A few months ago, I wrote about the Shekgalagari New Testament translation reaching its final stages. It would have been more accurate to say the team was approaching the end of the third stage of the translation process. This involved taking the New Testament draft to Shekgalagari villages for community review. As Rev. Carl Grulke reports, “This process can be time and labor intensive. It takes a while to go through all those verses!”
The translation team received valuable feedback from visits to several areas. They were also able to answer questions about the language’s writing system and the choice of dialect (Shekgalagari has five!)
Next up is consultant checking. Simply put (very simply) a consultant uses his/her knowledge of translation and original Biblical texts to makes sure the Shekgalagari translation accurately conveys the meaning of Scripture while being understandable and meaningful to those who will be using it. This also will require a significant investment of time and effort before the consultant gives approval for publication. Which also has several stages…
Bible translation can be a long-term process. The willingness of donors to stick with a project and offer their prayers and gifts from start to finish is a blessing we don’t take lightly. Because of you and faithful partners like you, millions of people have been given the opportunity to read and hear God’s Word in their languages.
The Kalanga people of Botswana have a story that shows the consequences when we try to rush things. One day all the animals went to the ‘painter’ to get their coats painted. This was a difficult job and care needed to be taken to get the colors just right. All the animals were waiting patiently. However, when the hyena’s turn came, he saw cows going by. He was all excited and told the painter to hurry up because he needed to chase after the cows. The painter quickly applied the paint and that’s why the hyena’s coat looks so bedraggled.
Proper care needs to be taken with important things. It can be discouraging when work seems to be progressing slowly. Sometimes it’s tempting to hurry just to get finished. But the important work of Bible translation requires an investment of time sufficient to produce a relevant, accurate Bible that will speak to the hearts and minds of the language community for which it is intended. The Kalanga people did not settle for what they would have called a “hyena translation” and neither will the Shekgalagari. Give thanks for the wonderful milestone just reached and pray for the translation team as they approach the next stage, eagerly anticipating the day they can hold God’s Word in their hands.