Preparing for What Lies Ahead

Just after we presented the Gospel in March of this year, 2 Miboo men, Sesi and Keteng, attended a two week translation seminar.  They learned what it takes to have a good, solid Bible translation.

Since the village of Tariknan is the last village in our language group, the Mibu believers are beginning to prepare for crossing the language barrier. They have caught the vision of bringing the Gospel into the two related languages on either side of Mibuland, Jerung and Mina.

In preparation for the future outreaches, Sesi and Keteng recently held their own translation seminar.  The idea is to take two Mibu guys who are bilingual in Jerung, and two Mibu guys who are bilingual in Mina, and teach them translation principles in one week long seminar.  However, a total of 12 guys ended up attending!  What an awesome response!  Just today as I was walking home from church, Bapeke was talking to me about all the sacrifices he learned that William Tyndale went through in order to translate the Bible.  And what a joy it is to hear these guys chatting about the technical aspects of a good translation.

Please uphold in prayer these two language groups, Jerung and Mina.  (Pronounced jair-ung and minn-ah). Together with the Mibu people we have set the goal of reaching out to them early 2007.  The church still needs to finalize the plan as to where to go first.  There are over 1,000 pages of evangelism lessons to translate in the meantime, so plenty to keep everyone busy!

So far, Genesis chapters 1-2 have been translated into Jerung.  Andrea Knotts, who is visiting us for the summer, typed the translated materials into the computer for us.  Andrea is also teaching two Mibu girls how to type in order to help us keep up with the workload.  We are so glad for the blessing that Andrea has been to our team.

A few facts about the Mina people to the west of Mibu:  There are 11 villages ranging in population from 25-110 with about a total of 850 people.  Mina people regularly intermarry with Mibu people, so there are many bilinguals.  When we taught in Mibu, 54 people from 10 Mina villages came and were saved.  The word “Mina” means “what”.

OK, now the Jerung people on our east:  There are 10 villages with a total estimated population of 1,500.  There are 10 believers from 4 different villages as a result of the teaching in Mibu.  Jerung and Mibu people also intermarry.  The largest village of Gwarawon has an airstrip.  The word “Jerung” also means “what”.  In a recent meeting, all of the Jerung villages officially expressed an invitation to have the Word of God taught in their villages.

For His Glory,
Joey and Brooke Tartaglia
Mibu, Madang, PNG

I will perpetuate your memory through all generations; therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever. -Psalm 45:17


With immense joy, it is our pleasure to share with you that for the first time ever in the history of the Mibu people, a portion of Scripture has been written down in their very own language!!!! Though it is only the beginning, we cannot contain our excitement! For the past month Joey has been working on the first drafts of Genesis 1-3.

Frequently Asked Questions:
1. What word did you use for “God”?
-Just as in the English Bible, God has many names, and we do the same in the Mibu translation. Where the Hebrew uses the word “God”, we use the Mibu word “Bamnyu Pangun”. This literally means the “Biggest, Strongest One”.
For “LORD”, we use the Mibu word, “Unyugun”. This means “He, himself”, or “He is that He is”. This is the Mibu version of, “I am that I am.”
And for “LORD God”, we are using the term, “Unyugun Pangun”. This means, “He Himself, the Strongest One”. Much thought, prayer, and consideration is going into these decisions, and we welcome your prayers as we work to make God’s words correct and understandable in the Mibu language. We feel the weight of responsibility as well as joy and amazement that God would use us in this way.

2. Is the attachment to this email the final draft, ready to be published?
-Not yet!! Before this will be publishable, much more checking will have to be done. We have to check for simple things like spelling errors, as well as more complex things, like making sure that all the meaning in the original is communicated in the translation in Mibu. We need to go through the material with different Mibu people, double checking that the Mibu people understand what is being said. All of this checking includes many people, from the translator to the other team members (who read the material and translate it back to English and compare it with our Bible), to the translation consultants (men who have done other translation work in other languages and can help us through the rough or confusing areas).

3. What other steps are there in translation?
-First we have to understand what the meaning of a chapter is. Then, we write down to the best of our ability how to say that in Mibu. But, that’s not a translation!!! Next we sit down with a Mibu person and explain the passage to them. When he understands the story well enough to repeat it back from start to finish, we record him. Then, we write down word for word what he said from the recording, and together with him fill in any other details he might have left out, and in some cases take out extra information he might have put in. From there we do the checking as mentioned in question 2. After all those checks, we have a translation consultant come and check our work.

4. Why do you record a Mibu person speaking instead of just writing down how you think it should be said?
-Even though we are fluent in the Mibu language, we will never sound as natural as a Mibu person. So, in order for the Mibu translation to sound natural in their language, we record their rendering of the story once they understand the meaning. So our job as translators is to make sure that the translation is faithful to the original Hebrew or Greek. The Mibu translator’s job is to make sure the story sounds as natural as a mother talking to her child. Working together, we will have a faithful translation that sounds natural to the Mibu people.

Yours Truly,
Joey and Brooke Tartaglia