Communicating in a person’s heart language, in a way that is meaningful to them, is at the core of all we do. Our teams spend years focusing on culture and language learning to effectively build relationship and contextually share God’s love and hope with communities they live among.
This is what motivated Tobias, supported by the team, to conduct extensive research in Mozambique to discern whether or not the translation revision of the Bible in Malawi would be linguistically and culturally understandable if shared with the Mozambican Yawo. Would it be understandable as one’s own heart language for them or would it be more effective to develop a linguistically appropriate translation for the Mozambican Yawo?
Through the research, they discovered that the Ciyawo spoken among the Yawo in Malawi and the Yawo in Mozambique are linguistically diverse enough, through different dialects, that the translation in Malawi is not clearly understood by the Mozambican Yawo. It was also discovered that the Yawo people in Mozambique rely heavily on oral communication, meaning that a print-only version would be difficult for people to engage with. As such, having access to an oral translation of the Bible is just as important as a printed version. Accessible and linguistically appropriate Scripture is vital for community movements to Jesus.
With that in mind, Tobias and a team of Yawo translators, transcribers and back translators are commencing work on an Oral Bible Translation in Mozambican Ciyawo, which will be accompanied by a printed version where possible. For the Yawo that cannot read or where reading does not resonate like oral storytelling, they will be able to listen to the Word of God in their own heart language.
The first stage of the project is an oral translation of the book Genesis. It is anticipated that this will take between 18 months and two years to complete, including the time for training and preparation of the whole translation team. They will be using Christian media partners who will provide the hardware and software, as well as training and assistance with consultancy on technical issues to ensure that a good quality audio of the oral translation is produced.
To translate the whole Bible, this will take a number of years, as any translation does when done thoroughly and rigorously to ensure that the translation holds firm to the Word of God and is linguistically and culturally understandable for the recipients. This project is a two year project to commence stage one and will continually be monitored and evaluated to ensure effectiveness.
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