by Jill Riepe
Who would have thought that I would have the opportunity to translate Old Testment material with the Ap Ma people in my first term? Certainly not me, but it has turned out that not only am I helping the Ap Ma translate 15% of the Old Testament this term, but I’m also helping another language group, the Alamblak.
It all came about because I had to go to Ukarumpa to see the dentist about a cracked tooth. While I was there, I ran into a couple, Les and Kathy Bruce, that I knew from Dallas. They were teachers at the Graduation Institute of Applied Linguistics while I was a student at the University of Texas at Arlington. I had consulted with them on my dissertation at the time. In our brief conversation, they asked if I might want to be involved in Old Testament translation since I knew Hebrew and would be working in the Sepik where the Sepik Translation and Development Institute (STADI) Courses would be held. I told them I would have to talk with my director, Martha Wade; however, I was pretty sure that since this was just my first term that I wouldn’t be translating Old Testament quite yet.
However later that year, I went to Gandep to teach at the Bible school with Martha. She mentioned that she had been invited to come help with the STADI course that April. Then I mentioned that I had been invited to be involved with the course as well. We discussed it over that week and decided to give it a try.
In April 2010, Martha and I traveled to Wewak to help teach at the STADI course. At the time, we thought it was to be a one time event, but shortly after arriving we found out that the Bruces were hoping that the course would run for three years and assist in translating a large portion of the Old Testament for the Alamblak. They invited me and the Ap Ma translators to join in the project. They had applied for funding with the SEED Company and were hoping that they would be able to do 30% of the Old Testament with the Alamblak. Martha and I discussed it and agreed that it would be reasonable to try to translate 15% of the Old Testament into Ap Ma over the next three years.
We finally heard that the SEED Company had decided to fund this project in July so we began preparations for the second course to be held in September 2010. It was at this course that the national translators not only translated portions of Joshua, but also learned how to use computers and send emails using the equipment that the SEED Company provided. We will continue to meet twice a year over the next two years to learn more translation skills, to develop editing and correction skills, and to check the material that’s been drafted between courses. It’s exciting to see how this project in bringing three different organizations (SIL, Pioneer Bible Translators, and the SEED Company) together to provide support for translations to move forward so that God’s word is heard clearly in their heart languages.