Northern Translation Brief: Kingfisher Lake Translation Checking

Our Dear Partners,

In the complex task of translating the Bible, it is helpful for a translation team to break the process down into manageable and measurable steps. The new Oji-Cree translation team is working on the project chosen by their church and community–that is, the scripture verses contained in the weekly (Epistle and Gospel) lectionary readings used in Sunday Services.

For each passage, the translation team work through steps in order to ensure that the translation in their mother tongue is clear, accurate, natural and acceptable.

  • The first step is the “First Draft“, which includes learning what the original passage means and then expressing that meaning in the translator’s own words.
  • The second step is a “Team Check“, during which the translator reads her First Draft to the other Oji-Cree translators in the translation team, and the team offers suggestions, corrections, or advice. The translator then makes appropriate revisions.
  • The third step is a “Community Check“. The text is printed and distributed in a preliminary form that other members of the community can read (or be read to), and the translator receives feedback and suggestions from Oji-Cree speakers of different ages in the community. The translator again makes appropriate revisions.
  • The fourth step is a “Back Translation“. A team member who did not work on the translation reads the text without referring to the original source, and makes a translation back into English. This English language back translation can now be used to verify whether the translation is complete and accurate.

You can see a progress chart showing these steps at one of our previous posts Northern Translation Brief 05Oct2016.

After the team accomplishes these four steps, the passage is ready for step five, a checking session with a Translation Consultant. A translation consultant is a person trained in linguistics, cross-cultural studies, Biblical languages and content, along with in-depth experience working in minority-language translation programs in the field.

In January 2017, the New Oji-Cree Bible translation team had their first “Consultant Check”.

Travel to Kingfisher Lake

On Monday Morning, January 23, Norma Jean and I drove to Ruth Heeg’s house in Waterloo, Ontario, and her husband Dick drove us to the airport in Toronto. Ruth brings extensive translation experience in a lifetime career of Bible translation in Wycliffe and also as a translation consultant with the Bible Society.

We met up with Meg Billingsley at the airport. Meg is a “translation consultant-in-training” and is being mentored by Ruth. Meg also has had several years of field experience in translation projects for Plains Cree in Saskatchewan and Mik’maq in Nova Scotia. We all checked in at the airport and flew together to Thunder Bay, Ontario, and spent the night there.

Ruth Heeg and Meg Billingsley

On Tuesday Morning, January 24, we got a message from the airline that serves the remote First Nations communities in Northern Ontario (Wasaya) that there were weather delays, and that our plane would not leave Thunder Bay until mid afternoon. So we had breakfast and lunch together. We had planned to arrive in Kingfisher by 10:00 in the morning on Tuesday. That was not going to happen now.

Waiting in Sioux Lookout

After flying to Sioux Lookout in the afternoon, we got on the late plane to Kingfisher, but it was still snowing and foggy, and so after flying up and “over” Kingfisher, the pilot turned the plane around and we went back to Sioux. By now it was 8:30 PM. So we spent one extra night en-route at Sioux Lookout.

STILL WAITING

On Wednesday Morning, January 25, we got up early to go to the airport, and we were put on the “waiting list” for the morning flight up north, which was also cancelled by weather. Finally, they put us on the late flight in a bigger plane (a Dash-8) so all the folks who could not get north in the past few days could all go together. The only hitch was that we were told that our bags would follow later. We finally got in to Kingfisher Lake at about 8:30 PM on Wednesday night after spending both Tuesday and Wednesday at the airports.

Translation Checking

The translation team was all ready to work on Thursday morning, and so we all sat down, had our greetings, our prayers and we got started. The translation team agreed to also work on Saturday afternoon because of our time in travel. We let the translation team and Bishop Lydia set the schedule.

Planning the workshop

Working on the text

Ruth K, Zipporah and Jessie

Each day we would begin with devotions and a Bible reading in the Oji-Cree language, prayers and a (Cree) hymn, and then I would turn over the workshop session to Ruth and Meg. I first briefed the team on the purpose of a consultant check, and then Meg got right into it with the passages that she had prepared. The entire team worked together, with one team member (Jessie) handling the updates and revisions to the text and another (Zipporah) updating the back-translation. All of the team participated and answered Meg (and Ruth’s) questions.

Other Scripture Engagement Activities

Their former Bishop of the Keewatin Diocese, Rt. Rev. David Ashdown, came for the weekend for services in the community. He preached in all the services, and they were well attended. One of the major Sunday services (the “English” service, held in the afternoon) was held in the school gym, being larger, and it accommodated the “blessing of the school”. At this service, the new Oji-Cree translation of the Epistle and the Gospel was read in the local language, and the translation was well-received by the large Oji-Cree speaking congregation in attendance.

Bishop Ashdown and Bishop Lydia also performed a consecration service for the new chapel in the lower level of the Mission House. It was named the “Chapel of the Holy Elders”, being named in honour of the Oji-Cree elders who were instrumental in the early Christian life and self-determination of the diocese of Mishamikoweesh.

Mission House Chapel

Service of consecration

Reading the scriptures

Bishop Ashdown signing the new vestry book

Norma Jean and I then participated in the new Sunday School that the translation team from Mission House has set up, in anticipation of the trip that we have planned to work with the Oji-Cree Christian Education team on Vacation Bible School this July. We are hoping to bring some people from our home church in Simcoe, ON to assist at this, Lord willing.

Kingfisher Lake Sunday School

Parents helping their children

Sunday School crafts

God made colourful caterpillars

Norma Jean also led the translation team in the production of a scripture engagement project, a church banner with “Love One Another” (ᓵᑭᐦᐃᑎᔪᐠ in Oji-Cree) on it, from John 13:34. The team participated in the design and some of the sewing, but somewhat less than usual, so that they could give more time to the consultant checking with the translation consultants.

Planning the Future

On Friday, Norma Jean met with the translation team and the Sunday School team to talk about a summer youth activity, “Vacation Bible School”. The Oji-Cree team suggested that the topic could be the story of Creation from Genesis. Norma Jean would be working with the translation team in the months to come to prepare culturally-appropriate Sunday School and Christian Education curriculum that more closely corresponds to indigenous life in the north.

The team told us that they wanted to be sure that the Gospel was clearly presented throughout the week, so that the children had an opportunity to hear and respond to the good news about Jesus. The Oji-Cree team also said that any helpers from outside the community should not simply come up and conduct the Vacation Bible School themselves–but rather that the activity be used to train the Oji-Cree Sunday School teachers and staff to learn how to conduct and present a Vacation Bible School program. With this in mind, each of the activities would be presented in both the Oji-Cree language and English, with the Oji-Cree Sunday School teachers fully involved in all activities with the Kingfisher Lake children.

The dates that they proposed for this summer’s Vacation Bible School activity in Kingfisher Lake are July 17th to the 21st, just after the Dr. William Winter School.

On Saturday, we met to talk with Bishop Lydia who shared her ongoing vision for the Oji-Cree translation project, future plans, and the kinds of support and help that they would like from us. She said that she will be meeting with some of the church leaders in the area of her diocese (in northern Manitoba) that speak the Swampy Cree language about the possibility of having a similar translation project started in one of the Swampy Cree communities that she has spiritual leadership over. She suggested that “Split Lake” or one of the other communities near there might be a possibility.

Bishop Lydia asked Bill to help her with her diocesan website, and also help to expand the Oji-Cree translation project so that so that the team can work on the translation of other Bible- and worship-related materials (such as Prayer Books, Christian Education Materials and Hymnals) into the Oji-Cree language.

ISMM Diocese Website “under construction”

When we discussed the future, which included having Meg continue to check scripture as it becomes ready, the question of regular communication with the translation team came up. The team suggested setting up a private Oji-Cree Bible Translators “Facebook Group” to do this. This way Meg or any other member of the team may be able to call them all together using a Facebook message to the group, and then ask consultant questions either on Facebook Chat or Skype.

Oji-Cree Bible Translator’s Facebook Group

Wrapping up the Workshop

The weather cleared on Monday, January 30, and we continued to work all day as before, with Meg doing most of the checking sessions. Bill also presented a training module about key Biblical terms (we accumulated a number of new ones in Oji-Cree during the checking) and how to use the Paratext computer program to keep track of these.

Bill also set up a new work computer for their newest team member Saloma Sainnawap, and he did general computer maintenance and software upgrades on all the other team computers. He also looked after equipment and “technical details” in general while Meg (and Ruth) ran the checking sessions.

Ruth K, Zipporah, Jessie and Saloma

As a new translation consultant, Meg handled herself very well with the Oji-Cree team, being sensitive to their needs and their level of ability. They said that they would be eager to have her come back to continue work with them as the need arises, and we feel the same way!

Coming back home on Thursday February 2 we were delayed by about an hour at the Kingfisher Lake airstrip waiting for the plane to arrive, but they made up the time by transferring us quickly between planes in Sioux. The flight back to Toronto was fine, but Norma Jean’s bag was lost in the Pearson baggage handling area. It was delivered to our house the next day. Ruth’s husband Dick picked us up. We had a late supper, Meg got a ride home from the airport by a friend, and we got home to Windham Centre late at night on Thursday, after picking up our car at Ruth’s.

All in all, it went well, even after missing two days of work because of flight delays.
Thank you for your prayers and especially thanks to God for His work and word in the lives of the Oji-Cree people.

Serving with you,

Bill and Norma Jean

Northern Translation Brief 05Oct2016

Our Dear Partners,

Thank you for your prayers for us during the past several days: Norma Jean and I have been in Kingfisher Lake, northern Ontario with the Oji-Cree Bible Translation team, conducting an on-site workshop there. Since translating the very first verse of their translation project less than 18 months ago (read about that here: <link>), the team has completed 2478 verses of the Bible in first draft. Of these, 464 verses have been checked and reviewed by their entire team, and 404 verses are back-translated and ready for a consultant-check.

progress-chart-sept2016We began each day singing a hymn from the Cree hymnal together, and reading a devotional on the Oji-Cree scripture text that they would be “team-checking” or “back-translating” that day.

dscn2168The team learned and practiced preparing and formatting the printed Sunday scripture readings that are used in their church each week. They learned some more advanced skills in translating names, flora & fauna of the Bible and major Biblical terms using the computer database tools designed for Bible translators.

In a nutshell, we taught and practiced translation procedures that the Oji-Cree team asked us to teach and practice–giving them what they needed as they needed it.

Our travels up north here from down south was delayed by a day because the little plane could not land on the gravel strip at Kingfisher Lake last Tuesday morning in the fog. So after an unplanned stopover in Sioux Lookout, we came back and landed last Wednesday. But we thank God for His help and grace to accomplish all He wanted to do with the team during the days we had together.

windham-to-kingfisherLord willing we fly all the way back home to southern Ontario on Thursday, October 6 (three planes, six airports, 1100 miles, 12 hours, two time zones, one Canadian province).

Thank you for being an essential part of this work, and helping the Oji-Cree to have better access to God’s Word in their own language.

Blessings, Bill and Norma Jean

Fall moose hunting harvest, Kingfisher Lake 2016

Fall moose hunting harvest, Kingfisher Lake 2016

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Northern Translation Brief 06Aug2016

Our Dear Partners

We just got home from another working trip the Oji-Cree community of Kingfisher Lake in Northern Ontario. They started their own Bible translation project in Oji-Cree last year, and have asked for more training from us.

The Dr. William Winter School of Ministry

Dr. William Winter

Dr. William Winter

The Kingfisher Lake community was the home of the late Dr. William Winter, a respected Oji-Cree elder and church leader who had a dream many years ago of establishing a program for training indigenous people for ministry. The Dr. William Winter School of Ministry was established in 2003 and since then, many men and women have taken courses for ministry in northern Ontario and Manitoba.

We were invited to take part in the second week of this year’s School of Ministry. It is held at the Big Beaver Bible Camp, in the bush near one of the traditional settlements of the Oji-Cree people who now live on the Kingfisher Lake reserve. The day after arriving at Kingfisher Lake, we were brought by pick-up truck to the boat landing on Misamikwash Lake opposite Big Beaver Bible Camp.

map to Bible CampA small fleet of outboard motorboats serve as transportation to the camp, and after a 15 minute boat ride we were walking up the dock at the camp.

DSCN1237 DSCN1246 DSCN1247 DSCN1256 DSCN1259 DSCN1260The School of Ministry features courses in Bible history, theology, and other topics useful for indigenous clergy and lay-persons involved in ministry in their own First Nations communities. It is a great hardship for non-stipendary (unpaid) indigenous clergy to take ministry courses offered at seminaries and universities so far from their homes. The School of Ministry removes most of those hurdles by providing quality education right in their territory at an affordable cost, and presented in their own mother tongue. Most of the sessions are translated directly into Oji-Cree on the spot by interpreters as they are delivered by instructors in English. Some sessions are taught by experienced First Nations clergy and/or elders right in their own language.

DSCN1268 DSCN1287This summer’s two-week session included teaching sessions that were led by the Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald, the National Indigenous Bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada, and also by a team of Maori clergy from New Zealand: Bishop Rahu and Rev. Robert Kereopa.

maorisThey also feature such practical classes as music and hymnody, planning worship services, and Oji-Cree language. Zipporah Mamakwa, one of the Oji-Cree translators, invited Bill to assist her in two of the language sessions. During those sessions they made a presentation to the students about the beginnings of the new local Bible translation project, and also shared hands-on teaching methods for Oji-Cree syllabics and an introduction to Algonquian grammar for literacy.

DSCN1359 DSCN1360 DSCN1361 DSCN1365The two-week session culminated in a beautiful outdoor Eucharist service conducted by Bishop Lydia Mamakwa and all the visiting indigenous clergy and lay persons, and the recognition of all the participants.

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Bishop Rahu from New Zealand preaching from a boat “Like Jesus Did”

DSCN1344Oji-Cree Translator Workshop

Over the weekend, the visiting participants for the Dr. William Winter School made their way back to their home communities and places of service, while the Oji-Cree translators prepared for have a Bible Translation training workshop with Bill and Norma Jean back at Mission House in Kingfisher Lake.

DSCN1404 DSCN1407 DSCN1410There, the they discussed and evaluated their progress toward the translation team’s goals on the various translation stages: First Draft, Team Checking and Review, Community Checking, and Back Translation.

DSCN1398Bill conducted classes in the use of a computer-based tool that is used to assist the translators to choose consistent spelling of key Biblical terms. The computer program that we use to help us translate the Bible can also access a database of key Biblical terms that includes all the names of persons and places in the Bible, along with encyclopedic information and the proper pronunciation and usage of those terms. The translators can then discuss and approve their own spelling of those terms in their own language. The database guides them to help them to ensure that every occurrence of each approved term is spelled consistently in their language.

Using the Biblical Terms Tool

Using the Biblical Terms Tool

The translation team practiced using the tool, working through their translation and making decisions on terms such as “Moses”, “Jerusalem” and “disciple”, and Bill provided them with a written guide to the Tool so that they could continue to do this on their own in the weeks to come.

DSCN1421 DSCN1425DSCN1422 Too soon, our time was up and we were brought to the airport for the (several) long flights home, and by late Thursday night August 4 we were back in our own bed at Windham Centre.

Please remember to pray for the new Oji-Cree translation team by name:

Theresa, Ruth M, Zipporah, Bill & Norma Jean, Jessie, Ruth K.

Theresa, Ruth M, Zipporah, Bill & Norma Jean, Jessie, Ruth K.

  • Theresa Sainnawap
  • Ruth Morris
  • Zipporah Mamakwa
  • Jessie Atlookan
  • Dominick Beardy (not pictured–could not attend)
  • Rev. Ruth Kitchekesik–Ruth also serves as a deacon in St. Matthew’s Church, Kingfisher Lake, and also as the coordinator of the Bible translation team, along with all of her other duties.
  • Rt. Rev. Lydia Mamakwa–Lydia provides much of the vision and leadership for the project, as well as serving as the diocesan Bishop over several First Nations parishes in northern Ontario and Manitoba in the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh (ISMM).

Pray for their families, for their work and their lives, and for God’s continued guidance, provision and blessing on their work.

DSCN1476Norma Jean and I are preparing to go to work with the Naskapi translation team in just a couple weeks. Another Translation Brief will come out with prayer requests for that trip soon.

Serving with you,

Bill and Norma JeanDSCN1491

DSCN1471 DSCN1472

DSCN1495 DSCN1482   DSCN1499Have you thought about becoming more involved and supporting this work by visiting these websites?

In the USA: https://www.wycliffe.org/partner/Jancewicz

In Canada: http://www.wycliffe.ca/m?Jancewicz

 

Northern Translation Brief 21Mar2016

Our Dear Partners,

We are invited back to Kingfisher Lake this week to continue to work along side the new Oji-Cree Bible Translation team with their projects. We fly from the Toronto airport to Thunder Bay on Monday, 21 March and then on Tuesday we continue on through Sioux Lookout to Kingfisher Lake.

Windham to KingfisherWe will be joined this time by a photographer with Wycliffe Canada who hopes to gather information, stories and photographs from the translation team to share about their translation project and the influence that it is already having on their church and community. She will be with us for the first three days.

We will be helping them learn to bring their translation work through the various stages IMG_2329that are necessary to ensure that their work is clear and accurate, natural and acceptable. You may remember that one of the first projects that their committee has chosen is to translate the prayer book lectionary readings for the local church in the community–the Epistles and Gospels for each Sunday in a one year cycle beginning last Advent. They have been diligent in producing these each week and many of the readings in church have been read by members of the translation team themselves.

It is also our privilege to have been invited to spend Holy Week and Easter to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord with them in their church and community. We are looking forward to our fellowship with them and for how God will use us to help them have even better access to His word in their own language.

Please pray for our provision and protection as we travel, and for our sensitivity to God’s leading and the ways and language of these people. To pray for the translation team by name, please visit this earlier post about their project, which lists their names and their pictures.

Northern Translation Brief 27Jul2015

Lord willing, we will be back home in Windham Centre, Ontario at the end of the month.

Thank you for your prayers about our meetings with First Nations church leaders and representatives from Bible Translation agencies that we attended in Toronto earlier this month. God has been at work and was present in those meetings too. We encourage you to write to us and ask if you want to know some of the specifics about how He is leading us and what we learned from those meetings, or anything else you want to hear more from us about.

Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean

Partner with us in prayer or sharing in our financial support by visiting these websites: http://bill.jancewicz.com/ (personal)
In Canada: http://www.wycliffe.ca/m?Jancewicz
In USA: https://www.wycliffe.org/partner/Jancewicz

Bill’s email: bill_jancewicz@sil.org

Norma Jean’s email: normajean_jancewicz@sil.org

 

Northern Translation Brief 23Nov2015

Our Dear Partners,

November 2015 on-site workshop at Kingfisher Lake

At the end of October, 2015, we spoke with Bishop Lydia Mamakwa at her diocesan office in the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh (Anglican Diocese in Northern Ontario) to plan on another visit to help her team prepare the first set of church Scripture readings for Advent 2015.

November 2015 Workshop, Kingfisher Lake

November 2015 Workshop, Kingfisher Lake

She asked if we might come the first week of November, so we made plans to do so.

We traveled to Kingfisher Lake from our home on Monday and Tuesday, November 2 & 3. We were accompanied by Wyclffe Canada representative Terri Scruggs, from Calgary. We were all delayed by almost one day because of weather, but were finally able to arrive late Tuesday night.

The workshops begin

On Wednesday, all five translators were available to work with us all day, starting their session at 9:00 AM. The translation team discussed their daily schedule, and since some of the translators have other duties to perform each day, they decided that they would meet each afternoon for a workshop session right after lunch, and work together until suppertime. They also agreed to meet together on Saturday afternoon as well. We worked with translators on an individual basis every morning.

Encouragement from partner organizations

Terri Scruggs

Terri Scruggs

Terri Scruggs, the Wycliffe Canada project administrator, brought greetings from the Wycliffe Canada office in Calgary where she works, and reminded the Oji-Cree translation team that Wycliffe Canada is available to assist and support the project with prayer and church contacts. She shared how happy they were with the progress that the translation team has already made, and described to the team how other Christians in churches across Canada who have heard about it are excited about the Oji-Cree Bible Translation project, and interested in praying for and connecting with the Oji-Cree translation team.

She described a Wycliffe Canada initiative called “Kingdom Friendships” that they facilitate between Canadian churches and organizations like the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh that are involved in Mother-Tongue Bible translation. She also encouraged the translation team to share how the translated scriptures are having an impact in their own lives and in the lives of the other people who read them.

Daily training schedule

Oji-Cree Lectionary Chart

Oji-Cree Lectionary Chart

Each day we began the workshop day with a hymn from the Cree hymnal, prayed together for the project, and shared a devotional Bible reading that focused on the Bible text that the team had worked for that day. Next we covered a refresher lesson about basic translation principles that we introduced at the Guelph Mother Tongue Translator (MTT) workshop in April (click here to see this story). Bill also helped the translators to move the project from the “First Draft” (step 1) stage through the other checking and review stages that a Bible translation requires, spending time every day working through the procedures for the other stages.

Other topics covered were how to be sure they knew the meaning of the text before attempting to translate it, how every culture has an effect on the presentation of the meaning of the message, including those cultures that the Bible was originally written to. They also did some brief video studies of the culture and geography of the Bible lands in Jesus’ time, and constantly referred to the print and online resources available that can help the translators to understand the culture and the times.

Oji-Cree Word List

Oji-Cree Word List

During the “Team Checking” time each day, the translators discussed the selection and spelling of words that would come up often in their translation work, and, as a group, settled on using certain words and their spelling for consistency. These were written on a flip chart by the team members, and then typed into a computer file with their meanings in English, and kept on a shared computer folder so that they could add to the list of words in the weeks and months to come and refer to it during their drafting and checking sessions.

Scripture engagement – God’s Word in Oji-Cree for the church and community

Because of the importance of connecting the rest of the Oji-Cree community with the work of the translation team, Norma Jean prepared materials to make church banners that not only celebrated the Advent season in artistic symbols, but also include Oji-Cree language scripture and scripture portions. This will help the church and community at large to connect with the translation work that the team is doing into Oji-Cree.

Oji-Cree Church Banners

Oji-Cree Church Banners

The entire team participated in the hands-on activity of making designs, choosing scripture verses, preparing the syllabic lettering and assembling the banners. These banners are being displayed at Mission House and at St. Matthew’s Church during the season of Advent and Christmas. All of the spare materials and tools for making these scripture engagement banners was left at Mission House after the workshop was over so that the translation team can continue to make their own.

Christmas Book

Christmas Book

We also described some of the Bible-based children’s books that they had produced in Naskapi, especially the full colour “Jesus is Born” Christmas story in Naskapi. They showed the translators how they could easily replace the Naskapi language text in the computer files for these books and then produce Oji-Cree versions of these books for use in the community. Translation team member Zipporah Mamakwa has already completed the draft of the Oji-Cree text for this project and we expect to have books ready for Christmas.

Another scripture engagement project that was started at Bishop Lydia’s request in the summer is the Book of Alternative Services in Oji-Cree. This started out as a rough translation of pages from the Anglican Book of Alternative Services, with a hand-written version on facing pages in Oji-Cree syllabics, produced “in-house” on a photocopier. We took these materials to start from and produced a professionally-printed prototype (checking copy) of the Book of Alternative Services, Holy Eucharist in Oji-Cree. IMG_2340IMG_2341IMG_2344Five of these checking copies were left with the translation team and Bishop Lydia, who will review and revise the books so that a final publication can be made for use in the church and community.

Fellowship and relationships

A “Gospel Jamboree” was also taking place in Kingfisher Lake the same weekend of the translators workshop. We were privileged to attend three sessions of the Jamboree, and we ourselves sang together once in Naskapi (In the Sweet Bye and Bye) and Bill also sang another time in Cree (Jesus paid it all). IMG_2320IMG_2319IMG_2205They enjoyed being part of this cultural and spiritual celebration, and it was especially good to hear many young people in the community singing Gospel songs in Cree or Ojibwe. We were encouraged and hope that this trend will continue, and that more and more people in the community become engaged in the language development work, and begin to create some of their own songs in Oji-Cree.

We also participated in the first annual Remembrance Day ceremonies that were conducted by the Kingfisher Lake First Nation Canadian Rangers patrol on November 11.

IMG_2350IMG_2355IMG_2368Current translation progress

Since the translation team began translating their first few Bible verses themselves into Oji-Cree on 23 April 2015 at the Guelph Mother Tongue Translator (MTT) workshop, the team has made steady progress. As of the end of this workshop they have translated a total of more than 1200 verses in “First Draft” (step 1), moving toward the goal of having all the Sunday readings prepared for St. Matthew’s Church for this coming year.

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Church Lectionary Readings

During the workshop, Bill guided the team through the “Team Check” (step 2) procedure for all the readings for the Advent and Christmas services. This part of the procedure has the entire translation team working together on the same passage, reading through a translation that one of the team members has already completed. This helps the translator to make corrections and adjustments to her translation so that it is more clear, accurate and natural. So by the end of the workshop on November 11th, all the readings were ready for printing out for the Sunday church services through the end of December 2015.

Meeting with Bishop Lydia

Because of family and ministry responsibilities, Bishop Lydia Mamakwa was only in the community on Saturday and Sunday during the workshop weeks. She graciously took time to meet with us late Sunday afternoon before she had to leave for another ministry trip outside the community. During this meeting, we reported to her about the progress of her team and the activities of this workshop.

We covered several topics with the Bishop that concern the new Oji-Cree translation project. They prayed with her for her family and her travels, and reported on the work with the translators during the first four days of the workshops. They discussed some of her goals for the project and did some planning about when we might come back to Kingfisher Lake again.

The Bishop said that she would be pleased to have the Oji-Cree Bible Translation team be part of Wycliffe Canada church connections and have the Oji-Cree team, committee and project remembered and prayed for regularly.

We grateful that the Bishop took the time to meet and pray with us, and feel that God is at work in her and in the Oji-Cree Translation project.

Continuing work after the workshop

The translation team reviewed the next steps that they will need to take over the coming months to stay on schedule with the translation goals that their committee has set.

Team Scripture Checking

Team Scripture Checking

They will continue to translate the “First Draft” (step 1) of the Epistle and Gospel for the Sunday readings according to the schedule in their Bible Translation office. They were also encouraged to meet together as a team at least once per week, in order to accomplish the “Team Check” (step 2) for the next readings in preparation for the Sunday lectionary.
The team was taught the procedure to prepare the checking printouts for the “Community Check” (step 3), and they practiced printing out drafts of the scripture portions that they translated. These were then brought to some of the committee members and elders who have volunteered to read through and check the translations. Some of these print-outs will also be formatted and copied for distribution as “church bulletins” that contain the Sunday Lectionary Reading in Oji-Cree, and everyone in the congregation can take them home with them to read them later.

Formatting and Printing

Formatting and Printing

Finally, the team will begin to do the “Back Translation” (step 4) in preparation for a consultant-check which will be eventually necessary before the publication of the scriptures in books. This checking procedure will also ensure that the translation is accurate and clear.

We are grateful for the support and warm welcome that we always receive during our stays in Kingfisher Lake with the Mission House staff, and look forward to our return to the community later in the new year.

Please pray that God will begin to use His Word in the hearts of the Kingfisher Lake Oji-Cree people as they start reading it together every Sunday starting this Advent (November 29).

And while you are thinking of us, please remember us as we will be traveling to the Naskapi community in Northern Quebec on that same day. We plan to be with them through the Second Sunday of Advent.

Serving with you,

Bill and Norma Jean Jancewicz

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Teamwork for Scripture Engagement

Jesus is the Light of the World

Jesus is the Light of the World

Materials left for more banners

Materials left for more banners

Daily workshop sessions

Daily workshop sessions

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Hands-on practice

Discussing the text

Discussing the text

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Young family at church

Heading home from church

Heading home from church

The scriptures for every generation

The scriptures for every generation

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Northern Translation Brief 27Jul2015

Our Dear Partners,

Thank you for your prayers for us this week. We have been running a mini-workshop for the new Oji-Cree translation team in the “fly-in” community of Kingfisher Lake since last Tuesday.

Boarding Pass in Canadian Syllabics

Boarding Pass in Canadian Syllabics

On the plane to Kingfisher Lake

On the plane to Kingfisher Lake

Kingfisher Lake Bible Translation Team

Last year, Jessie, Ruth K, Ruth M, Theresa, and Zipporah were recruited and selected by their local Bible Translation committee, composed of community elders and church leaders.

Jessie

Jessie

Ruth K.

Ruth K.

Ruth M.

Ruth M.

Theresa

Theresa

Zipporah

Zipporah

We were invited here by the committee last January to begin their formation and training. Then they all attended the 2015 Mother Tongue Translator Workshop in Guelph in April, and we are back here now to help the team to build on the skills and momentum that they gained at the workshop in Guelph.

you can read about the workshop here: <click>

We also came to listen to the committee to help them with their planning to achieve their vision for their community. Bishop Lydia Mamakwa reminded us and the committee that her diocese was led to undertake this local Bible translation initiative into Oji-Cree as one of their first projects.

The committee decided that in order to have the most immediate local engagement with the newly-translation Scripture portions in Oji-Cree, that they would focus on the shorter, one-year “Prayer Book Lectionary” of Sunday Bible readings that are read each week at St. Matthew’s Church in Kingfisher Lake. So, besides practicing and developing their Bible translation and Oji-Cree word processing skills, the team has also begun to follow a program of translating specific Bible readings that will be read in their church each week, with a goal of completing over 1600 New Testament verses over the next year.

Translation workshop at Mission House

Translation workshop at Mission House

Translation Committee meeting at Mission House

Translation Committee meeting at Mission House

We continue our training and practice with the team into this coming week and after this we head back to southern Ontario and continue our search for a “home” base on July 30.

Our time here has been very encouraging: our friends at Mission House and the Kingfisher Lake community have shown us their usual kindness and hospitality.

Kingfisher Lake sewing group

Kingfisher Lake sewing group

This weekend we enjoyed fellowship and worship with them at their church and went to see the closing of their summer fishing derby, and even took home fresh fish for our supper. God is good.

Anglers returning from the fishing derby

Anglers returning from the fishing derby

Kingfisher Lake fishing derby

Kingfisher Lake fishing derby

Recording the weight of each fish

Recording the weight of each fish

...and the length

…and the length

"Would you like to take some fish? They're fresh!"

“Would you like to take some fish? They’re fresh!”

Walleye for supper tonight

Walleye for supper tonight

Thank you for your continued prayers.

Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean

Translation Brief 19Nov2013 “FAQ”-3

Our dear partners,

This is the third follow-up to answer Frequently (F) Asked (A) Questions (Q). Thank you for your response to FAQ-1 and FAQ-2, and for the great questions that you have asked to keep this going!

Another question that (understandably) many people are thinking about is:

(3) “So… what about the Naskapi Translation?

The short answer is that it’s “still going on”… and more of us are sharing the load.

Skype with four3Most of you will remember the remarkable story of “The Fantastic Four”, describing the new “Naskapi Language Specialists-in-training” that were recruited, hired and trained by Bill to work at the Naskapi Development Corporation. They are all young (in their 20s) and enthusiastic about their work, and each one has taken on the translation of an Old Testament book of the Bible in Naskapi. They are following a training plan in which they study translation principles, Naskapi history and culture, history and geography of Bible times, and Naskapi grammar, along with practice in using some of the computer technology that has been set up so that they can type in Naskapi and organize and edit their work.

skype with four2Amanda is assigned to the book of Joshua, Kissandra is working in 1 Samuel, Kabimbetas is working on 1 Kings, and Medora will be starting on 2 Kings soon. These are all stories of the history of God’s relationship with Israel.

In addition, Tshiueten, who has worked as a Naskapi translation intern now for about 3 years, has made significant progress through the book of Exodus, the “prequel” to all those stories, the beginnings of the nation of Israel.

skype with four1Silas is still the senior translator, and besides his own work on the Psalms and his service as deacon at the church, he reads through and revises the work of the younger translators.

Bill interacts with the team several times each week, answering questions and teaching sections of their training plan, and also mentors and guides them into the correct spelling and other translation procedures. But they are gaining experience and their enthusiasm at the translation office at Kawawa is an encouragement to all their co-workers.

reneLabbeAlso, our friend Rene Labbe, a former pastor from Quebec City now works as a science teacher at the Naskapi school. He comes by each week to present an inductive Bible study on the period of history and the books of the Old Testament that they are working on. We are so grateful for his involvement with the translation team.

The very first books of scripture that were translated in the 1990s, the “Walking With Jesus” series, have met an important need for beginning and intermediate readers of WWJ6-cover checkingNaskapi. These are transitional readers that have large print and colorful illustrations, comprising six short (32 page) books that contain highlights of the life of Christ. These have recently been completely revised and the last book of the series “The Resurrection of Jesus” is in the final checking stages. These books make reading the Bible familiar and accessible to children and adults who are motivated to learn to read in their own language. The local radio station also plays audio-book versions of these that Bill produced as MP3s.

The books of Naskapi Lectionary readings, the cycle of readings that are read each Sunday in the Naskapi church, have been through one complete three-year cycle as of the end of this month. Bill worked with Silas to revise and correct the “Year A” book over the past several weeks, and it is now ready for it’s NasLections-A8-5x11frontcover-are-release for the first Sunday of Advent this December 1.

The first book of the Naskapi Legend series, “Kuihkwahchaw: Naskapi Wolverine Stories” was completed this summer, and Bill is working with the translation team and consultant linguists to prepare the second book, “Chahkapas”, which will be completed early in 2014. These books not only provide good quality reading material in Naskapi, but also give a glimpse into the traditional storytelling genres that is such an important part of Naskapi culture. These two latest books, along with several others were illustrated by our daughter Elizabeth, and we have hopes that she will continue to be invited to participate in the development of these literacy materials. While the main location these books are distributed is at the Naskapi Development Corporation office in Wolverine 6x9 frontKawawachikamach, anyone can find them on-line as well at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/naskapi.

Chahkapas front cover test2Even though Bill keeps pretty busy with his other work [link] our time in British Columbia is giving him some of the margin he needed to bring some Naskapi linguistics and documentation projects further along, like the Naskapi dictionary, grammar, toponyms (names of places in Naskapi territory), maps, the Naskapi Hymnbook revisions, the Book of Common Prayer in Naskapi, and archiving. We are encouraged that there is now a growing staff of Naskapi-speaking language specialist who are gaining some of the skills they need to carry on this work themselves.

Thanks for your prayers for them, and for us.
Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean

Final volume of the Naskapi 3-year Lectionary published

Advent 2012 begins “Year-C” of the Revised Common Lectionary, the collection of Sunday Bible readings that are used in the Naskapi church. You may remember that the “Year-A” book came out almost two years ago now (the blue book) and the church has been using the “Year-B” book (the red book) for the past fifty-one weeks. Over the past several months we have reviewed and revised the remaining Old Testament verses that are contained in the “Year-C” book, and we have just printed sixty copies for distribution. On November 23 another prayer was answered: All the boxes of Year-C books arrived in Kawawachikamach in time for the first Sunday of Advent, which is December 2 this year!

Each Sunday morning, a selection from the Old Testament is read (generally somewhere between 8 and 30 verses), followed by a Psalm; then the New Testament readings: a selection from the Epistles and a passage from the Gospels. The three-year lectionary cycle is used by many denominations of the church, in which Scripture readings are arranged according to a schedule that follows the calendar of the year. This practice of assigning particular readings to each Sunday and Holy day has continued through the history of the Christian church. During the course of three years, more than seven thousand verses are read aloud to the congregation, a total that represents almost one-quarter of the Bible.

Like the other volumes of the lectionary, these books are being published and distributed by the Naskapi Development Corporation. People can drop by the office in Kawawachikamach anytime to purchase their own copy for just $10. The books are printed in diglot; that is, with the Naskapi text along side the English on each page. Readers simply look up the current Sunday in the index and turn to the appropriate page.

Anyone outside of Kawawachikamach can order this book (and many other fine Naskapi books) from the Naskapi Resources page of the Lulu website, at this address: www.lulu.com/spotlight/naskapi. The Year C volume is a perfect companion to Year A and Year B.

Even though the Year C volume completes the series, the Naskapi Development Corporation translation and language services department continues to actively review and revise these readings each week as they are read at church, and plans to publish updated versions during the coming three-year cycle. The latest volume would make a perfect Christmas gift for any of your Naskapi family or friends.

There are several more Naskapi publication projects nearing completion in the coming months. We are currently working on the final check of a proof of the entire book of Genesis in Naskapi that should be completed in the coming weeks Lord willing, followed by the 2013 Naskapi Scripture calendar, a new Naskapi children’s book, the first book of Naskapi legends featuring Kuîhkwâhchâw (Wolverine), and the final book in the Walking With Jesus series of Bible stories on the life of Christ.

We want to thank you for your interest and support for all of these Naskapi language projects.

Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean

 

Naskapi 2012 Scripture Calendar

As in previous years, we have prepared a Naskapi language Scripture calendar for distribution at Kawawachikamach, in partnership with the Naskapi Development Corporation. The pictures this year feature archive photographs of “Naskapi Places”.

If you have followed our translation work with the Naskapi over the years, you may have learned that the Naskapi people did not always live here near Schefferville, Quebec–the ancestors of the current Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach were nomadic caribou hunters who traveled over vast tracts of the interior of the Quebec-Labrador peninsula. Since their first contact with Europeans in the 1830s, the records of their travels became linked to the establishment of Hudson’s Bay posts in their territory.

The earliest photograph (for January) is of a Naskapi encampment near Fort Chimo in 1884, attributed to Lucien Turner, who wrote one of the earliest descriptions of Naskapi ancestors for the Smithsonian Institution (Turner, Lucien. 1894. “Ethnology of the Ungava District, Hudson Bay Territory”. in: Eleventh Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution, 1889-1890. Washington, Government Printing Office.)

Each month of the calendar provides a chronological account in photographs of the various locations where the Naskapi were settled from 1884 to the present-day. Accompanying each picture, there is a scripture passage selected for the month, in the Naskapi language and in English.

Further, each month is presented in the Naskapi language, with Naskapi days of the week, and an indication of special days and the seasons of the church calendar that correspond to the Sunday Lectionary (see the posts here and here for more about the Lectionary).

The calendar also has a few bonus pages this year that contain a brief history of the Naskapi people’s migrations from the mid 1800s to the present.

This year, as in previous years, a beautiful printed version of the Naskapi calendar is available along with other Naskapi language materials from Lulu.com for just $8.

We are also running off locally-printed versions of the calendar (on the photocopier) on request distributed from the NDC office in Kawawachikamach. Local residents can purchase a copy at the office for $5.

 

Summer Translation Brief

Our dear Partners,

Greetings from the University of North Dakota where we have been living and working for nine weeks this summer. Bill is enrolled in an MA program in linguistics at the graduate school here, and Norma Jean is serving as the program’s Director of Childcare. Jaiden is still with us and keeping us on our toes as we serve him and his family as his Foster Parents.

By mid-August, we will be on our way back to the Naskapi community in Northern Quebec where we continue to serve their translation and language project.

Some important milestones for our family this summer: We gained a son-in-law at the beautiful wedding of our daughter Elizabeth to Eric Stevenson on July 16 at our home church in Connecticut. It was a wonderful, happy day and God has answered so many of our prayers.

Eric and Elizabeth will make our house in Preston their new home as they begin their lives together.

Bill has made good progress on his Master’s degree in linguistics–Lord willing, two more summers of university work should allow him to complete the program. Meanwhile, the rest of the year we will continue to work on the Naskapi and other related language projects.

This summer Nick also completed his State GED, earning his diploma. We are grateful to all our friends who supported him as he reached this goal. We are proud of him and eager to see how God will continue to lead him in his life.

Finally, in the past few months we have completed some important publication goals for the Naskapi project: The first edition of the Naskapi Lectionary Readings (Year A) which contain a considerable portion of Old Testament Lessons in Naskapi, was published in time to be used in the Naskapi Church at Easter. Also, Norma Jean and Elizabeth collaborated on another Naskapi literacy book “Little Lost Caribou”, which was published simultaneously in Naskapi and in English by Eric and Elizabeth under “Pocket Vinyl Productions”.

In spite of the busy summer, it has been a joy see all our children and our grandchildren again. Ben and Tamika are still in Baltimore with their children Nya and Arion, and Nick is staying in Preston with Eric and Elizabeth.

Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean