Bible translation is a chief task for All-Nations teams, but it is far from the only task. Frequently, it is more than a simple lack of a Bible which prevents an indigenous church from beginning and flourishing among an unreached people group.
Why we care that they learn to read
Why is it important for people to have access to the Scriptures in their heart language? Let us consider three reasons.
Several months ago I was sitting in my office with my language helper doing another language session. In this session we were exploring some of the animistic aspects of the local culture. As the session progressed, I began asking more questions about the local animistic parts of the culture.
When Ben realized the need for a translation of the Bible in the Mayangna language several years ago, he didn’t attempt the job on his own. His closest collaborator was a Mayangna believer, and together they set out to meet the need.
One afternoon I hiked ten minutes to our neighbors to ask if I could buy some goat manure. We wanted to plant a small garden plot and some fertilizer would be a help. When I arrived, I noticed his wife who only speaks Tarahumara sitting outside, but the man was nowhere around.
In the translation world, it is well-known that certain genres of text are more difficult to translate than others. Some of the easier text genres for translation are narrative (telling about an event) and descriptive (giving details about someone or something).
Translators are not authors, free to write whatever they want in the way they want. They must translate the existing text with integrity.
We expect that a surgeon would spend years in training and apprenticeships before he ever attempts his first surgery. Likewise, a lawyer would spend years in law school before he ever represents a case in the courthouse. Should a missionary go to the field without training?