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Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada

Summer 2012

Fighting HIV-AIDS
with Kande
A Scripture-based storybook about a little
girl dispels myths about HIV-AIDS and
fuels compassion for its victims.

Race Engages Young Men + Scriptures for 40 Languages + Note to Self: Pray for Translators
Summer 2012 Volume 30 Number 2
Word Alive, which takes its name from Hebrews 4:12a,
is the official publication of Wycliffe Bible Translators
of Canada. Its mission is to inform, inspire and involve
the Christian public as partners in the worldwide
Bible translation movement. Hope in the Midst of HIV-AIDS
Editor: Dwayne Janke
Design: Laird Salkeld Dwayne Janke
Senior Staff Writer: Doug Lockhart
Staff Writer: Janet Seever

Staff Photographers: Alan Hood, Natasha Schmale
few months ago, Word Alive writer Doug Lockhart and photog-
Word Alive is published four times annually by
Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada, 4316 10 St NE, rapher Alan Hood took youvia the pages of our magazine
Calgary AB T2E 6K3. Copyright 2012 by Wycliffe (see Fall 2011)to the trauma-filled African nation of the
Bible Translators of Canada. Permission to reprint Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They reported on how trauma
articles and other magazine contents may be healing workshops and materials, created by Wycliffe staff, are bring-
obtained by written request to the editor. A ing hope and healing to many Congolese. But emotional trauma in
donation of $20 annually is suggested to cover
the cost of printing and mailing the magazine. that war-torn country has a dreadful colleaguethe HIV-AIDS virus.
(Donate online or use the reply form in this issue.) Once again, Wycliffe personnel have created materialsthis time, the
Printed in Canada by McCallum Printing Group, Kandes Story bookletto assist the people there and in a growing
Edmonton. number of other nations. And once again, Doug and Alan tell the story.
Member: The Canadian Church Press, Evangelical On their trip, Doug and Alan were privileged to meet several
Press Association.
For additional copies: Congolese believers in the city of Bunia who are working hard to com-
To contact the editor: bat the spread of HIV-AIDS in their region. Armed with translations of
For address updates: Kandes Story and related educational seminars, theyre equipping their
countrymen to protect themselves from the HIV virus.
However, these brothers and sisters in Christ work in extremely
harsh conditions, due largely to a devastating war over two decades
that killed millions and crippled an already-ailing infrastructure.
The plight of DRCs people was clearly seen when Alan and Doug
accompanied some of these Congolese Christians to visit a community
garden on the outskirts of Bunia.
On our way home, we made an unscheduled
Wycliffe serves minority language groups worldwide Jesus is interested stop at a packed medical clinic that had just opened
that morning, recalls Doug. Inside, a small crowd
by fostering an understanding of Gods Word through
Bible translation, while nurturing literacy, education in the physical and had gathered to dedicate it to God and pray for
and stronger communities.
spiritual well-being badly-needed supplies and medicine. Community
members are battling malaria, intestinal parasites,
Canadian Head Office: 4316 10 St NE, Calgary AB T2E
6K3. Phone: (403) 250-5411 or toll free 1-800-463-1143,
of all humankind. respiratory problemsand HIVbut the only ser-
8:30 a.m.4:30 p.m. mountain time. Fax: (403) 250-
2623. Email: French speakers: Call toll
That is why Wycliffe vice the clinic could offer them that morning was to
weigh their babies. (See related photo on page 20.)
free 1-877-747-2622 or email does what it does. With medicine in short supply, prevention is cru-
Cover: Holding a Swahili translation of Kandes cial to conquer HIV-AIDS. The Kandes Story booklet
Story, a Congolese woman listens intently during a and seminars are helping DRCs people protect
HIV-AIDS workshop in the Democratic Republic of themselves and their families. But they provide much more than medi-
Congo. Photo by Alan Hood.
cal facts about the pandemic.
Theyre helping people throughout DRC to know God and apply
biblical principles to their lives, explains Doug. For those already
infected by HIV, Kandes Story offers the hope found only in Christ.
Jesus, the Great Physician, is interested in the physical as well as the
spiritual well-being of all humankind.
That is why Wycliffe does what it doesserves minority language
groups worldwide by fostering an understanding of Gods Word
In Others Words through Bible translation, while nurturing literacy, education and
[The Bible is a] most wondrous book! stronger communities.
Bright candle of the Lord! Star of Eternity!
The only star by which the bark [boat] of In this issue, we introduce a new column under an old name.
humans can navigate the sea of life, and Beyond Words is now the title for a new department in Word Alive
gain the coast of bliss securely. giving insights into the challenging Bible translation process (see pg.
Robert Pollok (1798-1827), 24). Our existing department that features a parting shot photo each
Scottish minister and author of the issue is now called A Thousand Words (after the old adage).
epic poem The Course of Time,
tracing mankinds religious history.

Articles by Doug Lockhart Photographs by Alan Hood

6 Armed and Generous

Congolese believers use a Scripture-based booklet to dispel
myths about HIV-AIDS and fuel compassion for its victims.

14 Small Book, Big Impact

Kandes Story is often the first AIDS-education resource in
local languages where Bible translation and literacy
efforts are underway.

Field of Dreams

6 Motivated by Kandes Story, Congolese believers

cultivate hope by reaching out to victims of HIV-AIDS.

22 Watching His Plan Unfold


Gangam Scriptures were among 40 New Testaments and

Bibles dedicated this past year, for 16 million people.
By Janet Seever

2 Foreword Hope in the Midst of HIV-AIDS

By Dwayne Janke

4 Watchword Race to 2025 Engages Young Men

24 Beyond Words Translating the Gospel, Parts 1 & 2

By Hart Wiens

26 A Thousand Words Open to Interpretation

18 27 Last Word Note to Self: Pray for Bible Translators

By Roy Eyre

Word Alive Summer 2012 3

Race to 2025 Engages Young Men South Asians Further Translation

W ycliffe Canadas Race to 2025 was designed to engage males in Bible translation
ministryand it is doing just that. Sixty-eight per cent of the 450 participants of
Race to 2025 have been menmany young single adultssince the first event in 2007.
M ore than 50 mother tongue speakers in South
Asia are preparing Bible stories in 14 of their
The adventure race with eternal impact, as it is billed, was initiated by Derryl The vital thing is that minority language speakers
Friesen of Wycliffes NextGen Ministries. He was discouraged by the disproportion- are getting training and learning the value of having
ate number of young women expressing interest in joining Wycliffe. stories from the Bible in their own languages, says the
We are targeting young guys and creat- Wycliffe translation consultant working with the local
ing opportunities for them to learn about, translators. As people hear the stories, they develop a
and engage in, the Bible translation move- hunger to have actual Scriptures in their own language.
ment in ways that they connect with, says In addition, more than 30 South Asians are enrolled
Derryl. Race to 2025 is definitely one of the in classes for the Serampore Diploma in Bible transla-
key ways we have done that. tion, which so far has produced the Gospel of Luke for
Teams competing in the race (www. six more languages. raise funds for

Bible translation, learn about Wycliffes
global ministry, and are encouraged to join African n increasing number of Africans
are receiving training to do Bible
the work themselves. Between 2007 and Language translation and related language work.
2011, racers in 13 events have raised more Workers In Kenya, the Institute for the
than $340,000 for Bible translation proj- Get Development of Languages and
ects in Sudan, Cameroon, Ghana, Congo,
Southeast Asia, India and Nepal. Training Translation in Africa (I-DELTA) held
its first set of courses in English for 50
Boost students from nine African countries.

Alan Hood

SIL Releases New Working new Bible transla- In Burkina Faso, I-DELTA courses using French as the
tion project has instructional language are also underway for franco-
Anthropology Software for a begun in India for a phone Africans.

S IL, Wycliffes key partner organization

doing training, language research,
translation and literacy, has released
of Peace
cluster of languages that
are linguistically related
with similar geographic
I-DELTA offers training in six tracks: Bible translation,
Scripture use, literacy, linguistics, cultural anthropology
and language survey. In each track, students take three
new computer software to help its field regions or cultural background. modules during an eight-week course, over three years.
researchers and anyone else to collect Called the Peace Cluster Initiative,
anthropology data. the project involves languages from
The electronic data notebook, part of three Indian language families totalling CABTAL Starts Eight More Projects
SILs FieldWorks Language Explorer (FLEx)
computer software package, streamlines
more than one million speakers.
Current staff working in individual
language projects will adapt to a more
T he Cameroon Association for Bible Translation and
Literacy (CABTAL), a Wycliffe Global Alliance mem-
ber, recently started serving eight more language groups.
the process of recording a communitys
customs. This allows anthropologists to co-ordinated effort for the cluster Work began this past fall in the Esimbi, Isu, Mankon,
examine a groups cultural practices in project, aiming to touch every aspect Mofu-Gudur, Moghamo, Mpumpong, Ngie, Tuki and
the present, and preserve of these communities with the peace Yemba languages. Some of these communities will need
a record of them that of God. mobilizers and linguists to begin research to produce an
might otherwise be lost alphabet for their oral language. In total, CABTAL is now
to future generations. working in 26 language proj-
SIL field workers, ects (like the one at left).
including those involved However, much work must
with Bible translation, still be done in Cameroon.
receive at least an introduction to cultural About 270 languages are
anthropology as part of their training to spoken in the francophone
do their work well. African nation. Sixteen
Committed to supporting research by languages have the entire
the academic community at large, SIL Bible and 32 have the New
offers FLEx for free downloading from its Testament, but 195 have no
website ( Scripture portions at all.
Alan Hood

4 Word Alive Summer 2012

Deaf Germans Join Hearing the Word in Guatemala Latin Americans Prepared
Sign Language Thrust
T ranslators for the Rabinal Ach people of for Bible Translation

Guatemala got a surprise recently. They received
ycliffe Germanys first deaf
members are headed to Asia to
advance sign language Bible translation
letters containing reports of people listening to record-
ed Scriptures in two villages they did not even know
T wenty-seven students celebrated their
graduation this past December from the
International Course of Linguistics, Translation
in that region. Olaf Kaiser and his wife and Literacy (CILTA) in Lima, Peru.
The translators were amazed to learn that there were
Wipawee will work out of Chiang Mai, The graduating class broke down as follows:
nine groupsof 50 persons eachlistening to record-
Thailand, training to be sign language five from Colombia, five from
ing of Gods Word they had translated for their people.
consultants. They will help review the Costa Rica, five from Mexico,
The letters included comments such as: Now it is
accuracy, clarity and naturalness of Bible three from Peru and nine
easy for us to understand the Bible because we have it
translations for the Deaf in Asia. from Venezuela.
in our own language; Friends and people from other
Meanwhile in Europe, Bible transla- Course leaders are praying that the 27 peo-
churches say they would like to have this material as
tion projects are underway in more ple will continue in ministries that accelerate
well; and Never before have we been able to have
than 20 sign languages, under the guid- the work of linguistics, translation and literacy
material like this.
ance of staff from various agencies, throughout the world.
including Wycliffe. However, there are
more than 70 known sign languages Old Testament for
used by the Deaf on the continent.
Qualified people are needed to survey
Amish on the Way
deaf communities to give direction
about which sign languages need Bible
orth Americas 200,000 Amish people
(including those pictured at left)
will soon have the Old Testament in their
Photo by Bill Coleman, No ToCo, LLC/
In Africa, translation for the Deaf was Pennsylvania Deitsh mother tongue to add
given a boost in recent months. Three to the New Testament, published in 1994.
graduates of a sign language consultant- Hank Hershberger, a native speaker of
training program in Burundi recently Pennsylvania Deitsh and long-time mem-
were recognized as full consultants. And ber of Wycliffe Bible Translators, has com-
for the first time, teams from Burundi, pleted translating the Old Testament, with
Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania help from four speakers of the German
translated three sets of Scripture in a dialect. He expects the 10,000 copies of
DVD story format, which were distrib- the newly translated Scriptures will be
uted to their fellow Deaf in the five printed by the end of the year.
countries. If the response to the New Testament17,000 copies have been soldis any indication, the Old
It is estimated that up to 400 sign Testament should also be well accepted by many Amish.
languages could be in use around the My wife Ruth and I have received many letters telling how they appreciate the New Testament, says
world. 88-year-old Hershberger, who translated that book with several Amish men. When the New Testament
was so well received, with requests for the Old Testament too, we felt we had to do the Old
Testament, as well.
Word Count As one Amish lady using the New Testament wrote in a letter to Hershberger: . . . I have
read it clear through and am so excited about it. I have found my native language. . . . It adds
1,100 Number of different language versions
of The JESUS Film that Wycliffe staff new meaningwhich thrills my soul. At times I weep at such great clarity in simple everyday
language. It speaks to my heart.
have helped produce.
Hershberger says there is a movement among the Old Order Amish away from works righ-
248 Number of different Luke videos
Wycliffe personnel have helped produce.
teousness and the Pennsylvania Deitsh New Testament may have influenced this. It is being
used mostly by individuals or in family devotions, he adds. Some ministers are beginning to
247 Number of different Faith Comes by
Hearing audio New Testaments Wycliffe
read from the Pennsylvania Deitsh New Testaments.
With the whole Bible available, Hershberger hopes that Amish ministers will begin using
staff have helped produce. their mother tongue Scriptures in church. There Luthers Gothic Script High German Bible is

86 Number of different Genesis videos

Wycliffe workers have helped produce.
dominant, even though most Amish dont understand it well.
The conservative Amish live in pockets located over much of the continental U.S. Ohio has
Source: Wycliffe Global Alliance, Sept. 2011 the largest population, while in Canada most Amish live in Ontario. Some so-called horse-and-
(Visit <> for more details.) buggy Mennonites in Canada and eastern U.S. also speak Pennsylvania Deitsh.

Word Alive Summer 2012 5

Increasingly, churches throughout Africalike this one in Bunia, Democratic
Republic of Congo are talking openly about HIV-AIDS. Many of them are using
translations of Kandes Story, to educate their flocks about HIV and provide a
biblical perspective on marriage, morality and sexual behaviour.

Congolese believers use a Scripture-based storybook to dispel

myths about HIV-AIDS and fuel compassion for its victims.
6 Word Alive Summer 2012
Stories by Doug Lockhart Photographs by Alan Hood
reddy Muzungu stands to speak at the end of a lively Not long into his talk, the soft-spoken Freddy asks the married
two-hour Sunday morning church service, knowing it will couples in the audience, How many of you were tested for HIV
be a challenge to hold the interest of the 50 or so people before you were married?
who have remained behind. The first-time visitor has Not a single hand goes up.
come to speak about HIV-AIDS. For Freddy, its another confirmation that the sacrifices he
Its not a new topic for the people of Bunia, a city of about makes to travel throughout East Congo are still needed to com-
330,000 located in a northeast province of the Democratic bat the spread of HIV-AIDS. His work with SIL, Wycliffes key
Republic of Congo (DRC). Few families in the area have been left partner field organization, is helping to educate his countrymen
untouched by HIV; decades of warfare killed millions of people about the pandemic and offer a biblical perspective. His key
throughout the country and fuelled the spread of HIV-AIDS resource in the epic battle is a simple, but compelling 40-page
through widespread sexual violence against women. booklet called Kandes Story.

Word Alive Summer 2012 7

Simple But Effective
For many Congolese citizens, the subject of HIV-AIDS is shroud-
ed in superstition and misunderstanding. Some still believe the
HIV virus can be passed by contact with someones skin or cloth-
ing, or that evil spirits are to blame.
Armed with a good supply of Kandes Story booklets, Freddy
travels frequently to hold week-long seminars for churches,
schools and community associations that go a long way to dispel
some of the myths surrounding HIV.
Shellbook Publishing Systems first published the true-to-life,
illustrated story, about a young girl left orphaned by AIDS, in
2004. Currently administered by the Life Access Technology
Trust, shellbooks are short, illustrated curriculum modules that
address a wide variety of topics in an easy-to-adapt, digital for-
mat. Since 1989, these curriculum shells have helped millions
of speakers from minority
More on the Web: For more details about
shellbooks, visit <>. languages to access life-
crucial teaching and learn-
ing material localized in their mother tongue.
Personnel from Wycliffe received permission to adapt Kandes
Story shell booklet, create a facilitators manual and make it avail-
able to teams involved in Bible translation and literacy. Since
then, it has been translated into 178 languages in 24 countries
most of them in Africa (see Small Book, Big Impact, pg. 14). In
the DRC alone, it is available in 21 languages.
Throughout Africa, the Kande seminars help present the facts Now 40, he was just emerging from his teens when warfare in
surrounding HIV-AIDS. They also promote Bible studies and dis- DRC began to escalate in the mid-90s. He knew many women
cussions about related subjects like sexual purity, faithfulness in who were sexually assaulted by groups of armed men during that
marriage and other examples of what it means to follow Christ in timeincluding one of his nieces. Another niece was overpow-
these areas of life. ered by a lone attacker; both were so ravaged that they required
Furthermore, the story portrays the church as a place where reconstructive surgery.
Kande and her siblings find love, acceptance and support. After a During the war, says Freddy, it was traumatizing to see how
neighbour boy invites them to church, theyre permitted to work people died . . . and also to see how people were suffering with-
on the churchs community farm and keep or sell the food they out any assistance. It affected me very much.
grow. Later, when the children learn that they can no longer live I found strength in the Word of God, and through prayer.
with one of their relatives, a Christian woman who had helped Freddy yearned to help the suffering people he saw all around
care for their dying mother invites them to move in with her. him. After completing high school, he worked for two years as a
nurse in a local hospital. During that time, SIL staffers enlisted his
Physicians Heart help in Bible translation and literacy work among the Mangbetu.
Freddys brief presentation at Brazza Church in He did that for three years, before moving into a role that helps
Bunia followed an energetic service that included promote the use of the translated Scriptures among many other
singing, dancing and preaching. By the time the language groups in DRC.
pastor introduced him to the mix of about 50 In 2006, Freddy was introduced to Kandes Story at a Scripture
men, women and children, the morning breeze use conference in Nairobi, Kenya. With his medical experience
had grown still and some elderly parishioners had and his background in promoting the use of mother tongue
dozed off in the growing heat. Scripture, he knew the booklet would be a valuable resource in
Assisted by a local colleague, Freddy (pictured at the fight against HIV-AIDS in DRC.
left) enlisted help from those assembled to act out Freddy has a personal stake in the battle, toohis own sister
a skit that illustrates how the HIV virus weakens has AIDS. He has watched her deal with the loneliness and isola-
its victims immune system and makes it more sus- tion that many AIDS sufferers must endure.
ceptible to disease. That was followed by an engag- In DRC, HIV-AIDS victims, as well as victims of sexual assault,
ing question-and-answer session that elicited plenty of giggles, frequently face rejection from friends and neighboursand even
but many serious responses, too. There was even a bit of competi- their own families. Some female victims, left to desperately fend
tion involved; those who correctly answered Freddys questions for themselves, turn to prostitution to help them survive. Freddy
were rewarded with Swahili translations of Kandes Story. knows about this, too, as some of his own female relatives felt
Freddy speaks Swahili, but his mother tongue is Mangbetu. they had to make that choice in order to survive.

8 Word Alive Summer 2012

(Left) Ga. Obitius et oditas voles-
tiuri dici dolecto eum am, nem.
Vel illesto volenda pro exerovi-
deles estion nestibea doluptas
modi diti quia voloreptus alitios
untiscipsa velligenda nestibus.
Inverro comnia vendae estota-
tur serum eaqui ut ex est laut
ant que reperiaecae aut od unt
venias voluptas dolorem quas
autem in pr

During the war, it was traumatizing to see how people died . . . .

I found strength in the Word of God, and through prayer.

(Above) Following a Sunday morn-

ing service at Brazza Church in
Bunia, Freddy Muzungu and a local
colleague led a two-hour workshop
based on Kandes Story. Using moth-
er tongue translations of Kandes
Story whenever possible, Freddy
travels throughout eastern Congo to
educate believers about HIV-AIDS
and challenge them to reach out
to AIDS sufferers with the love of
Christ. (Left) Two women share a
laugh during the Kande workshop.
Although Freddy occasionally uses
humour to get across his message,
the subject is deadly serious: as
many as 500,000 people in DRC may
be living with HIV. Two decades of
violence decimated the countrys
infrastructure and medicine is still
hard to come by.

Word Alive Summer 2012 9

Sacrifices Needed
In 2011, Freddy visited each of the 21 Congolese language groups
that now have translations of Kandes Story to hold week-long
teaching seminars. That means frequent separations from his wife,
Esperance, and their three children.
Its one of the challenges of this work, he says. Every time I am
away from my family, I miss them so much.
But Freddy feels compelled to equip people with the truth
about HIV-AIDSespecially those from rural language groups.
The villagers die the most from AIDS, says Freddy, because
even though there is a national education program, it only stops at
larger centres. It doesnt get into the villages. . . .
According to recent media reports, the medical aid agency
Doctors Without Borders has warned that some 85 per cent of
AIDS patients in DRC are not getting the treatment they need. The
agency estimated that up to 15,000 AIDS victims in the country
could die in the next three years because of difficulty getting life-
saving drugs.
In that context, Freddy holds Kande seminars in churches, but
when appropriate he also approaches village chiefs for permission
to teach communities at large. The storybooks five chapters serve
as teaching and discussion guides for the five-day seminars, with
much interaction between teacher and students.
At the same time, Freddy consults with pastors and community
leaders to select key individuals who potentially could be trained
to organize additional Kande seminars in the region. During previ- Even though there is a national
ous visits to Bunia, Freddy has helped train several people who are
highly motivated to prevent the spread of HIV-AIDS in their com-
munity and reach out to people marginalized by the virus.

Congolese Crusader Changing Attitudes

Neema Androsi attended a Kande seminar in 2008. The widow and Through her radio messages, Neema has become a strong voice
mother of seven lives in a small house in Bunia, where she grows a in her city and beyond. But shes not alone; others in Bunia are
few vegetables in the garden outside her house. Six of the children actively teaching the principles found in Kandes Story and pro-
are hers, while the seventh, a 12-year-old niece, was left orphaned viding practical assistance to AIDS sufferers.
after her parents died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2004. For example, DRCs Christian Association for the Fight Against
At that time, Neema knew little about HIV or AIDS. Although AIDS (ACLS) also works to promote biblical principles and
she took over the responsibility of caring for her niece, Neema Christian moral values in its fight against the pandemic.
was fearful that the girl had HIVwhich she didntand that she Pierre Alimasi wa Penge, who co-ordinates the agencys activi-
would infect her and her children. ties in Bunia, says the non-profit ministry was birthed in 2006
I didnt accept her . . . and even refused to let her play with my out of the desire to educate Congolese Christians in particular
children, or shake hands or sleep in the same bed. about the causes and prevention of HIV-AIDS, and to encourage
But after Neema attended the Kande seminar, her attitude a compassionate response to its victims.
towards her niece began to change. The former youth worker says that in the past, Christians in
The teachings from Kandes Story, says Neema, helped me to DRC considered HIV victims to be on the same social level as
love her . . . and realize she was not bad. prostitutes.
Inspired by what she had learned, Neema grew determined to Society discriminated against them and [so did] the church.
educate her own children, women in her church and her entire As a youth leader, Pierre felt a responsibility to teach his youth
community about HIV-AIDS. To that end, she now speaks regu- group the facts about HIV-AIDS. In 2008, he met Freddy and
larly on RTK, a local FM radio station. Speaking in her mother attended a Kandes Story seminar. Ever since, ACLS has used
tongue, Ndruna, Neema uses Kandes Story and other materials to Kandes Story and its complementary materials to help educate
challenge false ideas about AIDS and encourage her listeners to students, church groups and even prison inmates.
live by biblical standards. The small charity has more vision than operating funds. But
they do what they can to slow the spread of the pandemic and
assist people who are suffering as a result of HIV or AIDS (see
Field of Dreams, pg. 18).

10 Word Alive Summer 2012

(Left) Led by Freddys local colleague
Pierre Alimasi wa Penge (far left),
volunteers from the congregation
enact a skit about how the HIV virus
threatens the bodys immune system.
(Below) Neema Androsi, a widow and
mother of seven, regularly teaches
about HIV-AIDS on RTK radio.
During her 15-minute talk, Androsi
explained what AIDS is, how people
get it and how they can prevent it.
She also talked about symptoms of
HIV and encouraged her listeners to
be tested. The local FM station, oper-
ated by Africa Inland Mission, has
a potential audience of five million
listeners in eastern Congo and neigh-
bouring Uganda.

education program,
it only stops at the larger centres. It doesnt get into the villages. . . .
Some even give themselves to the
Lord because of the teaching.

(Above, left) Pierre Alimasi, seen here behind a French-language sign, heads
a local Christian group that reaches out to people with HIV and AIDS. The
sign, at the Congolese Union of Organizations of People Living with HIV-
AIDS (UCOP), urges visitors to seek treatment for sexually transmitted
diseases and thus avoid contracting HIV. Although French is the official
language of DRC, Pierre and other AIDS activists say more mother tongue
materials like Kandes Story are needed. Such materials are especially help-
ful in remote, rural areas of the country that lie outside the reach of DRCs
national AIDS-awareness program. (Left) A young woman reads her Bible
during a Swahili-language church service in Bunia. Approximately half of
DRCs 215 language groups have full Bibles, New Testaments or Bible por-
tions. Bible-based, mother tongue materials like Kandes Story often help to
promote interest in the translated Scriptures, as readers come to appreciate
the Bibles relevance to the issues they face.

12 Word Alive Summer 2012

Colleagues in the fight against HIV-AIDS, Pierre
and Freddy walk home on a quiet street in
Bunia, following the conclusion of another
Kande workshop. In the past, armed raiders
have left Bunias streets littered with corpses
and the anguished victims of sexual violence.
Such violence has fuelled the spread of HIV-
AIDS in DRCbut Kandes Story is helping to
slow the pandemics advance and promote
compassionate responses to AIDS sufferers.

Real Benefit The men confided to Freddy that when he first came to teach
Freddy is grateful for the growing network of individuals and in their village, they were sexually promiscuous. But after attend-
organizations that are battling HIV and discrimination using ing the seminar, they felt convicted by Gods Word . As a result,
Kandes Story and mother tongue Scripture, translated with the they had changed their behaviour and were even helping people
help of Wycliffe personnel and training of locals. While he won- they knew who were afflicted by HIV.
ders at times if hes making a difference, Freddy sees progress, Those and other encouraging responses help Freddy persevere
albeit slow. through the hard times, especially when hes on the road and
Two years ago, Freddy visited one village to hold a seminar. misses his family.
Afterwards, three young men came to himin tears. They had Its really hard for me. But my wife understands and she says,
first heard Freddy teach in 2009, and when he returned the fol- You are working for the Lord.
lowing year, they came to thank him. Some even give themselves to the Lord because of the teach-
They told me that my teaching made their lives better. They ing, says Freddy. Thats the real benefit of this work. Thats what
said before, their lives were full of bad things. makes me happy.

Word Alive Summer 2012 13

Kandes Story is often the first
AIDS-education resource in local
languages where Bible translation
and literacy efforts are underway.
andes Story is based on real events shared by a The 40 illustrations in Kandes Story were
Nigerian pastor. After its publication by Shellbook drawn by a Cameroonian artist, whose
Publishing Systems in 2004, Kathie Watters and drawings depict village scenes that strike
Margaret Hill received permission to adapt the story, a familiar note in many cultures. The
sample illustrations below touch on key
commission new illustrations and write a facilitators manual.
points of the story.
Watters and Hill both serve with SIL, Wycliffes main partner
field organization. They travel frequently throughout Africa to
help promote the use of translated Scriptures in various language
groups. Even before Shellbook published Kandes Story, the pair
had received numerous requests from African pastors for simple
materials about HIV and AIDS.
They needed materials that would be culturally appropriate,
easy to translate, and scientifically and medically accurate, says
Watters, a senior Scripture engagement consultant for SILs Africa
Area. And they wanted information that would include prin-
ciples from the Bible.

Personal Motivation
Watters shared the pastors urgency to help prevent the
spread of HIV. Back in the 1980s, she had watched as a dear
Cameroonian friend grew ill and eventually died from what was Kande and her siblings
likely AIDS. learn that Mama is
The stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS was so great that she going to have a baby.
was never tested or treated. After that, I learned about more and
more people . . . who were infected and dying.
A survey of existing materials on AIDS eventually led Watters
and Hill to Shellbook and Kandes Story. However, at that time
Shellbook was not equipped to write a teaching manual for the
story, nor were they able to do much field testing of the materi-
als. The two SIL women took on
The stigma surrounding the job, with help from many of
HIV and AIDS was so great their colleagues in Africa.
that she was never tested We had our first pilot training
course in Cameroon in 2005 with
or treated. After that, I After Kandes father dies as a
five languages, says Watters. result of AIDS, Mama grows ill
learned about more and Since then, the little booklet and learns she too has AIDS.
more people . . . who were has had significant impact in
infected and dying. the majority of the 178 language
groups where it has been trans-
lated, most of them in Africa. It is often the first AIDS-education
resource available in local languages where Bible translation and
literacy efforts are
More on the Web: Watch a video about Kandes
Story at: <>.
Im really amazed
how quickly these materials have spread, Watters says. It has
been almost all by word-of-mouth and by freely sharing the elec-
tronic shells for the book so that others can translate and make
their own versions.

Following the birth of her baby,

Mama dies and Kande must
look after her newborn sister as
well as her other siblings.
Churches in Bunia (pictured at left), Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC), have embraced Kandes
Story as a resource in the fight against HIV-AIDS.
The 42-page booklet has been translated into
150 African languages and demand is growing in Word Alive Summer 2012 15
other regions of the world.
Universal Impact
The story, fictitious but based on real-life examples, revolves
around Kande, a 12-year-old African girl whose father and moth-
er die of AIDS. She and her five siblings are left as orphans and
must fend for themselves. Simply told and illustrated, readers of
all ages are able to follow the storyline as Kande and her siblings
encounter many problems
Kandes Story has had significant and dangers trying to sur-
vive. People in their com-
impact in the majority of the 178
munity, especially believers
language groups where it has been from the local church, help
translated, most of them in Africa. them in their time of need.
Readers also learn that
following Gods Word can help them avoid getting AIDS them-
selves or spreading it to others. They are taught how to love and
care for those affected by the disease, working for justice for wid-
ows and orphans.
The story needs to reach many more people. UNAIDS reports
that 430,000 to 560,000 people in DRC alone may be living with
HIV; roughly half are women, ages 15 and over.
Beyond Africa, Kandes Story has also been translated for lan-
guage groups in India, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Most
of these languages have translations of the facilitators manual
as well. It includes medical facts about HIV and AIDS, as well as
Bible studies on issues of sexuality, Jesus treatment of marginal-
ized people and other topics.
The booklet is frequently used in SILs literacy programs and
is becoming a standard resource for promoting the use of trans-
lated Scriptures. As people read and discuss Kandes Story, they
learn how to apply the Scriptures to their everyday lives. For
2012, language groups in India, Togo, Sudan, Cameroon and
Ivory Coast are slated to hold Kande
The booklet is becoming translation workshops, and a staffer from
a standard resource for Wycliffe Germany is helping to equip
trainers throughout francophone Africa.
promoting the use of Its the African men and women we Boys attending a Kande workshop
translated Scriptures. have trained who are actually imple- in Bunia share a Swahili translation
menting this program, says Watters. of the booklet. Unlike previous
Freddy Mozungu [see Armed and Generous, pg. 6] has grown generations, a growing number of
African youngsters are learning
the program in DRCand there are others like him throughout
how to prevent HIV-AIDS through a
growing library of biblical, mother
tongue health publications.

A relative comes to The children struggle to survive

claim the land and the without their parents. Then a
house, and tells Kande lady from a local church invites
they will have to live them to live with her.
somewhere else.

16 Word Alive Summer 2012

The church, which operates a
community farm, allows Kande
and her siblings to work on a
large plot and keep or sell the
food they grow.

Through the church, Kande and her

siblings hear and choose to obey
Gods Word. Their lives improve and
eventually, they volunteer to help
others prevent AIDS.
Motivated by Kandes Story, Congolese believers cul t
oon is still a few hours away, but already, labourers in this area, as well as a symbol of the communitys changing
working in a field in the Democratic Republic of Congo attitudes towards AIDS sufferers.
(DRC), are feeling the heat. Drenched in perspiration,
some in the diverse group of about 35 men and women No L onger O utcast
appear lethargic as they bend low to pull weeds or hoe seedbeds Many of those changes can be attributed to increased education
with dirty, calloused hands. and awareness about HIV-AIDSand the booklet Kandes Story has
What sets this garden apart from others nearby is that 18 of the been a key resource in that process. The book and associated semi-
people toiling under the African sun are battling HIV. nars help people inside and outside the church understand how
Some feel well and others feel weakbut all 18 have families who HIV-AIDS spreads and how they can prevent it.
depend on them. Whats more, says Christian activist Pierre Alimasi wa Penge,
The garden is located in a hilly, seven-hectare plot of land just Bible-based teachings from Kande have fostered greater compassion
outside the city of Bunia. A co-operative of more than 20 local for those who suffer from HIV-AIDS, resulting in initiatives such as
churches bought the land in 2010 to provide food, a source of the garden project.
incomeand hopefor victims of HIV-AIDS. Although the garden Pierre serves as co-ordinator of the agency responsible for the
project is still in its infancy, its a testament to the unity of believers project, ACLS (Christian Association for the Fight Against AIDS). He

18 Word Alive Summer 2012

(Left) Volunteers and people sick with HIV tend to their crops
near Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The project,
backed by more than 20 local churches, seeks to restore hope
and dignity to those afflicted by HIV. (Above) Kahindo Jolie, the
secretary of a local agency that oversees the gardening project,
enjoys working in the field while also building friendships with
the people who benefit. (Below) Project members have the
option of eating the food they produce, or selling some of it for
income. Besides these vitamin- and mineral-rich eggplants, crops
include peanuts, maize, sweet potatoes and cassava.

t ivate hope by reaching out to victims of HIV-AIDS.
remembers when churches consistently resisted his efforts to come
and teach about HIV-AIDS. Furthermore, sexual topics were seldom
talked about in public or even in peoples homes.
But nowadays, things have changed because of Kandes Story,
says Pierre. Now more parents talk to their children and help them
to protect themselves from HIV.
Theres another benefit that has come from increased openness Now more parents talk
and dialoguemore and more people are being tested for HIV. to their children and
After they hear the teaching from Kandes Story, people are help them to protect
ready . . . to be tested, says local pastor Pirwoth Ulul. Before the themselves from HIV.
training, many people with HIV hid themselves.
And before, adds ACLS secretary Kahindo Jolie, people with
HIV or AIDS did not have hope. They were only waiting for death.
Through the teachings of Kandes Story, they know they can still
have a life.

Word Alive Summer 2012 19

It still takes courage for people to disclose that they have HIV. help those who grow too sick to work, or to help cover a familys
But Pierre believes that Bunias citizens are steadily becoming funeral expenses. Any money left over may be used to buy tools
more accepting of people with HIV or AIDSand church mem- and even hire labourers.
bers are leading the way through acts of compassion. So far, the modest project is helping 18 families to survive in
this harsh, often violent corner of DRC. But the co-operating
F uelled by F riendships churches have a big vision for this plot of land.
For example, several people at work in the garden outside Bunia We want to create a place where we can raise fish, says Pastor
are volunteers who dont have the HIV virus. Knowing that many Ulul. And if we have enough people to support the project, we
of their friends with HIV lack the strength and stamina they once want to build houses for the people with HIV, and multiply other
had, the volunteers labour alongside them to tend crops that projects like . . . raising chickens, goats and sheep.
include maize, cassava root, peanuts and sweet potatoes. To make it all happen, ACLS will need to redouble its fundrais-
Some of the food is given to those with HIV, while some is sold. ing effortswhile relying on God to touch hearts and provide
A portion of the profits from the sale of produce is put aside to the needed resources.

20 Word Alive Summer 2012

We also teach them the
Word of God, because they
must have faith in God.
God has already touched Kahindo Jolies heart. The ACLS sec-
retary, who attended a Kande seminar in 2009, has grown to love
the workers she oversees and finds great joy in serving them.
In general, people with HIV are not happy, says Jolie. But
(Below, left) A Congolese man wields a hoe while working on the when you come to them . . . you talk together, you smile togeth-
seven-hectare parcel of land thats helping 18 families survive while er, you eat togetherthey become your friends and you become
coping with HIV. The project, overseen by Christian Association for their friend.
the Fight Against AIDS (ACLS), began in a nearby village with a single I feel very happy when I approach them . . . and I want to be
house and small garden. (Below, right) In that village, church leaders
with them a lot.
and local politicians gather to dedicate a new dispensary to God. The
people of this small community have a dream, tooa well-stocked
But Jolie knows that any help the agency can provide is only
clinic, with drugs to treat malaria, parasites, respiratory problems, temporal. Thats why she and her ACLS co-workers are careful to
HIV and other maladies. But on this day, they can only weigh new- plant another kind of seed.
born babies and pray that somehow God will provide the medicine We also teach them the Word of God, she says, because
and supplies they so urgently need. they must have faith in God.

Word Alive Summer 2012 21

Watching His
Gangam Scriptures were among 40 the moment. Neither was adequate for real growth and under-

New Testaments and Bibles dedicated standing.

Various people have worked in the translation and literacy proj-

this past year, for 16 million people. ect over the years: Paul and Kathy Kelly for several years, then Lee
and Shanon Higdon from 1993.
By Janet Seever Tremendous Cost
his past November, the dedication of the Gangam New Testament
was held in Gando, Togo, with an enthusiastic crowd of about
J ean worked on both translation and literacy until 1997. In July of
that year, leukemia, which was caused by a malaria prophylaxis,
forced her to return to Canada. A bone-marrow transplant led to
2,000 people. Eager to own Gods translated Word in their own a total cure; however, it was wiser for her to remain in Canada. So
language, 620 people bought copies. Finally, after 30 years, the since then, Jean has put her energies into research on the Gangam
Gangam peoplewho number more than 66,000 have the New languages phonology, tone and verb systems.
Testament in the language they understand best. Lee and Shanon continued working with a team of nationals
I was very moved today to see the arrival of the cartons of until 2003, when a local manwho had been sent to Ivory Coast
Gangam New Testaments, said senior translator Andr Gnanl to obtain an advanced degree in Bible translationbegan leading
Lamboni, because now, at last, the whole population of Gando the project.
will know that what we have been doing has been serious and On the day of the dedication, the Higdons felt a surprising
useful work. mixture of emotions. We experienced a deep sense of joy and
Wycliffe Canadas Jean Reimer, along with her first translation satisfaction at seeing the Gangam people finally gain access to
colleague Bonnie (Walker) Price, from the U.S., began working in Gods Word in their own language, says Lee. But at the same
the Gangam language in 1981. The Gangam community leaders time we were sobered as we realized the tremendous cost to both
agreed to a translation project even though the majority of the the expatriates and the nationals who have been involved in the
ethnic group followed the traditional religion. translation process. Its clear that we were all involved in a spiri-
Over the years, various Christian denominations have started tual battle.
churches in the Gangam region, which overlaps with the neigh- Looking back on the work, Jean sees Gods hand in it all.
bouring nation of Benin. Today, more than 30 churches and mis- Even before our arrival in 1981, she says. God was putting
sions work in the area. When churches were first planted, the only many pieces into place to prepare the way for the Gangam people
Scripture they had was in French or was translated on the spur of to have His Word in their language. It has been breathtaking to
watch His plan unfold.
Really Clear to Me
T wo other Wycliffe Canada members are also celebrating this
year with the language group in which they served. Since
March 2011, thetranslated New Testament has been available to
more than 100,000 speakers in a sensitive area of Asia.*
A wonderful answer to prayer is that the New Testament is
being distributed bya national organization, saysCanadian mem-
ber Paul*, who with his wife Cathy*, has worked in this sensitive
area of the world for many years.
In the past, the believers received individual New Testament
books or photo copies in their language, he says. Now they have
the whole New Testament.
From one of the national workers, Paul learned that believers
from otherorganizations in this area, who had the Scriptures only
*Because of sensitivity, the real names of the translators and the name of the language
group cannot be given.
Marianne Harvey

A Gangam man proudly displays

his copy of Gods Word.
s Plan Unfold
in the regional language until now, are also requesting copies of sent the northernmost First Nations/American Indian group and
this book. are part of the Athabascan language family.
This is good news indeed.
One of the language assistants, who worked with Paul for a
Something Belonging to Them
number of years, read the entire New Testament onto cassette
tapes for oral use by his people.
I n mid-March, 2011, more than 200 people crowded into a hall
in Marburg, Germany, to celebrate the completion of the Sinte
New Testament after 25 years of work (see Word Alive, Fall 2006).
I have been a believer for many years and always read the Word
The translators were German Wycliffe members, Armin and
of God in the regional language, says the language assistant, who
Ursula Peter.
is able to read that language well because he is a village school
This is our daythe day for our people, exclaimed Pastor Rudi
teacher. But it is only now, while reading it onto tape in my
Walter, proudly holding a book in the air.
mother tongue, that the meaning of many passages has become
There are 12 million-plus Roma (Gypsies) worldwide. The num-
really clear to me.
ber of Roma dialects is unknown, but may be more than one hun-
The work of the national field workers is also growing, with new
dred. The Sinte language is spoken by about 300,000 people, who
believers joining the existing village congregations.
live primarily in Germany, France, the Netherlands, and the former
Canadians Made It Happen Yugoslavia.

T he Kenyang people of Cameroon now have their New

Testament, which was dedicated on December 19, 2010. This
project was financed by Canadians from 1994 through 2009, first
We Gypsies are a poor people, Pastor Walter explained. We
have no land, nor our own government, nor our own currency,
but now we have something that really belongs to us: the New
through Partners with Nationals, a program of Wycliffe Bible Testament in our language.
Translators of Canada, and later through Global PartnerLink
(now called OneBook, an organization that grew out of Wycliffe
Canada.) Kenyang is spoken by 65,000 people.
World Translation Summary
Because of literacy work, an increasing number of Kenyang Gods Word, translated with significant Wycliffe involvement, was
speakers now have the ability to read and write in their mother dedicated in 40 languages, spoken by 16.2 million people, since we
tongue. The Kenyang Scriptures are also being distributed through prepared our last Translation Update report in the Spring 2011 issue
various types of media. Listening groups are being set up using of Word Alive. The table below gives a regional global breakdown of
Proclaimers, solar powered machines with Kenyang Scripture on the affected language groups, with their populations.
them, through the work of Faith Comes by Hearing, a partner New Testaments
organization with Wycliffe. Location No. of groups Combined Total Population
In the Far North Africa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11,864,079

A fter nearly half a century, the Western Gwichin people now

have Viteegwijyahchyaa Vagwandak Nizii, or God His Good
News in their language. Spoken in Alaska, it is understood by
Asia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,519,000
Pacific. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56,690
Americas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155,010
Canadian speakers as well, who live in the Yukon and number Total. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13,594,779
1,300. In Canada it is also known as Kutchin or Loucheux.
Whole Bibles
Wycliffes Dick and Susan Mueller began the work in 1959,
Location No. of Groups Combined Total Population
with Pierre and Meggie DeMers joining them in 1979. Mary Rose
Africa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224,000
Gamboa, a Gwichin speaker, worked on translation with the
DeMers for 30 years. Many other Gwichin speakers have also Asia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18,000
served as part of the team. Americas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45,000
About 9,000 Gwichin people of various dialects live in 15 small Total. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 287,000
villages that stretch from northeast Alaska, in the U.S., to the Partial Bible (contains a selection of Scripture from the whole Bible)
northern Yukon and Northwest Territories in Canada. They repre- Location No. of Groups Total Population
Asia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,360,000
COMBINED TOTAL. . . 40. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16,241,779

Word Alive Summer 2012 23

Beyond Words

Translating the Gospel

By Hart Wiens

Editors Note: This is the first in a series of articles reflecting on to a Bible study where participants are each assigned to read one
the verse John 3:16 word by word. The series will illustrate some of several verses scattered throughout the Bible? Such a process
of the challenges Bible translators face as they seek to present results in a serious loss of continuity. Reading Bible verses in isola-
Gods Good News in every language spoken on earth. tion should therefore be avoided, both when studying and when
translating the Bible.
Part 1
Translation in Context For Six Ways
The Greek word may be translated by a number of different

T he first fact that a person used to reading the Bible in English words, depending on the context in which it is used. It is
English must face is that the John 3:16 verse was originally found eight times from John 3:16-4:8. In those eight occurrences,
written in Greek. To fully understand and appreciate all of the translators of the NRSV have used six different ways of rep-
the nuances of the text we must look at what John actually wrote. resenting it. In 3:16 it is for; in 3:17 indeed; in 3:19 because;
Here is the text in Greek with its English meaning under in 3:24 of course; in 3:34, it is left untranslated in its first occur-
each word: rence; and in 4:8 it is represented by ( ) to set the verse off as
In linguistics, we call this little word a discourse particle
because it has no specific meaning alone, but together with other
words it helps to connect what is being said in the overall con-
text. English versions frequently do not translate this particle by
any single word, but rather let its meaning come out in the way
that sentences are put together in the overall flow of the text.

Most Effective Ways

In this particular context, the word translated for signals that, in
verse 16, John amplifies the statement the writer has made in the
previous paragraph. There he says that, just as Moses lifted up
Since this series of articles is written for the benefit of English the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted
readers, we will follow the order of words as it is found in a more up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
familiar form of the text taken from the Revised Standard Version In verse 16, John elaborates by telling how and why God offers
of the Bible: us eternal life. Translators must choose the most effective means
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so at their disposal in the particular language for which they are
that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may translating to signal the connection between verse 16 and the
have eternal life. preceding context. Even within the same language there may be a
The first word in our English version is for. In the Greek this variety of ways of accomplishing this.
is actually the second word. It is a small word, but it brings with
it a number of issues that the translator
Part 2
must consider. This little word is used to
The first fact that a signal that John 3:16 was not written in Translation or Transliteration?

person used to reading isolation. It is part of a larger text. In fact
or God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
the chapter and verse numbers found in
the Bible in English our Bibles were not in the original text.
so that everyone who believes in him may not perish
but may have eternal life.
must face is that this This is an important point, not only for
the translator, but also for the reader or
One of the most important challenges a Bible translator faces
is translating the expression for God. The importance of this
verse was originally student of the text.
small word is captured in the following statement by Lawrence
Every verse of the Bible should be read
written in Greek. and studied in its entire context rather
O. Richards in his Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Multiple
volumes have been written to explore this short word.
than as a verse in isolation from the
The Bible assumes that God exists. It opens with the words,
larger text. To read, study or translate a verse of Scripture in isola-
In the beginning God. . . . But to the Hebrew people, in whose
tion violates the integrity of the text. Yet how often have you been
language the Old Testament was originally written, the names

24 Word Alive Summer 2012

and titles used were extremely significant. These names and titles
communicated a lot about the Jews understanding of who God
is. In view of the multiple volumes that have been produced on
this short word God, it is obvious that one brief article cant really
do justice to the topic. So, I will limit myself to a discussion of the
Greek expression found in this verse.

Far-reaching Decision
In cultures where the Christian tradition is already well
entrenched, there is often not much of a decision left; an accept-
able way of referring to God has already been established.
However, in those languages where Christian teaching is new and
the Scriptures are being translated for the first time, the decision
about how to translate the
Greek in this verse
One of the most can be quite far-reaching.
I recently heard a speaker
important challenges
Dave Crough

from one of our First Nations

a Bible translator express the pain his people
have suffered as a conse-
faces is translating the quence of the decision made with it that are at odds with the biblical understanding of who
God is. On the other hand, this solution has the advantage that
expression for God. by early Christian missionar-
the term is already familiar and allows people to learn about the
ies. They rejected the com-
mon term for the Creator in God they encounter in the Bible as one who is already known to
that particular native language in favour of a borrowed word. As them by another name. The apostle Paul modelled this strategy
a result God has always seemed like a foreign God to them. in communicating the gospel in Athens: That which you wor-
Our two official languages in Canada help show the two basic ship, then, even though you do not know it, is what I now pro-
approaches that translators have tended to follow. claim to you (Acts 17.23).
One is transliteration. The French language uses Dieu for God. Filling Out Meaning
This is essentially an adaptation of the Greek, passed down When translators choose the solution of transliterating a word
through Latin. French is one of the Romance languages with roots for God taken from another language, they must face the pos-
going back to Latin. The Latin word for God is Deus, a translitera- sibility that the God of the Bible may seem foreign to the people
tion of the Greek . for whom the translation is being prepared. At the same time,
Facing an Important Reality this option is more likely to avoid the tendency of introducing an
Martin Luther, John Wycliffe (depicted understanding of God that is not supported in Scripture.
at left and above right, respectively) and Regardless of which route a translator follows in choosing a
others who translated the Scriptures into suitable word to translate the term , it will not really be
the Germanic languages such as German totally adequate to convey all the aspects of God as revealed in
and English, followed a second com- the Bible. Ultimately the meaning of the term chosen will need
mon approach. Instead of transliterating to be filled out. How? By a study of what the Scriptures overall
the Greek word, they chose the native reveal about this supreme being, the creator of the universe.
English and German words, God and Gott. In the next issue we will examine the challenges we face when
These were commonly used among pre- translating the Greek terms represented by the English words so
Christian Germanic tribes to refer to the and loved.
PD Wikipedia

supreme or ultimate reality. Reprinted with permission from the Canadian Bible Societys Translating the Gospel
article series, written by Hart Wiens, CBS director of Scripture translations. Wiens
Translators who choose this solution of and his wife Ginny served with Wycliffe Canada in a Bible translation project among
using a common native term for God, frequently face an impor- the Kalinga people in the Philippines for 19 years. More recently, Hart has been the
tant reality: the indigenous term may have meanings associated Wycliffe Canada board chairman.

Word Alive Summer 2012 25

A Thousand Words

Open to Interpretation

Alan Hood
Pirwoth Ulul, a cheerful Congolese pastor and missionary who speaks
several languagesincluding Englishinterpreted for the Word
Alive team during their visit to Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo
(DRC), this past year. As they met the various people featured in this
issue, the veteran minister patiently explained who they were and
how they were contributing to HIV-AIDS education in that region of
DRC. Pastor Ulul and others like him are among the many unsung
heroes who faithfully serve God in their home nations, and gra-
ciously assist Word Alive writers and photographers to bring you the
stories and photographs featured in this magazine.

26 Word Alive Summer 2012

Last Word

Note to Self: Pray for Bible Translators

By Roy Eyre

T hose of us who are not directly involved in

translating the Bible will never completely
understand or appreciate the linguistic chal-
lenges our translators face day by day.
4:15], if anyone kills Cain, he will be avenged
seven times ([in SW Tanna, there is] no word for
avenge, no number above 5, and no way to say x
number of times. (Gen.4:15).
That includes me. Our translators face a difficult and complex task
I am giving my professional life to the Bible transla- daily. Even the simple verses can trip them up. We
tion cause. But I am an administrator, not a linguist. in English-speaking countrieshome to 85 per cent
As a result, I approach the challenge of translation of all Bible resourceshave a difficult time visualizing
from a unique vantage point. I look at this topic as a the challenges.So lets pray for translators like the
fatherand pastor of my own family. I look at it as Nehrbasses, working in isolated locations andstrug-
an elderconcerned with right doctrine. And I look gling at times with a few other consultants to find the
at it as someone who cares deeply for Gods Word best solutions in each unique language.
wanting everyone around the world to be able to have How did Ken and Mendy end up solving their
access to it in their own language. dilemma? They leaned upon their biblical, translation
Still, I can share some general insights on the matter. and linguistics training; Wycliffes translation practices
One fundamental truth about translation is that based on more than a half century of experience;
there are no two languages that have an exact cross- insights into the local language and culture from the
over of vocabulary. Most Christians in North America Southwest Tanna
have heard in church at one point or another that our people; and, no
English word, love, in our Bibles doesnt capture the doubt, much prayer.
meaning behind the four Greek Recognizing that
words in Scripture: agpe, ros, conveying the mean-
Lets intercede for phila, and storg. Take a moment ing of Gods Word
to consider the implications of is an ultimate goal,
translators working and using ros instead of phila in a they chose the fol-
struggling to find the translation. Sexual connotations lowing:
would certainly be a stumbling Nikam. Tukm
best solutions in each block when brotherly love was yermam kirik rhopni
unique language. intended. ik, tukrir h narpinien
English is a handy language in ehu rapita narpinien
its use of generic words like love. yame nakaw h.
However, many languages have far more specific In English, this
words. I remember a previousWord Alive story that translation conveys
Dave Harder

explained that there are more than 20 different Inuit the idea that if
words that English attempts to encapsulate in the someone killed Cain,
word snow. hed receive a larger punishment than the punishment
But other languages have a more limited vocabu- he meted out to Cain.
lary. Wycliffes Ken and Mendy Nehrbass are Bible The manuscript of the New Testament is currently
translation consultants on an island in Vanuatu, in the being printed and the Southwest Tanna will soon have
middle of the South Pacific. Ken once tried to convey Gods Word in a form they can understand.
to me the difficulty of translating into the Southwest I may never know everything that translators, like
Tanna language: Ken and Mendy, face. But I do know this: Wycliffe
Translated Genesis 2-4 yesterday. Youd think that Canada is just as committed in 2012 to accurate, clear
the difficulty with translating would be that there and natural translation for every remaining language
are so many ways to say somethinghow do you as we were 60 years ago when our personnel first
narrow it down? But every chapter of the Bible starting serving in this amazing and life-changing
presents the opposite problem for a language like work.
SW Tanna: theres no way to say it! Like [in Gen. Roy Eyre is the president of Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada.

Word Alive Summer 2012 27

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