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New Bible translation office launched

Bible Translation and Literacy (BTL) organization has launched an office in Chuka town, with the aim of increasing theological literacy among members of the public.

The non-governmental organization which has been housed by Presbyterian Church for over seven years now has continually helped minority communities understand the bible through translation to their local dialect.

With the opening of the new office the organization will be able to complete the translation of the bible to Kichuka and educate locals on bible literacy.

While translation of the bibles to most languages are taking up to 15 years to complete, the Chuka branch is targeting to conclude the interpretation in less than seven years.

The Christian based organization which was established in 1981 to facilitate bible translation and sustainable literacy language development programs among small language groups has attributed this to improved technology, a supportive and anticipating society and the nature of good fate.

Speaking during the opening ceremony of the offices, BTL National Director Rev. Peter Munguti hailed the team in the county for their efforts towards making the entire process successful.

Rev. Munguti said that the Chuka translation branch was the first to complete three quarters of the New Testament books in less than seven years, compared to other communities which take at least ten years.

The director acknowledged that they are also the first to develop online tools for the scriptures, adding that they have educators on the ground who teach people on how to embrace the Kichuka Bible.

He then noted that the East African Branch is celebrating their journey that has now clocked 40 years since inception.

The national director was keen to note that under their management, other five sub tribes have been successfully completed, while explaining that a few more scriptures are yet to be completed in Kichuka.

“The breaking down of the scriptures is part of BTLs journey of partnering with churches to achieve language development and reading literacy both in Kenya and other African countries,” he said.

During the event, the theme song was initially translated from its kikuyu version to Kichuka version.

Chuka Branch Head Translator Justus Mugambi said that in order to accomplish the translation of the bible it was important to start with the translation of hymns.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a step, in order to accomplish the translation of the bible we must start with the translation of hymns a step at a time,” he said.

He expressed that the Chuka community has faced challenges when translating the bible as they have been continually termed as the Ameru community.

“Minor languages like the Kichuka were constantly left out. With only four translators, we have managed to clear the New Testament with the books of Hebrews and revelation being the chunk left,” he said

Mugambi acknowledged that the translators must have knowledge of linguistics and theology to be able to translate the bible from Greek, adding that elders with vast knowledge of a local language intervened to help in the process.

He disclosed that there is a Kichuka website that offers scriptures online before the printed copies are issued to the public.

By Steve Ireri and Lucy Maina

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