On the last day of the semester, the Applied Linguistics department celebrated students in the first-ever Translation Advising class. This course is the flagship course in the MA in Translation Advising degree program (AL5331 Translation Advising). The students worked in multicultural teams to translate Bible stories from English to Swahili before putting the stories into a colorful children’s book. Each team followed the process that translation teams on the field use to produce Scripture books: drafting, editing, feedback from the community, checking by a consultant, then laying the book out with pictures.
At the celebration, staff, faculty, and fellow students packed in to honor the students and their coaches. The height of the celebration came in reading the Bible stories aloud. Millicent, the language coach from Team Kenya, read a story from Team Tanzania about David and Goliath, showing the pictures as she read. Next, the wife of Gwakisa, Team Tanzania’s language coach, read the story of Jesus healing the paralytic from Team Kenya’s storybook. Even non-Swahili speakers could understand when Jesus was rebuking the Pharisees as she passionately read, “Why are you wondering that in your hearts? …”. The celebration ended with Millicent’s husband closing in prayer. Moved by the students’ commitment to serve God among peoples in other places, he blessed them as they finish their studies and launch into ministry.
Reflecting on the project, Millicent shared, “I thought that we would just translate the stories, then we were done! I had no idea that we had to keep going back and editing after each step in the process. But now that the book is finished, I see why we had to follow all those steps.” Gwakisa added, “I am fluent in Swahili and I am a pastor, but I have never done any translating before, so I wondered if I could do it. It was a pleasure working together with the students. We worked as a team to make sure that it was correct according to the Bible, and that it flowed smoothly in Swahili.” The students echoed those sentiments about the joys of working as a team to produce God’s Word in another language. “We did it!”
Interested in learning more about projects like this? Find more information about DIU’s Translation Advising graduate program below.