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

Northern Translation Brief 20May2010

Our Dear Partners,

Here are a couple matters for prayer as you think about us. First, just about a week ago Quebec social services placed a small Naskapi boy named Jaiden in our care. Jaiden is three-years-old, sweet, cute and happy; and we have been friends with his grandparents and his mom ever since we first came to Kawawa. At the grandfather’s request we welcomed him into our family because of a crisis in his own family. We speak mainly Naskapi with him, so it is good practice (and at times stretching!) If it becomes necessary, we are prepared to bring him with us to SIL school at the University of North Dakota this summer, but the details are in God’s hands.

Next, regarding SIL school, I (Bill) must leave Schefferville by this Friday’s train in order to travel cross-country and arrive there in time to begin my Masters’ program there. I will be driving alone, and must arrive by Thursday May 27. Any prayers for a safe and on-time trip are appreciated! Norma Jean stays on in Schefferville (with Jaiden) until school is out on June 23, and then flies out to Grand Forks ND to meet me on June 23 and 24. At the SIL school, after she arrives, Norma Jean will be on full-time volunteer staff serving as the childcare coordinator there for the children of other SIL students. Browse an interactive Google Maps version of this map here.

Norma Jean will continue to get mail at home in Schefferville until June 22, and our mailing address through the summer (until the first week of August) will be:

Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz
c/o SIL-UND
2901 University Avenue Stop 8217
University of North Dakota
Grand Forks ND 58202, USA

After summer classes we will return to Schefferville via Baltimore (a visit with Ben & Tamika and our grandchildren) and Connecticut (a visit with Nick and Bill’s mom).

Also, keep praying for the translation team staying behind in Schefferville, especially Tshiueten and Silas, and they continue work on bringing the Good Book to the Naskapi in their own language.

Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean

Northern Translation Brief 08 April 2010

Our Dear Partners,

Thank you for praying for Bill’s trip to the Mushuau Innu community of Natuashish last week. He went with two Naskapi co-workers and they all returned on Friday, April 2.

The remote communities of Kawawachikamach and Natuashish are the two communities where most of the nomadic caribou-hunting groups from the northern half of the Quebec-Labrador peninsula were settled. Their languages and culture are still very similar. But they have been separated from each other now for about 100 years.

So one of the purposes of this trip was to determine whether materials produced for Naskapi could be used for the Mushuau Innu. Since there is a degree of mutual intelligibility, we had hope that this would be the case.

The data we collected, however, leads us to a different conclusion. The Mushuau Innu may be able to decipher some of the Naskapi translation, but that is a long ways from being able to use it. There are differences in not only the sound system of the languages (that being the first thing one notices) but also differences in the grammatical structure as well as a different inventory of lexical items (sometimes, they use different words altogether). So our Naskapi work will at best be of indirect help to them.

On the other hand, many Mushuau Innu individuals expressed a strong desire to have a language project started in their community, and several of them indicated that they would like to be involved. They said that they would like to have a Bible translation project started in their own dialect, so that they would not have to “decipher” (translate from) the existing Bible translations in related dialects.

The Naskapi team then offered to help the Mushuau Innu to form the partnerships that can help them to get started with a translation project in their own language. We can help them find the training and assistance they will need to carry this out. Their local government, their church, and their school leadership all expressed their support for their own translation project.

Now, Bill has to prepare a report for the survey trip for several audiences: The Mushuau Innu community and the Naskapi community would like to use this trip as a catalyst for more cultural exchanges. Wycliffe Bible Translators and SIL International, along with other potential stakeholders, need to have the linguistic survey data that Bill collected analyzed in order to better assess the specific ways that the two dialects differ. And the groundwork needs to be laid for the Mushuau Innu team to begin on their own translation project.

During interviews with Mushuau Innu speakers, discussing the possibility of a translation project in their own language, they said:

“Our dialect is different; why should we have to learn a different language in order to read it?” –Innu teacher at the school

“We would like to be allowed to use Mushuau Innu spelling to write our language.” –Innu office worker

“A Mushuau Innu translation of the Bible is long overdue.” –clergyman ministering to the Innu for the past 30 years

“Forming a committee to work on a Mushuau Innu translation is something that is needed,” and “What do we have to do to get started?” –former chief of the Natuashish community

“I don’t want my children to be speaking only English in the future.” –former band manager

“We would be happy to have help (from Wycliffe) to start our own Bible translation project.” –Mushuau Innu church lay reader

Thank you again for your prayers for this trip.

Keep on praying for Bill as he spends the next few weeks writing the reports, for the vision for a Bible translation of their own to grow in the Mushuau Innu community, for the Naskapi to know what they can do to help them get started, and for God’s continued work among these people in the north.

Blessings, Bill and Norma Jean

Northern Translation Brief 23Mar2010

Dear partners,

I am preparing for my first trip to the Mushuau Innu community of Natuashish on the Labrador coast. As most of you remember, this community is closely related to the Naskapi in the interior; in fact they were once just one loosely-related collection of nomadic caribou-hunting families. Some of these families had been settled in around Kuujjuaq (Fort Chimo) near Ungava Bay and the rest were settled around Utshimassits (Davis Inlet) on the Labrador coast, since the early 1900s.

The Fort Chimo group moved to the Schefferville region in 1956, and they are now the Naskapi of Kawawachikamach.

The Davis Inlet group relocated to Natuashish, a new community built on the mainland in 2002.

In the spring of 2008 we tried to take a trip to Natuashish, but we were hindered by foggy weather on the coast.

Bill will be leaving Friday, 26 March with his co-worker (and former Naskapi chief) Phil Einish. They will take with them Tshiueten Vachon, the new Naskapi language worker trainee.

For an interactive Google Map (zoom in and see the Natuashish village) try this link: <Trip to Natuashish>

This Friday we are scheduled to fly south to Wabush, in western Labrador.
Saturday we fly east to Goose Bay in central Labrador, where we will meet with the Natuashish chief and council (who are also traveling this week).
Monday we are scheduled to fly north to Natuashish on the coast, spending four days there before returning back the way we came on Friday, April 2.

Thanks for your prayers for good contacts, travels, and outcomes, and for Norma Jean as she holds down the fort back in Schefferville.

Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean