International Year of Indigenous Languages
In December I visited CABTAL in Cameroon to support the IT team leader with training. It was 4 days covering a number of technical topics and also management and attitudes towards work. One day was fully dedicated to language technology tools and software. In my day to day work I don’t deal with language technology so it was a privilege to listen and learn a lot from my Cameroonian colleagues. CABTAL currently partners with 82 language communities.
My colleague and friend from Bamenda had invited me to his home. We took the bus from Yaounde to Bamenda and back. This was quite a long trip with interesting surprises. At the bus station in Bamenda we went to the toilet before departure to Yaounde–a journey that normally takes 8 hours, but that took 12 hours this time, with just one stop halfway. There was a man collecting the fee for the toilets and he had written many Bible texts on the wall in front of him. We asked him about it.
He was struggling to read an English booklet from the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and shared that he was seeking answers to his questions about God and the Bible. He told us about his people group and what language they spoke. We then knew that there was nothing translated into his language and encouraged him to contact CABTAL.
These encounters leave a deep impression with me about the need for translation of the Bible so that people can know their Lord and Savior.
Source: Martijn DeVries