“How do we say ‘beginning’?”
“Where is the ‘ä’ letter?”
“Go ask mom how you say “dark”.
“How would we say “formed”?
These were some of the questions and remarks they made to each other, their faces intent on the screen, leaning in, pecking out the letters on the keyboard, as a half dozen Ludari Roma made history. They may not have known it, but as they typed on the computer tablet screen, they were writing out the first words we’ve ever translated of the Bible story from the Genesis creation account.
For two years now, we have been hoping to begin Bible translation in Ludari, the Roma language spoken in the village near the city where we recently moved, the 5th of 5 languages we have targeted for Bible translation in our quest to get God’s Word translated for all the Roma who live in Croatia, Serbia and other parts of former Yugoslavia.
Thursday night was a significant step toward that goal. I gathered in the small living room of Z. and N. who each week have been teaching me their language, Ludari. It has been a struggle for them since they don’t normally write the language. It is a language they use every day, but only in speaking. Putting it down in writing is something they have not done before. So how do you spell a word in a language you’ve never written?
As our Bible translation consultant has taught me, people of every language are used to expressing what they deem important or necessary. So it is usually not difficult for them to say in their language that they need to go to the store, or that the soup is cold, or the kids are being too loud.
But it is another matter altogether to figure out how they would express statements such as Genesis 1:2, “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
The challenge of Bible translation is to help them understand exactly what those statements mean, how they would say it naturally in their language, and how to write it down in letters that match up with the sounds they make when they say it.
So, another lap begins in the eternally-significant race to bring God’s Word to the nations! Thank you for your prayers which give traction, keep the baton from being dropped, and strengthen the legs for another turn around the track.
Todd & Pamala Price
(Kirsten, Daniel & Ariela)
Not only is our Bible translation consultant gifted in helping us improve our Bible translation, but he and his wife are a joy to have around and our kids loved having them, including art lessons, story time, first aid class and even playing four square during Bible translation breaks!