Monday, 29 October 2007

Last part of the Mountain to Climb!

This week I have received a further batch of sight-checking in the Igbo language from Wycliffe Associates which will occupy much of my time in the next few weeks. It was several years ago, when I was about to be housebound for 6 months with my leg in plaster after an ankle operation, that I saw a small advert asking for proof readers. Ever since then it has been a great joy to feel part of the team 'working here, helping there' to make the Scriptures available across the world.

I never know which language will be sent to me for checking and people ask me how I can possibly do the checking if I don't know the languages. Wycliffe Associates has a team of typesetters to computerise the original text and it is their work that I carefully check with a copy of the original text. Recently we have been working in this way on the Igbo Bible and I think this is probably my last batch in this language, for others will probably be given the final chapters, Jude and Revelation, to check.

Igbo (also written as Ibo) is a language spoken in Nigeria by around 18 million people (1999 WA), the Igbo, especially in the south eastern region once identified as Biafra. The language was used by John Goldsmith as an example to justify deviating from the classical linear model of phonology as laid out in The Sound Pattern of English. It is written in the Roman script. Igbo is a tonal language, like Yoruba and Chinese.

Also this week I have received a 3 months Plan for Daily Prayer for Bible Translation from Wycliffe Bible Translators because, as they tell us, "The gospel is not good news for hundreds of millions of people who don't have God's word. Wycliffe's vision is that Bible translation will start in every language that needs it by 2025 ('Vision 2025'). More Bible translation is going on now than in any time in history but there's the last part of the mountain to climb!

"Up to a billion people do not have Scripture in their heart language. Of these more than 196 million people in 2250 language groups are waiting for work to start. 2426 languages do have Scripture. Of these 429 have a complete Bible, another 1,144 have a New Testament and 853 others have at least one book of the Bible. Since
'Vision 2025' started in 1999, project starts have accelerated to 3 times the rate seen in the 1990s! Now a project starts every 5 days! Work is now going on in 1941 languages!"

Thank you WBT. What a wonderful record, with much more to come in the next few years! I have always been a keen supporter of Wycliffe Bible Translators and so I was delighted to come across the fact that John Wycliffe, Bible translator (1324-1384), came from my own home town of Barnard Castle and was educated at Egglestone Abbey (which I have only known in ruins), then at Oxford!

Please join me in prayer that 'Vision 2025' will become a reality, though it is unlikely that I will live to see it myself.

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