Working through a difficult translation

POSTED ON 2008-10-29
  by Dena McMaster

Missionary Chad Mankins and his Tobo co-workers in Papua New Guinea, Tingon and Kips, recently tackled the translation of Romans.

"The Tobo language is a challenging language with its own unique set of words and phrases and ways of expressing things," wrote Chad. "In order for the meaning of Paul's letter to get through to the people in a way they can understand, we have to know how to put words and sentences in the right order, which is often almost exactly backward from how we do it in English."

Chad, Tingon and Kips recently attended a translation workshop on the New Testament epistles. They were able to work through the first six chapters of Romans with help from missionaries experienced in Bible translation. The workshop was a great help to the Tobo translation team.

The workshops helped them realize that the book of Romans has an especially important message for the people as it tells how to be made right with God and how believers can live their daily lives in the power of the Spirit. The Tobo believers are eagerly waiting for the opportunity to read God's instructions for them.

After the workshop, Kips and Chad evaluated the first three chapters of Romans in the Tobo language. Tingon watched Wayne Baker, a missionary skilled in translation principles, check the progress of the translation with Kips and Chad.

"We were so thrilled to see that Kips was able to repeat back the content truly and consistently with the meaning of these Scriptures." Chad wrote. "The check went very smoothly and we praise God for helping us see the good fruit of months of hard work."

Pray that the men translating the book of Romans into the Tobo language will make the meaning clear so that the Tobo believers can grow through reading God's Word. Praise God for how well the translation of the first three chapters went.

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