Over the past two weeks, the Nyungwe translation office has been extra busy. We have had a visiting Bible translation consultant working through the book of Hebrews with the team. Jim is part of the Seed Company which heads up the funding of the Nyungwe Bible Translation. His role is to visit our team and assure that the translation is faithful and natural. He keeps the team accountable for the key terms they are using. He brings lots of knowledge of Greek. He looks at the text objectively as an outsider- when you have worked through a text from the beginning, you sometimes become blind to your own errors. His questions really help the team to be SURE they have done the best job possible. Now he has left them with a stack of homework: several issues that need to be corrected, checked with revisers or confirmed before moving along.
Consultants like Jim are a real necessity for all Bible translations. Here in about 9 countries of southern Africa, there is a shortage of consultants to draw from. These guys need to understand how the Bible communicates to Africa. They need to understand how African languages work to communicate to their people. They need a good knowledge of Greek or Hebrew. They need to be good at nit-picking through texts and working in several languages at a time! They cover everything from the “big picture” of the story of the Bible, to the smallest detail of Bantu grammar. In a time when most Bible translation programs are running without any resident missionaries in this region, the consultant encourages the team to keep going when it gets tough and helps them wade through the steps towards completing well!
The Nyungwe program is getting some priority “booking” since this is our LAST year- only a few more books need to be Consultant-checked! We will see Jim again in March for 1 & 2 Peter, 2 & 3 John, Jude and Revelation! Please pray for the consultants who are responsible for making sure translations speak clearly to the many language groups.
*Little Zebra Books Veronica and I visited the team last week to give the team some new children’s books based on Bible texts provided by the Nyungwe Bible translation project. I will write about how these two programs benefit each other in a post later on.