January 23, 2017 — Toronto, ON
Canada’s national Truth and Reconciliation movement has allowed fresh winds to blow through the dark history of colonization, broken treaties, and residential schools that have so devastated Canada’s indigenous populations. These resilient peoples – First Nations, Metis, and Inuit – are facing formidable obstacles in terms of preserving and revitalizing their precious cultures and languages. For the indigenous Church, Bible translation and Bible-based literacy are strategic and empowering avenues of expression and engagement.
Celebrating a decades’ long partnership with the indigenous peoples of Canada, the Canadian Bible Society is hosting the first-ever Inuit Bible Translation Conference in Toronto from Jan. 30th to Feb 3rd 2017. These meetings will bring together, for the first time, Inuit Bible translation teams from Alaska (Inupiaq), Western Nunavut (Inuinnaqtun), Eastern Nunavut (Inuktitut), Nunatsiavut (Inuttut), and Greenland (Kalaallit), along with church leaders and ministry partners committed to serving the indigenous peoples of the Arctic with Bible translation and Bible engagement tools.
The process of Bible Translation in the 21st century involves not just expertise in the original languages of the Bible – Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic – but also skill in specialized Bible translation software, disciplined project management, and in involving diverse partners who bring different resources to the table. One key ministry partner, Faith Comes by Hearing, will bring a special emphasis on the importance of the spoken word in primarily oral cultures, and share about the amazing advances in technology for recording the Scriptures.
Dr. Myles Leitch, Director of Scripture Translation for the Canadian Bible Society says: “This event is a first in the history of Bible Translation in Canada. We wanted to bring Inuit translation teams together to leverage commonalities in culture and language, to allow the more experienced translators to mentor the newer ones, and to celebrate the resilience and accomplishments of each group. It is also an opportunity to refresh the training of the translation teams in terms of revised software, new approaches to translation, and biblical exegesis.”
Representing a long-standing translation partner, the Anglican Church, Rt. Rev. David Parsons, Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of the Arctic, is slated to deliver the keynote address on the first day of the gathering: “The Importance of Vernacular Scriptures in the Life of the Church”. Other church leaders and ministry partners will bring spiritual reflection and encouragement to the gathering as well. ” It promises to be an exhilarating time together, celebrating the richness of Inuit culture and the diversity of languages among the Inuit people,” says Leitch.
The Canadian Bible Society works exclusively at the invitation of indigenous communities and churches to engage in Scripture translation projects. Our goal is always local ownership for these projects. The Canadian Bible Society is committed to supporting the goals of indigenous communities, to respecting languages and cultures, and to assisting and promoting translation of the Bible into the languages people speak and understand.
Translation of Bible texts follows a rigorous process of drafting, team checking, community checking and consultant checking. We draw upon and apply a large body of best-practice knowledge, developed over many decades, to every translation project, large or small.
The Canadian Bible Society has had a role in translating and/or publishing the Scriptures for many languages. The following list underlines the diversity of projects we have been involved in (not a complete list):
- Plains Cree (Saskatchewan)
- Inuktitut (Nunavut, Eastern Arctic)
- Ojibwe (Ontario, Manitoba)
- Inuttut (Nunatsiavut, Labrador)
- Coastal Cree (Quebec)
- Inupiaq (Alaska)
- Inuinnaqtun (Nunavut, Central Canadian Arctic)
Rev. Dr. Jonathan Dent, National Director of the Canadian Bible Society, is likewise enthusiastic about this Inuit Translation Conference, notes, “I am thrilled that we can support the Inuit Christian community and bond over the life-giving Scriptures. I am grateful for the support and care of the Anglican Church and other partners in this venture. We are privileged in seeing lives positively impacted and hope imparted in wonderful ways. Thanks to all parties for making this Bible Translation conference a wonderful way to care for one another and trust God together.”
Currently in our 111th year, the mandate of the Canadian Bible Society is today as it always has been: to promote and encourage, without doctrinal note or comment, the translation, publication, distribution, and use of the Bible, and to co-operate with the United Bible Societies in its worldwide work. The Canadian Bible Society (CBS) is a uniquely inter-denominational organization that transcends denominations to partner with individuals, churches, and para-church organizations who similarly believe that God’s Word changes hearts and lives.
The Canadian Bible Society, together with 150 national Bible Societies worldwide, has translated the Bible into more than 100 languages. Last year, more than 418 million Scripture publications were distributed. For more information on the translation projects of the Canadian Bible Society, please contact:
Dr. Myles Leitch, Ph.D. Linguistics, Director of Scripture Translations
T: (416) 689-3411 | Toll-free: 1-800-465-2425 Ext. 3411
Canadian Bible Society e-newsletter, January 27, 2017