Nobody else has a message like that

Wycliffe Today | Spring 2021

Kathy Dadd is a Wycliffe Australia member working with the Australian Society for Indigenous Languages (AuSIL) on a translation of the Bible called the Plain English Version (PEV). It is a meaning-based English translation of the Bible that ‘seeks to use language features that are common to most Australian Aboriginal languages’ in order to communicate clearly to speakers of Australian Indigenous languages who do not use Standard English. 

Kathy says she has always been interested in other languages. Studying Aboriginal Studies at university also opened Kathy’s eyes to the ongoing disadvantages experienced by Australian Indigenous communities:

When I heard that there were Australians who don’t have the Bible in a language they could easily understand, I found myself wondering whether it was something I could be involved in. I heard that there are still lots of Aboriginal languages being spoken and only one language has the whole Bible available (Kriol). 

The PEV Mini-Bible (about 70% of the New Testament and a few excerpts from the Old Testament) is due to be published soon but Kathy says that there is still a ‘lifetime of work’ to get other books translated and audio recordings made to help with Scripture engagement: 

It’s exciting to know that the PEV Mini-Bible has been sent to the publisher after many years of hard work that Dave Glasgow and others have put into it. It’s also encouraging when we get requests for more books to be translated because we know that people are using it and finding it helpful. But it does remind me how much there is to go!

With a few years of experience now under her belt working on the PEV, what is Kathy looking forward to in the future? 

I’d love to see the whole Bible available in the PEV one day, so I plan to continue  working on the PEV as my main project. I’m also encouraged by the many Aboriginal people who want to translate the Scriptures into their own languages. I want to support them in that work. We recently had a week-long workshop where 11 Aboriginal people came to Darwin and translated Luke 2:6-12 into six languages. For most of them, it will be the first Scripture ever published in their language. It’s such a privilege to be a part of that! 

Working alongside local translators has also shown Kathy how hard it can be to clearly communicate the importance of the gospel message:

God’s Word has the power to transform lives, so we really want to make sure that a Bible translation is communicating clearly, but that’s not without its challenges. At a recent translation workshop, I found out that some languages don’t have words for things like ‘save’, ‘animal’, ‘box’ or ‘world’. 

Even native English speakers have found the PEV helpful for understanding Bible passages in a new light. A particular passage which has stood out to Kathy from the PEV is John 6:68:

Your words will make us live with God forever. Nobody else has a message like that.
John 6:68b (PEV)

Indeed, no one else has a message like the one we read in God’s Word. Translations like the PEV enable language communities to understand the unique message of God’s love, grace and forgiveness. 

Please pray for:

  • more workers to help with the PEV
  • more workers to support Indigenous translators.

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Thanks for your patience...

Waiting is hard, isn't it. But imagine waiting 2000 years for Scripture in your language! Thanks for your patience. And thanks for your generous support which will help bring the long wait to an end...