Bible Society in Northern Ireland

Translating the Bible in Papua New Guinea

Who is responsible for Translating the Bible in Papua New Guinea?
Did you realise that you can be part of the team?


The local people, Papua New GuineaThe Local People
There are 860 indigenous languages spoken in Papua New Guinea – that’s 12% of the world’s languages in just one country. Many of these language groups wait for God’s Word to be translated into words they will understand.
The desire to have the Bible comes from the local people, and it is usually communities and churches that speak out and take the first step towards translation.
In Papua New Guinea, different local language groups have approached the Bible Society for assistance and guidance to carry out translations of the Bible into their language.
Our Bible Society is supporting translation projects for eight languages in Papua New Guinea – Magi, Vula'a, Koita, Pa, Aekyom, Gogodala, Motu and Yuna.
Support is given to all those who are involved in the different parts of translation through training, finance and provision of equipment.

The Translation TeamBen Ayai, a local translator, often has to balance his translation work with his responsibilities as a leader in his clan.
Traditionally translation work in Papua New Guinea was carried out by missionaries who lived among local people, gradually learning their language and culture, and eventually presenting them with at least part of the Scriptures in their own language.
Today, it is widely recognised that local people themselves should be equipped to translate the Scriptures. Not only are they already immersed in their language and culture, their active involvement ensures that their whole community will identify with the finished product, rather than seeing it as something imposed by outsiders. Quite often these local people are volunteers, giving up their time to work on a translation.

Paratext SoftwareTranslation Consultant
When a translation team seeks help from the Bible Society they usually receive the services of a Translation Consultant to guide them in the process. This individual will regularly visit the team, train them in the use of the leading edge Paratext computer software, supervise meetings of the team, and support and encourage them in their work. Translation Consultants have to travel large distances, meet new people, and integrate into different cultures.

Translators are dedicated to their task but they often lack the basic materials and I.T. resources to accurately carry out the work – the simple costs of writing paper and pens, let alone computers, are often beyond the means of the groups. Bible Societies provide support to each of the translation groups in the form of volunteer allowances and essential materials; their Translation Centres can service several projects in one location, house computers, accommodate full time workers and cover printing costs for trial publications.

Travelling to remote areas by boat or planeTravel
Travel for Consultants and volunteers can be lengthy and dangerous. Many translators in Papua New Guinea live in remote areas, often only accessible by small dinghy or by air. It is easy for these isolated groups to lose focus, so the supervision of a Translation Consultant is vital. Bible Society support is at times very practical, including hurricane lamps, cooking utensils, and bedding, which can be used when the groups meet.

Bible translation work is made up of many different parts with vital roles by a host of contributors:Huli New Testament launch, 2006
• The small group who work each day to render the Bible text from the most ancient manuscript sources into their heart language;
• The translation consultant who oversees the project and conducts regular meetings to review the text;
• The committee of church representatives who oversee all aspects of the translation enterprise;
• The national Bible Society who provide the training and support, the manuscript checking, proofing, and the process of getting it into print, transported (by sea or air) and eventually delivered;
• The churches who dedicate the new Scripture at public worship and see it given into the hands of excited, waiting people.
Then, there is you, and lots of other people in Northern Ireland who, by their prayers and support, ensure that this work is adequately funded and carried through to successful completion.
Each person who plays a part in the translation process contributes to the final words that are printed and God’s Message that is brought to the people. 
You too have a role.

‘...your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.  Revelation 5:9 (NLT)

If you would like to support this work financially then visit our Just Giving fundraising page where you can safely donate online, or contact us on (028) 9032 6577.

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