Who would have guessed that there are people who measure the time by what happens in the village? Or that for some, the oldest twin is the one born second? My name is Caitlin, I’m in lower sixth, and these are just some of the unusual things I learnt while on work experience with Wycliffe Bible Translators UK for a week.
Wycliffe UK’s Belfast office
My week began when I nervously arrived at the office on Monday morning, not knowing quite what I had in store. I had been looking forward to this week for ages – not just because it meant I didn’t have class for a week, but mainly as it gave me a chance to see how God is working through Wycliffe – yet I was still nervous as I located the door and climbed the stairs to the office. My fears proved ill-founded however, as I was greeted by the friendly faces of John Hamilton and Marlene Ferguson, a tour of the office, and a lovely cup of tea! The rest of the morning was then spent with a group of ladies from Belfast Bible College Women’s Study Fellowship, as we learnt about the work of Wycliffe, and challenges they face in translating: challenges like how to translate white as snow for people who have never seen snow? Or talk about lions in a place where the people don’t know what they are? We also heard from John and Jennifer Young about their time spent in the Philippines, as well as from Lynda Ranson about the role of Wycliffe Voices. After lunch I spent time talking to Marlene about some of the cultural aspects of translation, which I found fascinating, as well as the linguistic elements. This intrigued me as it seemed more like a code than anything.
My next day was just as interesting. It began with hoping the trains were still operating, despite the heavy snowfall, so that I could meet Marlene and sit in on a MAP (Mission Agencies Partnership) meeting, before returning to the office for research and a deeper look at translation. I learnt about the difference between literal and dynamic translations, and was then set the task of attempting to translate a passage – John 1:1-18 – into German. I was back on Thursday, having taken off Wednesday to do an exam, coming in after lunch as there was a meeting with a sign language group in the evening.The afternoon was spent working on my translation, learning more captivating facts about various cultures and taking some pictures for this blog.
Us with the Sign Language Team
We then headed to the North Coast, near the Giant’s Causeway for an evening with the Eurasia sign language group. I had never really considered what it was like to be deaf before, but being surrounded by people talking in sign language, which I didn’t understand, soon made me realise how hard it must be. This group is working on giving deaf people the Bible in their own heart language – sign language. It was amazing learning about all the different techniques and methods they use to do this. Watching everyone sign was also incredible; you could just see people become so alive and animated as they signed.
Friday, my final day, was slightly different. I got the train to Bangor and spent it with a couple working on translation in Asia. I got to see how the translation process actually works, and hear about what life was like living and working in a rural community, where an important part of the work involved teaching people to read as well as the translation process.
Overall I really enjoyed my week, and just want to thank everyone who made it happen. I loved the opportunity to discover what goes on within Wycliffe and how translation works, as well as why it is so important. Thank You!
Thanks to Caitlin for this guest blog
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