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Sunday Snippet: 10 Steps to Bible Translation.

September 22nd, 2008 · 8 Comments

Ten Steps to Bible Translation from Wycliffe

This is a series of free lesson plans that I used with a group of kids last year with great success. Yup it is free and it is brilliant. It takes you through the steps of Bible Translation for people around the world: starting with why we should be concerned with Bible Translation, through assembling an alphabet and ending with printing the Bibles. Each of the links provides a lesson outline for the teacher – suggesting anecdotes and even words to say. This is followed by really great printable worksheets. I started by making a poster with the kids and printed out some colorful feet, one for each lesson. Each week we would add a foot to the poster and they would read out the list as far as we had gone along the path to translation. The great thing about the 10 steps, is that they have a place for children to participate – it brings the idea of Bible translation home as a viable project, not just some thing strange people do in stranger clothes on the far side of the world. These worksheets would work just as easily in your own homeschool. You can take what you need from each lesson and add in what you like, but they provide a fantastic basis for teaching your kids about Bible Translation.

What’s So Special About the Bible:
This lesson provides an introduction to the theme. It stresses firstly the importance of the Bible and secondly introduces the need of Bibleless people. There are more than 2000 people groups in the world who do not have the Bible, or even a snippet of it, in their own language. For this class you will need bread, light and a sword. I took bread dough to class and let them make swords ready to bake (they took them home and baked them ready for lunch) and printed the relevant bible verses on a lightbulb shaped card.

    Step 1: Planting God’s Word.   

    In this class kids are provided with an understanding of what translation is, specifically with regard to Bible translation. I took along a couple of seeds for the kids to look at and we planted mystery seeds in empty egg cartons to watch them grow as we studied the series. I used sunflower seeds but you could use anything. I printed the Bible Verse on printable seed packets.

    Step 2: Deciding Where to Go.   

    For this lesson you will need a map of the world to demonstrate the 10/40 Window to the kids. It is the first time that I met the acronym: THUMB. Most of the people in the 10/40 Window belong to one of five major religions: Traditional; Hindu; Unbelievers; Muslim; and Buddhist. This is such an easy way for kids to remember and understand the need for the Bible in a people group’s own language.

    Step 3: Assemble the Team.   

    This lesson is all about gathering a team together from all walks of life. It has an absolutely brilliant illustration of the necessary team work required for any missionary work. I have used this tug-of-war illustration over and over again – it is great for kids to partake in (physical and you spin a yarn as you go) and it is also a great skit, for the congregation to watch.

    Step 4: Create an Alphabet.   

    This lesson explains how many languages don’t even have alphabets and how many times before you begin translation you have to create a relevant alphabet for that people group. They also describe the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) which is great for code loving kids!

    Step 5: Write a Draft.   

    The lesson here is to understand that the translator needs to understand the people they are working with and have a deep understanding of them. A phrase in our language can take on a completely different meaning in a different culture. For example: Jesus loves me, can be expressed in another culture Jesus carries his liver for me, not exactly as we would express it!

    Step 6: Teach People to Read.   

    The next and very important step in the scheme is to teach the people to read. The games in this lesson teach very clearly why the people need to be able to read in order to receive the message of the Bible. Clearly after playing In One Ear and Out the Other you realize that word-of-mouth is not the best way to pass on the Good News!

    Step 7: Revise the Draft.   

    This lesson describes how carefully a translator has to review their work in order to make the people understand. And the difference between being a scribe, copying word for word and a translator who interprets the word according to the culture he is working with.

    Step 8: Use God’s Word.   

    This lesson is all about how the new Bible will affect the people that it is written for. There is a lovely drama to act out – that the kids really enjoyed doing. And the Heavenly Banquet Game illustrates just how important it is for everyone to get a chance to hear the gospel in their own language.

    Step 9: Make Final Changes.   

    This is the final step in the translation process as the translated words are checked to make sure that they provide the correct meaning in the local language and culture. They use a technique called back-translation and take the newly written words and translate them back into English to see if they still have the same Bible meaning.

    Step 10: Print New Bibles.   

    This is a fun lesson as they are provided with a few tips on how a Bible should look in some cultures and then asked how they would design it – a completely different idea after a couple of weeks of rearranging words and thinking about translating.

Celebrate Together. We had an end of term party (baked a cake) and celebrated the completion of the Bible Translation Project and looked at the different ways that different cultures celebrate their Bibles in their own language. Of course all parties need a gift or a parcel.

And we played pass the parcel, instead of gifts in between the candy I placed questions and challenges to recap the Bible Translation Lessons and in the center of the parcel I had a Bible tract, based on the Two Ways to Live Outline, for each child to give to a friend.

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