Workshop kicks off bid to produce Bible in Virac Bicol
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PARTICIPANTS IN THE BIBLE TRANSLATION WORKSHOP. as well as their mentors and Philippine Bible Society (PBS) officials, review their translation exercise output at the function hall of Villa Tolledo Tourist Inn. At extreme right is PBS General Secretary Nora Guerrero-Lucero.

Eighteen people of diverse religious backgrounds last week attended a by-invitation only workshop conducted by the Philippine Bible Society that formally launched a project to produce a New Testament version in the dialect of southern Catanduanes by 2021.

The three-day Bikol Southern Catanduanes New Testament Translation Workshop, cut from the original four after the May 20 flight of Philippine Airlines failed to land at Virac airport, was aimed at eventually selecting members of the New Testament (NT) translation team.

According to the Society, it met with other Bible translation agencies in the country in February 2018 and identified 45 remaining languages in the Philippines without their own translations of the Bible. Subsequently, PBS was assigned to eight of these languages, all of which are in the Bicol region.

It helped that the Society’s current General Secretary, Dr. Nora Guerrero-Lucero, hails from Virac. The wife of Pastor Danny Lucero, is the first woman to head the PBS and the first Asian to chair the United Bible Societies Global Board, was present throughout the workshop.

The PBS officials who conducted the workshop were Bishop Daniel Arichea Jr., PhD, of the United Methodist Church; linguist and translation consultant Dr. Anicia del Corro of the Alliance Fellowship Church; PBS publishing manager and translation consultant Rev. Edgar Ebojo, PhD; and translation consultant-in-training Rev. Rhoneil Arevalo, PhD.

Before initiating the workshop, a team from PBS led by Dr. Ebojo consulted the Romal Catholic Church and other Christian churches on the island as well as the Department of Education and other institutions in its goal of producing an accurate translation of the New Testament, based on authoritative Bible texts.

During the workshop held May 21 to 24, 2019 at the Villa Tolledo Tourist Inn in Virac, the participants were briefed on the nature of language and translation, the translation process and principles, the cultural background of the New Testament, exegesis or the critical explanation or interpretation of Scriptural text, literary genres in the New Testament, and several translation exercises.

Dr. Ebojo said each translator selected should be a native speaker, institution or Church-recommended, has complimentary skills in original Bible language, a team player and committed to the project. They will get a full-time appointment with remuneration and office in Virac where they will work on their quota during 40-hour weeks from May 2019 until June 2021.

The team of NT translators will be composed of three to four members, aside from the project secretary to take charge of administrative matters and Dr. Arevalo who will be the PBS consultant in Virac to ensure translation standards will be met.

Each translator will prepare a preliminary draft and first draft, with a weekly or monthly assignment of translation output of 35 to 45 verses a day. For the 2nd draft, the individual members will review each other’s work and the team will discuss things among themselves for the 3rd or committee draft.

Hard decisions will most likely be made on key terms, divine names, footnotes and word borrowings, among others, with a review committee to go over the committee draft after which the draft will be sent back to the committee for revision and then submitted to the consultative committee.

After approval by the translation consultant, the final draft will undergo copy editing prior to printing.

During the closing ceremony, Dr. del Corro expressed elation about the “very encouraging” output, although she noted that it needs some improvement particularly with cases of literal translation, Pinoy terms in Viral Bicol, translation of some Biblical terms, and areas of overlap.

Among the participants who completed the workshop were Sarah Mirandilla, Atty. Evelyn Gutierrez, Mark Joel Olfindo, Efren Sorra, Fr. Eduardo Zafe, Ian Christopher Sarmiento, Genesis Jose, Ava Doreen Mahilum, Amelia Sarmiento, Deborah Anna Solo, Shane Dominic Araojo, Augusto Vargas, Ma. Megan Camacho, Maria Odeza Sy, Joel Olfindo, and Jhena Angela Bautista.


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