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Bible Translation News

CanIL Changes Presidents

(Photo: Danny Foster)

Wycliffe Canada’s major training partner, the Canada Institute of Linguistics (CanIL) in Langley, B.C., has a new president. Danny Foster (left in photo) was handed the baton to lead the school from Mike Walrod (right in photo) this past March in a transition event and fundraiser at Trinity Western University. 

More than 200 people celebrated with CanIL, including special guests from Wycliffe Canada, SIL International, Trinity Western University and the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. 

Foster, an Ontario native, takes the reins of CanIL after working with Wycliffe in Tanzania with his wife Ranette since 2004. He helped implement a new cluster approach for Bible translation that saw two projects serve 19 language groups (see Word Alive, Spring 2009) and more recently was director for training and development for Ugandan and Tanzanian Bible translation efforts.

Foster returns to CanIL, where he was trained, with a passion for equipping the next generation of Bible translation field workers.

“The students that come into our community believe that they will change entire societies with God’s Word,” Foster says about those CanIL equips. “This is where I received my training and I got to go out and live beyond my wildest dreams. 

“If even in just some small way, I get to facilitate that in hundreds of others, then not only am I living a life full of purpose, but I am actually playing a huge role in bringing God’s Word and its message of truth to millions of people.”

Walrod stepped down after serving as president of the school for 27 years. Under his leadership, CanIL significantly expanded its courses, degree programs and student enrolment. Before that, Walrod and his wife Verna worked 18 years in Bible translation among the Ga’dang people of the Philippines.

Canadians’ Declining Engagement with the Bible Concerns Wycliffe

A new study that shows declining Bible reading and application among Canadians, including evangelical Christian (see graphs above), has Wycliffe Bible Translators concerned.

Wycliffe Canada President Roy Eyre says the results of the study, called Confidence, Conversation and Community: Bible Engagement in Canada, 2013, matter to the health of the Church in Canada, but also to its involvement as a partner with Wycliffe in translation of God’s Word for Bibleless people groups worldwide. 

“If Canadians don’t value God’s Word themselves,” says Eyre, “how can they ever see its value for those language groups who have no access to the Bible?”

Evangelical Christians, which make up the vast majority of Wycliffe Canada’s partner constituency, rank significantly higher in the study than Canadians in general and also other Christians, who in the study include French and English Catholics, as well as mainline churchgoers. 

“But I wouldn’t call this good news,” says Eyre. “Evangelicals’ confidence in and engagement with the Bible is not as high as it should be.”

Eyre says while Wycliffe Canada’s focus is on Bible translation and related ministries among minority languages worldwide, it will also be joining the conversation about how to encourage Bible engagement in this country, especially in the Church.

The study concludes that the Canadian Church needs to facilitate and promote conversations between Christians about the meaning of the Bible because the survey points to this as the key to deepen Bible engagement.

Archiving for Education in the Philippines

SIL Philippines, a key field partner of Wycliffe, is digitizing language and culture materials in the nation, making them available as resources for important community consultations by the federal government.

The Philippine department of education is holding the gatherings where participants can make decisions about writing and spelling the minority languages, so that more children can be taught in their first language in the early grades of school.

SIL International has learned in its field work that youngsters who learn first in their mother tongue are more successful in their studies and can progress to classes in the national languages of their nations. 

SIL Philippines has done language work in many of the Philippines’ 180 languages over the past five decades.

Bible Nearly Translated for Crimean Tatar

A translation of the Bible for the 475,000 Crimean Tatar people, half of whom live in the Ukraine, is nearing completion. 

The translation team is aiming to have the translation ready for typesetting this fall with hopes it will be distributed in 2015.

Several Scripture-based resources are already available in Crimean Tatar, which is also spoken in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. These include the “JESUS” film, and the translation of the Gospels, Acts, and five Old Testament books. 

Most Crimean Tatar people are Muslims.


Word Alive Wins Eight Awards

Wycliffe Canada’s magazine, Word Alive, has received eight awards for photography, writing, artwork and theme content for its issues published in 2013.

The Canadian Church Press (CCP) recognized the magazine in two categories. Word Alive also received six awards from the Evangelical Press Association (EPA).

Getting it in Writing

SIL International, Wycliffe’s key partner agency, has released a new resource to help those working in unwritten languages develop writing systems (orthographies). 

Entitled Developing Orthographies for Unwritten Languages, the book includes 11 papers with insights into the basic principles of designing a writing system and case studies from several language communities. 

The book is edited by SIL’s Dr. Michael Cahill and Dr. Karen Rice, who served previously in unwritten languages: the Konni language of Ghana and the Slavey language in Canada, respectively.

This resource will be useful because creating a writing system is much more complex than simply assigning a symbol to represent each sound in a language. Social and political issues, in addition to linguistic factors, also come into play. 

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