Archive for ‘dictionary making’

January 14, 2014

2013 in review

by mendibpng

IMG_1392

IMG_1394
Our intern Luke Elliott  (pictured above, with Noah, Joe and Ellie) spent nine months living with us last year.

January: We had planned to go to the village and do a ‘walkabout;’ however, Ben and I became too sick to travel. Once the virus had finished, it took weeks before the fatigue left us. We had to cancel the trip and Ben worked from home. Our teammates Luke and Laura still went to the village to do language learning.

February-March: Ben worked from home in Ukarumpa. This entailed managing the project (reporting, etc), doing advisor checks on 1&2 Timothy as well as dealing with personnel issues long distance over the phone or via skype. I supported him as the team leader by checking in with teammates regularly and hosting team meals and meetings.
IMG_3059
Dictionary Workshop participants identify nouns and verbs in their own languages.

April-May: We attended our bi-annual branch conference. During this month, we went to the village for a follow-up Dictionary Workshop and a translation revision for 1 &2 Timothy. We also began renovation on a staff housing building. Wayambo supervised the construction of most of our other buildings in our project previously, and came out to do this one. The house he renovated into a three bedroom house plus the downstairs apartment was split into two separate living spaces with their own bathrooms!
IMG_2874
Jacob “helps” Wayambo.

June-July: Ben and our teammate John consultant checked 1 and 2 Timothy in seven languages (three first, then four the next week) which was the first time they have attempted to do so many languages at once. The translators and language consultants told us over and over how Paul’s words impacted their lives—it was the first time they had translated preaching, rather than narratives in Luke and Acts. A video team from Wycliffe U.S. come during this time to get footage of the project.
IMG_4315cropsmall
August-September: We all appreciated the stability time for the whole family while Ben worked from his cubicle in Ukarumpa. Meanwhile, we supported our team long distance as Luke and Laura did linguistic analysis, Jerry recorded Acts in Arop and Beth, Missy and Cindy went to all of the people groups in our project to do Scripture Use and Literacy activities. In September, Ben and I took the twins to Cairns to see a pediatric dentist, since both of them had some deep cavities that required the skills of a pediatric dentist.

IMG_1802
Josiah helped lead worship at church numerous times throughout the year. He also plays in a Soul Purpose (youth) band and accompanies the Sunday school kids each week.
IMG_6245
Jacob and Jenny Beth still talk about seeing kangaroos in Australia!

October-November: Seven of our translators/literacy workers came to Ukarumpa for a Discover Your Language course. Ben mentored the Rombar Onnele group which allowed him time to do some more in depth study of the language, which essentially will help them make the translation more accurate.
Language Discovery Course 05 crop
(photo credit: Phil King) Ben coaching the Onnele men during the Discover Your Language course.

November-December: Ben went Arop for a translation workshop, while the kids and I stayed in Ukarumpa. He took new computers for the translators and spent most of the time trouble shooting how to connect them to the online and local servers (which store data for our translations) It turned out to be a difficult task but he came home having left them all up and running, praise God! This was probably one of the most challenging times of the year, since many of the appliances in our house died (while Ben was gone) Praise God that the shipping office and the Wycliffe buyer in Cairns helped us replace most of them before Christmas!
IMG_8252
At Christmas we had our hilarious moments…
IMG_8275
but also our more serious ones, when we shared our Jesse Tree (advent) readings together.

December: Ben arrived home safely and hiked out to a friend’s village the next week. He ended up getting very ill on Christmas day but since we had a low-key holiday planned, he was able to stay in bed for well over a week.

In summary: I am sure you are able to read between the lines and see that it has been a very busy, very fruitful year work-wise. Now, we look to the next five months here in Papua New Guinea and pray that we will be able to balance work and family life as we also pack and prepare for furlough starting in June.

May 26, 2013

Renovation Days 21 to 22

by bzephyr

On days 21 to 22 of the Aitape West Translation Project’s renovation, we saw door frames and window louvre frames installed…

IMG_2946cropsmall

The kitchenette in the flat was moved to accommodate access to the old toilet and shower rooms, the plywood walls were put up, and a new door installed…

IMG_2963cropsmall

And the old flat has access to the new bathroom…

IMG_2968cropsmall

Split blackpalm “limbum” was collected for siding…

IMG_2985cropsmall

Meanwhile, next door at the office, Onnele literacy teachers Rosalyn and Linda are enjoying the new things they’re learning about dictionary making…

IMG_2992cropsmall

The overflow pipes for the two tanks were creatively fitted, even though we didn’t have the right connections. Wayambo improvised with some tightly wound sheets of plastic…

IMG_3004cropsmall

The plywood walls and limbum siding starting going up…

IMG_3010cropsmall

IMG_3017cropsmall

IMG_3025cropsmall

The view from the developing new bathroom with its new door and plywood walls…

IMG_3042cropsmall

The siding needed to start above the first floor windows so that we could hang the downpipes in front of that space in the days ahead…

IMG_3074cropsmall

It was the last day for the translators and literacy team to be together. Tomorrow, the literacy team would head home and the translators would continue revising their translations of 1 & 2 Timothy. Today, the literacy team returned the favor and helped the translation teams read through these letters and made valuable suggestions…

IMG_3058cropsmall

May 26, 2013

Renovation Days 19 to 20

by bzephyr

On days 19 and 20 of the Aitape West Translation Project’s urgent renovation, we saw the kwila hardwood floors being installed…

IMG_2824cropsmall

The translators also returned from their communities where they had been village checking 1 & 2 Timothy, and they consulted with the literacy teams about the progress they had been making on their dictionaries…

IMG_2860cropsmall

I continued to work on cleaning up the last computers still effected by viruses…

IMG_2864cropsmall

Jacob continued to get lessons in carpentry…

IMG_2873cropsmall

Hey, there weren’t doorways there before!

IMG_2910cropsmall

We often joke around with Wayambo and tell him that he is a man who wrecks buildings and puts holes in them where they didn’t exist. But we really wanted these holes. The new room will access the old toilet and shower rooms. And there will also be an optional doorway connecting these two flats…

IMG_2886cropsmall

The hardwood floors were also installed upstairs…

IMG_2892cropsmall

And from the opposite angle…

IMG_2894cropsmall

Window frames were installed…

IMG_2900cropsmall

Arop translation advisor, Emil Ninkure, helped teach some of the dictionary lessons…

IMG_2914cropsmall

With the translators and literacy team working together, we had more people than ever at this workshop…

IMG_2926cropsmall

May 12, 2013

Renovation Days 14 to 15

by bzephyr

This month has been quite crowded at the Aitape West Translation Project with overlapping translation and dictionary workshops. The literacy team continued to make progress as they taught through the dictionary workshop coursebook.

IMG_2669cropsmall

We’re getting ready to host even more team members in June/July when we consultant check 1 & 2 Timothy, record the audio of Acts, and host some international partners. So it’s good to see new walls going up.

By day 14, work started on the new second floor room that was formerly airspace for a nest of little bats located above the water tanks. Since the room will include the existing door to the verandah and extend out beyond the current railing, it was time to remove some posts and bearers…

IMG_2638cropsmall

IMG_2660cropcolorsmall

At this point in the project, we realized that we were a little short on lumber. We arranged for local neighbors with a chainsaw to cut what we needed. But when they couldn’t get their saw running, Wayambo found enough spare pieces laying around that he could rip himself…

IMG_2684cropsmall

Here, you can see where the new floorplan connects to the existing verandah. Not only are we extending the floor in the direction of the old water tank location, we’re also extending outwards a few feet…

IMG_2737cropsmall

Hey, this is exciting…IMG_2751cropsmall

What can we do to help?

IMG_2693cropsmall

May 11, 2013

Renovation Days 12 to 13

by bzephyr

With a bigger team and growing opportunities to facilitate Bible translation and language development, we needed an urgent renovation to an existing building in order to accommodate more people at our training center in the bush. By day 12 we were utilizing the water tank that had moved to its new location, so it was time to move the second water tank. And this meant we could start framing the room that would go in at ground level.

IMG_2470cropsmall

Once the bearers and floor joists were in place, it was time to start putting up the wall framing…

IMG_2490cropsmall

And once the ground floor walls were up, it was time to think about supporting the second floor. This is when Wayambo’s skills really started being appreciated. Building a two story addition onto an existing house is not as easy as it would have been to build a separate building. And this is especially true for this house, because they’ll have to do some creative jacking of the house in order to knock the existing posts out without compromising the integrity of the existing cantilevered structure.

IMG_2478cropsmall

At the end of day 12, this warped bearer was giving them real problems.

IMG_2487cropsmall

They couldn’t jack the existing house high enough to pound this bearer into place. So they’ll have to try again tomorrow after a good night’s rest…

IMG_2492cropsmall

The next day, they had success, and so it was time to take the old posts out…

IMG_2532cropsmall

More jacking and supporting…

IMG_2575cropsmall

Another day’s work…

IMG_2557cropsmall

And meanwhile, the literacy team continued to make progress on their dictionaries…

IMG_2497cropsmall

IMG_2501cropsmall

IMG_2499cropsmall

Tags: ,
May 10, 2013

Renovation Days 8 to 11

by bzephyr

In the Aitape West Translation Project, one of our main goals is the training of trainers so that Papua New Guineans are equipped to serve their own communities and also share their skills and experience in helping others from the various 831 languages in this country. So two years ago we realized that we had a need for additional staff to train our PNG colleagues from the 11 languages in this project. We are now seeing new teammates join the project.

Below, our new teammate Luke from the UK demonstrates some features of the computers that these literacy personnel are using as they work on their dictionaries.

IMG_2454cropsmall

The quick influx of new staff has also created an urgent need for additional facilities in our remote village training center.

By day 8 of our renovation project, Wayambo had started making some significant changes in the existing downstairs flat. He had moved the kitchen counter over about a meter in order to make space for a new hallway to the old toilet and shower rooms from the new flat being built outside this kitchen window. This existing flat will receive the new bathroom.

IMG_2764cropsmall

And the framing for that new hallway has started…

IMG_2763cropsmall

Wayambo started fitting the new shower tray…

IMG_2396cropsmall

And we saw a new ditch dug to direct the waste water from the new shower and hand basins…

IMG_2289cropsmall

And one of the jobs that I’m spending a lot of time on in this project: the plumbing. On day 11, it was once again Sunday, so time to rest. But we did allow our water pumps to work all day as we pumped water from the remaining existing water tank to the repositioned water tank. And before we turned the generator off for the night, we were able to start getting water out of the newly plumbed water tank. Tomorrow, we’ll move the second water tank so we can start building the two new rooms.

IMG_2464cropsmall

These days also marked the dictionary workshop being into full swing after the translators left to go home and check 1 & 2 Timothy with their communities. But they also marked the start of several days of cleaning viruses off our 22 project computers and our local network. Below, Beth (right) and Luke’s wife, Laura (left), help run the virus scans.

IMG_2295cropsmall

Everywhere we look these days, we see people working together to support the growing work and ministry of this Bible translation project. We are blessed!

May 9, 2013

Renovation Days 5 to 7

by bzephyr

With translations, dictionaries and scripture use training going ahead in nine languages, we are so thankful for our growing number of staff. And work on the urgent renovation continued despite some big rains. We were thankful for the rain, because we had already emptied one of our two water tanks in order to start construction. The second tank was nearly half empty. So the kids had a good excuse to get outside and collect water by any other means, although baths were needed after this got muddier…

IMG_2182cropsmall

I failed to get pictures of the renovation on days 5 and 6 because I was busy with the Dictionary Workshop…

IMG_2257cropsmall

The translators stayed around for 3 days after their workshop to help work together with the literacy team as they met for the second time to work on their dictionaries…

IMG_2254cropsmall

By the end of day 7, much more had been accomplished on the renovation. It was decided to widen the two rooms by another foot and a half based on the length of the 4×4 bearers that we had acquired. But this also meant that we would be short on flooring, so we would need to get our hands on a few more pieces before the project could be completed.

IMG_2238cropsmall

You can also see above that Wayambo did figure out how to make enough cement for new circular tank stand pads. This was a really nice surprise since we’ve had two other tanks break after sinking into the soft ground. Although we were short on gravel, there were several hardened cement bags lying around, and once broken up, that was able to substitute for the needed gravel. Wayambo’s always good for creative solutions.

And let’s take a closer look at how the new bathroom is coming along…

IMG_2229cropsmall

And looking from the inside out…IMG_2222cropsmall

It was time to rest after another hard day’s work. And look at that wall ready to go up…

IMG_2236colorsmall

Tags:
January 4, 2013

The good #3: Developing local leaders for language development

by bzephyr

This last year our team desired to make progress in equipping local literacy teachers and also in using linguistic research to contribute to the quality of translations and to meeting the language development needs of the communities. But we also wanted to facilitate our PNG colleagues’ development in these areas rather than simply allow outsiders to do this for the local team. So dictionaries were begun this year in order to accomplish these multiple purposes.

This is the next in a series of posts on the good, the bad, and what I’m doing now to sharpen ugly worn-out tools from 2012. See also here, here, and here.

P1080945crop

In the past, mother tongue translators have met separately from local literacy teachers at different workshops. This year, however, we sent a handful of translators and literacy teachers to a regional dictionary workshop with the express purpose that they would return to the Aitape West project later in the year and lead a similar workshop for all the others. So in April, four translators and three literacy teachers from four different languages attended the regional workshop in Wewak. In September, these seven led the workshop for local literacy teachers from nine languages.

They taught about basic computing and typing, making dictionaries, parts of speech, the WeSay dictionary software, and what to do with such complicated things as bound verb roots. As the more experienced users of their written languages, all the translators also attended and served as mentors even while growing in their own knowledge and skills. With our recent acquisition of more bunk beds and mattresses, we were able to accommodate more people at a single workshop than ever before as the translators and literacy teachers worked together as part of a single team in this translation project.

We view the equipping of this larger team not only as a means to more holistic language development, but also as a key ingredient to local ownership of the translation task and to facilitating Scripture use among the communities. Plans are underway for this next year to continue this dictionary development and to involve the larger team in the translation task and in Scripture use.

The dictionary workshops were not the only way that we have been developing local leaders within the Aitape West Translation Project. We have communicated to the Aitape West translators that we want to continue facilitating opportunities for them every year to grow in their leadership skills as they are willing and able to serve people from other language communities in the region and the nation.

Last November, four local translators accompanied me to attend a church partnership conference in the larger regional town of Wewak as we prepared for our own conference in Aitape later the following year. Most of our translators attended the Aitape conference in August and contributed by interacting with the district church leaders, leading worship, and speaking out about various issues in the conference.

In June, five local translators traveled with me to our national training center in Ukarumpa and served as training mentors in the Paratext translation software course. The November ’11 and July/August ’12 translation editing workshops for Luke-Acts happened without any expat presence. These workshops involved significant interaction with translation advisors as we communicated remotely over email and Skype. We continue to be grateful for these local partners who take increasing responsibility for various tasks.

This year one of our Arop advisors, Linus, died, and the other two Arop advisors, Emil and Pastor Peter, experienced the death of close family members. This took them away from some of our workshops, but the other translators stepped up and took responsibility for various tasks that always need to be done. Likewise, when out teammate, Beth, returned from furlough, some of the translators took it upon themselves to organize where they were all at with their TEE training (Theological Education by Extension), and before Beth could bring the topic up with them, they presented her with their plan for finishing book 2 and continuing with book 3.

This last year has seen many good things happening in the Aitape West Translation Project.

November 30, 2012

Training Trainers part 2: Dictionary Making in the Aitape West

by mendibpng

Once again, the SPES team in Wewak invited our team to come and take part in a dictionary workshop. We sent translators and literacy workers from the project, along with advisor Jessie Wright, and they all learned to use the WeSay dictionary software that our colleague had developed.  Those who attended the first workshop in April earlier this year ended up training the rest of the team during the month of September on how to create dictionaries!

(above) Participants became excited as they learned things like “what is a verb in my language?” They also learned how things fit together grammatically in their language. Photo by Luke Warrington.

The following is Ben’s writeup for our team:

This last year our team desired to make progress in equipping local literacy teachers and also in using linguistic research to contribute to the quality of translations and to the language development needs of the communities. But we also wanted to facilitate our PNG colleagues to develop in this area rather than simply allow outsiders to do this for the local team. So dictionaries were begun this year in order to accomplish these multiple purposes. In the past, mother tongue translators have met separately from local literacy teachers at different workshops. This year, however, we sent a handful of translators and literacy teachers to a regional dictionary workshop with the expressed purpose that they would return to the Aitape West project later in the year and hold a similar workshop for all the others. So in April, four translators and three literacy teachers from four different languages attended the regional workshop in Wewak.

photo by Luke Warrington

In September, these seven led the workshop for local literacy teachers from nine languages. They taught about basic computing and typing, making dictionaries, parts of speech, the WeSay dictionary software, and what to do with such complicated things as bound verb roots. As the more experienced users of their written languages, all the translators also attended and served as mentors even while growing in their own knowledge and skills. With our recent acquisition of more bunk beds and mattresses, we were able to accommodate more people at a single workshop than ever before as the translators and literacy teachers worked together as part of a single team in this translation project. We view the equipping of this larger team not only as a means to more holistic language development, but also as a key ingredient to local ownership of the translation task and to facilitating Scripture use among the communities. Plans are underway for this next year to continue this dictionary development and to involve the larger team in the translation task and in Scripture use.

November 29, 2012

Training Trainers: Part 1 ‘Church Engagement’

by mendibpng

In addition to final checking of Acts, we’ve done some new things this year: Church Engagement and Dictionary making.  Our year has been full of village stays and so writing about these events has fallen by the wayside….this is an attempt to show how our team has collaborated with and learned from the experience of others and brought it back to the Aitape West region.

Ben has taken the opportunity to visit district church leaders whenever we have passed through Aitape town on our way in and out of the village. Every time, they enthusiastically received him, particularly when he handed out complimentary copies of the newly printed Gospel of Luke in seven languages. We wanted to see the leaders involved in the promotion and use of the scriptures, so Ben began talking to them about hosting a vernacular Bible conference for them in Aitape, something that we had never attempted before.

Last November, Ben attended a similar conference at our regional center in Wewak along with four of our Papua New Guinean coworkers.  Our friends who work with the SPES project organized the conference and had invited church leaders and pastors from all over Wewak. For one of the sessions, they invited Ben to speak about new mission approaches in the Sepik. In between sessions, and at meals, he enjoyed having time to talk to the church leaders. Some of our translators also had opportunities to share their testimonies. The participants came away with the desire to partner together to further their shared goals as a group. Those of us working in Bible translation saw that dialoguing together fostered ownership and the desire to use the local scriptures.

Fast forward to August of this year….those four PNG translators who attended the workshop in Wewak helped lead a similar workshop in Aitape town, which we called “The Aitape Baibel Conference.”

At the conference, the participants started to grasp the importance of Bible translation. Ken Tobiana, who came as a guest speaker from Ukarumpa, (pictured above on the far right) used a People Chain to explain the importance of supporting Bible translation.

Here are some of the things mentioned by the pastors who attended the workshop:

“A lot of the pastors use big English words [from the English Bible] but they are only pretending. They don’t know the real meaning of the words and how it can help all people.”

“The Word of God has come and united us. So it is a big thing. Today we have gathered, and in this work, I believe we will join together, and it is probably a blessing and a question posed to us. I believe that. Let’s clap our hands to the triune God. This is like the plan of God Himself.”

“I feel like something is rattling in my spirit…”

“This conference is a big challenge. Now we come to a time of teaching [God’s talk]. Hosea 4:6 People perish for a lack of knowledge.”

“God’s Talk will change your life.”

The participants left with a desire to see God’s Talk translated into their mother tongue languages, some very emotional and determined to see Bible translation started in their own language groups. As for the Aitape West team, our Papua New Guinean translators were encouraged that the district-level church leaders recognized the value of the important work that they are doing.  It was also affirming that the leaders are now supportive of using the local language scriptures in the churches. All of the participants (particularly the church leaders) became enthusiastic about the possibility of beginning translation work in other languages in the region that have no scriptures yet.

%d bloggers like this: