More than Bible translation

(July 2021) A Bible translation program may involve much more than just translating the Bible text. Who makes sure that people can actually read their language well, so that they can read the translation without difficulty? And will the translation actually be used in the churches? The Nukeria translation team is involved in both of these things: literacy and Scripture Engagement. Here is a report from Tom Puaria.

Since the start of Bible Translation in Fead Islands for the Nukeria language, the translation team has been invited by the Community Government on the island to play vital roles in different sectors including education (Elementary Classes), and the churches (Sunday School).

Elementary Classes

School classes in Papua New Guinea begin with Elementary 1 & 2 before they move on to Grade 3. During the Elementary Classes the local vernacular is being used. Since 2013, the translation team has been asked by the School Management Board to assist in translating the English textbooks into the Nukeria language. I have a scheduled reading session with the three Elementary teachers every Mondays and Thursdays at 4.00 – 4.30pm to help them with their lessons.

Involvement in the Churches & Sunday School program

We have translated Bible stories for the Sunday School classes and Sharon was appointed to take charge of Sunday School Program. In 2015, the translation team ran a four weeks’ awareness campaign on Understanding Scriptures.

Since the launching of the trial edition of the Nukeria Gospels in January 2019, we started a weekly program with preachers from the three church groups in reading and studying Scripture in their own vernacular.

From a brief survey I had with church leaders in the beginning of 2020, I learned that about 80% of them use the Nukeria Bible at the church services in Buhuria village, while in the Hauma village, where I live with my family, Bible use in the Nukeria language is 100%. All services are being conducted in the Nukeria language.

The weekly Nukeria Bible reading sessions is still continuing since we started them on the 1st of March 2019.