Why does it take that long to translate the Scriptures?
This is a question that often times is asked to BTL staff members whenever they state the long duration of time it takes to complete Scripture translations. This leaves many with mouths agape!, until they get to hear and understand some of the challenges that the translators experience in a bid to get the translated Bibles to their communities.
The Ilchamus New Testament set to be launched this Saturday, 8th October 2022 in Baringo County is no exception. This translation has taken 16 years of work having been began in 2006, after foundational conversations held with community members and research carried out to ascertain the Bible translation need in this community.
As the Ilchamus Project Officer, Rev. Robert Parteneu puts it, “In 2006, BTL gave the green light to commence Bible translation in the Ilchamus language. Work started off on a promising note with the linguistics task progressing well during the early stages.” “Our steady progress was however often interfered with; as we experienced intermittent cattle rustling and banditry attacks which escalated in the Kerio Valley and Eastern Baringo regions.” He added.
As if the banditry attacks were not enough to pause the work, Rev. Parteneu says, “We also struggled with semantic mismatches between Greek Key Biblical Terms and Ilchamus terms, and we resorted to using descriptive phrases. We would thereafter, organize community reviews to test the clarity and naturalness of the Key Biblical Terms, and reach acceptability with the wider community. This was quite time consuming, though a worthwhile task to undertake.”
These and more challenges did not deter the translators in their mission, “we were determined to give our community a Bible in a language they would understand for their own spiritual growth; reconciliation and healing”. A milestone they are gradually realizing.
In these 16 years of translation, the translation team has achieved a number of milestones, which are chronologically highlighted through this link.
As we look forward to the dedication ceremony tomorrow, we truly thank God that in spite of the challenges that the translators have had to surmount, the New Testament is now available in the Ilchamus language and the community will be able to get a hold of the copies in their hands for the first time ever!
“…the LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!” Psalm 118:15 (b)