Thursday, October 18, 2007

A First in Bible Translation

My colleague Bob Prichard sent this news item from CR Daily:

Jacqueline Huggins, by translating the New Testament into the Filipino Kagayanen language, became the first African-American female to ever complete a New Testament translation. She is also the first African-American to complete a New Testament translation since the early 1900s (Efrain Alphonse completed the Valiente New Testament) and the first African-American with Wycliffe Bible translators to do so, Christian Newswire reported Wednesday.

Huggins, 36, a Philadelphia-born linguistics and Bible translation specialist, went to the Philippines for Wycliffe Bible Translators in 1986, spending more than 20 years translating the New Testament into Kagayanen, which is spoken by some 25,000, helped by a staff of three translators and three support staff made up of Americans, Malaysian Chinese and Singaporean Chinese. The first copies of the Kagayanen New Testament are expected to be delivered in Feb. 2008.

"I knew God was calling me to Scripture translation. Incredibly, one church leader attempted to discourage me from pursuing that call, saying 'You won't be accepted by Wycliffe because you are black. And you are a female,'" Huggins said. "It became clear that divine intervention brought this diverse team together."

Of the 6,912 languages spoken in the world today, only 426 have entire Bible translations. Wycliffe was involved in more than 710 New Testament and Bible translations, impacting more than 78 million people.


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