AT the invitation of MP David Day Pacha, Guadalcanal Weathercoast church leaders from SSEC, Catholic and ACOM gathered in Honiara to address the need of a Bible translation in the local language(s).
The two-day meeting, led by BTLP (Bible Translation and Literacy Partnership) and SITAG (Solomon Islands Translation Advisory Group) was held at the Bible Translation Centre on Tanuli Ridge.
David Tago, BTLP Director, and James Ashley, SITAG Translation Advisor, led the meeting.
The aim of the meeting was to raise awareness among church leaders about the importance and benefits of Bible Translation into local languages.
James Ashley, SITAG Translation Coordinator reminded participants that the Bible is God’s Message to people.
“In Old Testament times, God spoke to the Israelites in Hebrew,” Mr Ashley said.
“The New Testament was written for the early Christians in Greek, the everyday language of the time,” he added.
“God still communicates to us through His Word and people understand it best when it is translated into their own language.
“The purpose of Bible translation is to communicate God’s message of love to people everywhere.”
The participants looked at the story of Bible translation in church history and some of the challenges that Bible translators have faced.
While Bible translators today still face challenges and misunderstandings, the task is worth the effort.
In order for a Bible translation project to run well, it requires the involvement and support of the local community.
Before a project can begin, a Bible translation committee must be formed to organize the project.
Committee members should be dedicated, hardworking people, who are good at organizing and working with the local community.
They will be responsible for the selection and appointment of translators and translation reviewers.
The committee will also make decisions about how the language will be written and choose key terms to explain Biblical principles.
The workshop participants returned to the Weathercoast to share with their communities the information they gained through the workshop.
David Tago encouraged the leaders to look for educated young Christians within the language community who can be trained in Bible translation to be a part of this work.
In a few months time, David Tago and James Ashley, plan to visit the area to conduct translation awareness seminars.
In 2016, a language survey specialist, John Carter, is planning a trip to the Solomon Islands to help evaluate the languages and dialects on the Weathercoast.
At least six names for the dialects people speak in the region have been identified; Poleo, Koo, Malagheti, Talise, Toloand Moli.
Mr Carter and his team will spend time collecting linguistic data which will help determine where the various languages and dialects are spoken and how they are related.
This information will help church leaders and technical advisors determine the best language(s) or dialect(s) to be used for Bible translation.
David Tago, BTLP Director said:
“I am excited and pleased to see the interest of these church leaders to start a Bible translation project.
“BTLP is an organization of Solomon Islands Bible translators and we are pleased to provide support for this project as it develops.”
MP Pacha has wanted a Bible translation for the people in his constituency for a long time.
“It is the deep desire of my heart to see God’s Word, the Holy Bible, translated in my own mother tongue,” he said.