Bible Translation

Bible Translation: Our Core Work

Ukarumpa serves as the home base for many people who are involved in Bible Translation across Papua New Guinea. Some people are out in the regions for most of the year, while others regularly travel back and forth between Ukarumpa and ‘the village’ where they work with a local team of translators to translate the Bible. 

Aspects of Bible Translation

Translation is so much more than simply translating the text of the Bible into one of the many vernacular languages in this country. The following aspects of Bible Translation are almost equally important for a translation project to be successful: 

  • Anthropological Research: while learning the language, prospect translation advisors also intensively study the culture of the language group in which they are working. Regular visits of the language group is therefore obligatory. 
  • Language Learning: most expat translation advisors spend the first few years simply learning the language of their language group. This is a time consuming process of collecting, analyzing and writing about a ton of data, both written and oral data.
  • Linguistic Research: the writing of resources like a grammar and a dictionary is a very important aspect of the translation project, as it contributes to a better understanding of the language and to a more natural translation of the Bible. 
  • Literacy: most cultures in Papua New Guinea are oral cultures and if people want to read the Bible, they need to learn how to read and write. And so, alongside producing a Bible in the vernacular, there is a big need for literacy materials to stimulate a culture of reading. 
  • Training: a translation advisor is part of a local translation team and training is an important aspect of this teamwork. Some training is done at the grassroots in the village, while other training is done centralized at the Ukarumpa Training Centre.  
  • Translation: the actual translation process consists of many steps, including: making a draft translation, discussing the draft as a team, exegetically checking the result, testing the translation with a local audience, backtranslating the text and a final consultant check. 
  • Scripture Engagement: throughout the process of translating the Bible, the church and the local people are encourage to use whatever Scripture becomes available, whether this is in reading, preaching, singing, Sunday school or any other activity in the vernacular.   
Translation Advisor Michel Pauw with his Aramba Translation Team
Aaron Wade with his Mamusi Translation Team