Wycliffe Bible Translators Caribbean this week unveiled three Old Testament books – Ruth, Esther and Jonah – which have been translated into the Creole of Jamaica, Belize, and San Andres.
The unveiling, which took place on Tuesday (February 21), in observance of International Mother Language Day, means there are now 36 books of the Bible left to be translated.
That’s according to Ruth Sutherland Smith, executive director of Wycliffe Bible Translators Caribbean, who spoke ahead of the ceremony held at the Hope Fellowship Church at 23 Molynes Road in St Andrew.
SEVERAL PARTICIPANTS IN UNVEILING CEREMONY
Among those who participated in the ceremony were: Nicole Bembridge, translator, Belize; Dr David Frank, technical partner, SIL; Rev Dr Ricardo Gordon May, lead translator, San Andres; Oral McCook, chairman, Wycliffe Bible Translators Caribbean; Baron Higgins, lead translator, Jamaica; Ruth Smith-Sutherland, executive director, Wycliffe Bible Translators Caribbean; Marcia Bennett, custos rotulorum for St Thomas, who brought remarks on behalf of Governor General Sir Patrick Allen; and Rev Dr Marlon Winedt, global translation consultant, United Bible Societies.
In the message from the governor general, Bennett said: “The publication of this version of the books of Jonah, Esther and Ruth is another example of the fact that patois is valued and has a place in our society. These books of the Bible, which are being launched today, will transform the religious education of many children as they read and hear familiar Bible stories in their every day language… . Let us be proud of our native language and celebrate their value.”
Winedt, who was guest speaker, declared: “Dare we say God speaks our languages! Through our Bible translation in Creole we are chanting down any oppressive system that keeps our people in chains.”
VARIOUS SECTORS REPRESENTED
Bishop Lloyd Millen, of the local New Covenant Bible Chapel, noted that there was “a great appetite in our people” to hear God’s word in their language.
Millen added: “The Bible welcomes all the cultural diversity that glues Christians from all walks of life together. Wycliffe Bible Translators and team undertaking these projects shine pride and relevance on the Jamaican, Belizeans, and islander’s native tongues.“
A wide cross section of the religious, civil and academic sectors was represented at the unveiling ceremony.