By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ALBUQUERQUE, NM (ANS-AUG. 2, 2016) — While Rio de Janeiro prepares for the Olympics, members of a Brazilian people group called the Calon have launched a project that will have effects long after the Games end — translating the Book of Genesis into its own language, Chibi.
According to a news release made available to the ASSIST News Service, the goal of the project is to complete an audio version of Genesis in one year.
Although there is already some Bible content in Chibi, this is the first translation project to use a new kind of software called Render that streamlines the process of translating the Bible for oral cultures.
“This project is history in the making, and I don’t use that phrase very often,” said Jonathan Huguenin, vice president of language recording and global partnerships at Faith Comes By Hearing, one of the three ministries that developed Render.
Eleven Chibi speakers held a two-week workshop in June with representatives of Faith Comes By Hearing, an audio Bible ministry; Seed Company, an affiliate of Wycliffe Bible Translators; and three Brazilian organizations to learn how to use Render.
According to the news release, while the workshop was held in Dourado, more than 400 miles west of Rio, the 800,000 members of the Calon are scattered across Brazil.
The Calon, descendants of gypsies who immigrated from Europe beginning in the 16th century to escape the Inquisition, isolate themselves from Brazilian society, even refraining from sending their children to school to guard against outside influences.
Not surprisingly, literacy is a problem, and Calon believers looked at the translation project as a way to preserve their language.
“The Chibi speakers embraced oral Bible translation and the principles of Render,” said Robin Green, the Render project manager, speaking in the news release. “Watching them work was one of the most satisfying moments of my life.”
Experts say there are more than 1,800 oral cultures like the Calon – representing perhaps 1 billion people – that don’t have the Bible in their own language, and many of them don’t even have a written language.
Historically, Bible translators have had to create a written language for these groups before creating an audio Bible that people could use, lengthening the translation process by years.
“The oral process requires no compromises to achieve high quality oral translations of Scripture,” said Ralph Hill, a consultant in oral translation with Seed Company, speaking in the news release. “It is now possible to translate and record first and, if desired, print later.”
Pioneer Bible Translators partnered with Seed Company and Faith Comes By Hearing to create Render. Faith Comes By Hearing records audio Bibles and relies on its partners to do the translation.
Render is an example of the merging of translation and recording to create a new tool that will empower oral peoples to participate in creating access to the Bible in their own language.
For more information, visit www.renderpartners.com.
Photo captions: 1) Three men with copies of God’s Word in Chibi, their mother tongue. (https://theseedcompany.org/projects/chibi). 2) Jeremy and Elma Reynalds.
About the writer: Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter, www.joyjunction.org. He has a master’s degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is “From Destitute to Ph.D.” Additional details on the book are available at www.myhomelessjourney.com. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife, Elma. For more information, please contact: Jeremy Reynalds at email@example.com.
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