Wanca people are getting. And it’s just one example of the innovation, enthusiasm, and teamwork that is accelerating the pace of Bible translation, taking us ever closer to the day when people everywhere will be able to engage with accurate, understandable Scriptures.

*Google Hangout is an internet video chat service somewhat like Skype.



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