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Mar 20, 2019

New oral translation project begins in Ruwila community

Written by Kenny G

SIL trains local speakers to use innovative soft 


Mpanda, Tanzania, March 2018 — The Ruwila language community has begun translation work as part of the SIL Katavi Cluster Project. After initial community partner planning meetings, the team decided to use Render, an innovative computer software for oral translation. Nine Ruwila speakers took part in a weeks-long workshop training for the task ahead.

As part of the training, the workshop participants prepared several portions of the Gospel of Luke. “They completed their first translation of five chapters,” said Erick Emmanuel, Katavi project manager and team leader. “One chapter is ready for peer checking; another has passed that stage and is ready for a community check. And three more chapters are even now ready for checking by a Translation Consultant.”

katavi-render_workshop Nine Ruwila speakers participated in a training workshop, learning to use a special oral
translation software designed for oral cultures like theirs. (photo: Erick Emmanuel)

The translation software the Ruwila team is using, called Render, is a unique solution for work in oral communities whose language does not yet have a writing system (orthography). Developed jointly by the Seed Company, Pioneer Bible Translators, and Faith Comes By Hearing, Render guides local translators through an icon and color-coded workflow process of listening to recordings in a language of wider communication, then recording a translation in their own language.

“I was encouraged by the way three partner organizations worked together,” said Jon Weiss, SIL Linguistic Specialist. “Bible Translation and Literacy (BTL) Kenya, SIL Tanzania, and Wycliffe each played an important role to make this workshop a success, so the Ruwila people can begin Scripture translation into their language.”

As the SIL Katavi office continues to launch the Ruwila translation project, they are also prepared to begin oral translation using Render with the Konongo language community. Specialised equipment for listening and voice recording is already being installed and tested for that team.

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