Wycliffe Bible translators are using an effective method to
speed up translations by training natives to help.
According to Robert Harmon, the Wycliffe coordinator for the Pacific region,
teaching natives the English language so they understand the Bible,
commentaries and other printed matter enables them to then
translate the Bible into their own languages.
"It's traditionally taken 25 to 40 years," Harmon says about the
process. "With computers we've cut that down to 15 to 20, but if we
get a national who's doing it and they understand enough English so
that they can do the things that we've talked about, they can do it
in 8 to 10 years. So the main advantage is getting it done a whole
lot more quickly."
Harmon points out that Papua New Guinea alone has 850 different
languages. Indonesia has over 300. About 1,500 of the 6,800
languages in the world are in the South Pacific. In Papua New
Guinea there are 350 translations that have not yet been started.
Harmon adds that he has attended dedications of new translations
where there are usually major celebrations.
"It's really cool to see the excitement, enthusiasm and just the
joy on their faces that they're getting God's Word in their
language for the first time," he explains.
"What particularly touches my heart is their response, which is,
Now, God speaks our language. I don't have to learn a foreign
language anymore to read about God. Now he's our God."
Harmon is one of several Wycliffe translators on a speaking tour
around the nation, holding 25 banquets in five weeks in four