The Mbugwe language community of Manyara Region (central Tanzania) is excited to be involved in translation and literacy work. Constantine Mofulu and Emmanuel Shishe are Mbugwe speakers, and have served as translators for several years. But their relatively new team faces many challenges.
They do not currently have a full-time translation advisor, or a linguist working with their language day-to-day, since some dedicated staff had to leave Dodoma last year. Suddenly, these two men had to continue their training with a new advisor, and largely by remote contact. Progress was painfully slow. Delays in many areas of work, such as developing the Mbugwe orthography (writing system), were pushing Mofulu’s and Shishe’s goal of publishing books of completed Scripture farther out of reach.
Mbugwe people are geographically isolated in a remote area. Even when work is making advances in Dodoma, the local Language Committee often struggles to stay connected to the translators. Yet they remain enthusiastic.
In recent weeks, the Dodoma team has coordinated with linguists, translation consultants, and other experts (all still by remote) to plan a way forward. Now, Mofulu and Shishe are working with these additional resources as the check their draft of the book of Mark. As a result of this increased feedback and help, they have also made improvements to their earlier translations of Ruth and Jonah.
Mbugwe translation still faces challenges. Mofulu and Shishe continue to learn and grow in experience as they work. Lately, the whole team is greatly encouraged at progress that’s been made, and plans to present published Scripture (both print and audio) to the Language Committee very soon. Pray for them with us, that God will help them reach that goal, so they can see the fruits of their involvement and investment in this effort.
This story was written for SIL Tanzania by:
Kenny Grindall (Communications Coordinator)
SIL International is a global partner among academic and professional organisations which offer language development services. SIL works alongside speakers of more than 1,700 languages in over 100 countries. Active in Tanzania since 1989, the organization makes its services available to all without regard to religious belief, political ideology, gender, race or ethnolinguistic background.