Translation Awareness Workshop a Hit
“After church yesterday, Jenri held his first translation awareness workshop. He did a fine job. Church was nearly as full as it was during the church service, too. Wow, the momentum for translation is huge right now. Everyone stood up afterward and made their speeches... more than just the obligatory reiteration of the content and thanks... they seemed to express that they'd missed out all these years by not participating in the project. They were even honest enough to say that they struggle with reading their own language but when they sing in language, their hearts are moved, and when they pray, they want to pray in language because that's how they connect with God...”
- Mendy Nehrbass, SIL translation advisor, south west Tanna, Vanuatu
Kalite Tamau, demonstrates to the class
For a week in March 2011, pastors and Bible translators from all over the Vanuatu archipelago gathered on the island of Espiritu Santo to gain the skills to become better spokesmen and women for the task of Bible translation. SIL Vanuatu brought together the chairman, coordinators, secretary and other selected members of the indigenous Vanuatu Bible Translation (VBT) organization to give them a deeper understanding of God, His Word and where Bible translation fits into the picture.
The course was designed to give the participants tools for using in various situations where they have opportunity to speak about Bible Translation and VBT with the aim of expanding awareness of the organization throughout the country.
All but one of the participants had been involved in translation projects for some years. However they have not necessarily had a chance to think through the basis of the work and how they might express that to others.
After the workshop, one of the participants said, “What really helped me was the discussion about the danger of people not understanding the meaning of God’s Word.”
One VBT coordinator commented, “This course has given me more understanding of some Bible passages which I can work with when I do awareness.”
Serah Markton, VBT Secretary, organizer and participant
Various short dramas and illustrations were also presented for the participants to use in their own communities about the importance of understanding Scripture and how essential translation is for understanding.
The course did not stop at theory, as there were three opportunities where participants made awareness presentations at the Seventh Day Adventist church, Tangoa island (NT dedicated in 2008), and to the 'Brotherhood' order at the Anglican church.
Another attendee remarked, “Now I have worked out the foundation of Bible translation and I learned some good, easy to use tools to make the meaning of Bible translation clear to others.”
On the last morning, Lyndal Webb (SIL) helped the participants to work through the process of how to write a plan for an awareness meeting. The participants left enthused and with a certificate in one hand and a plan of their next 'awareness' meeting in the other.
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