Anchoring Translated Scriptures in the Community
Once the scriptures have been translated, it is essential to ensure that they are being used. A sad reality is that many translations remain on the shelf, unused by the people for whom they were intended. This is primarily due to a lack of scripture engagement.
An essential way to encourage scripture engagement is to involve the language community in the translation project right from the start. We involve the community in recruiting and choosing prospective translators. A committee of representative community members helps to run the project and review the translation right from the start.
The reviewing of the draft translation by the review committee and field-testing of the text in the community before it is published is part of the scripture awareness and engagement process. A portion of scripture is usually tested by hundreds of people before it is published.
Scripture is published as early as possible, usually within the first year of the start of the project (e.g. the Gospel of Mark). The first few publications are called trial versions and used in churches, Bible study groups and schools. Literate pupils who take the portions home can read them to illiterate family members. That way, feedback from the community is encouraged to improve future publication of the scriptures which fosters greater ownership.
Adult literacy is an important aspect of scripture engagement. It creates a readership of translated scriptures among individuals who were previously disadvantaged through being illiterate.
Audio and Braille Versions
Recording of scripture is essential for illiterate and blind members of the community. Our main partner in audio scripture production is Faith Comes by Hearing. In Malawi, a Braille version of the Sena New Testament has been produced by Torch Trust.
The Jesus Film
We partner with the Jesus Film project who have produced a film based on the Gospel of Luke. The voices of the film actors are dubbed using lip- synchronisation into each language. This is a very effective outreach tool and helps promote the use of the scriptures in the mother tongue. To see the Gamo people's response to the Jesus film, click here.