"If your God is so mighty, why doesn't He speak my language?"
A Cakchiquel (Guatemala) man to SIL founder William Cameron Townsend
SIL works not only in the domains of linguistics and training, but also in translation. The materials that are translated can be grouped into different domains, among which:
Shell books: Standardized booklets on a variety of subject with texts that can easily be translated into any Cameroonian language, with graphics and formatting already done. Among the subjects included are health, community development, stories and Bible portions. A large collection of Shell books is available at SIL Cameroon for use by the linguistic communities of Cameroon.
The Bible: SIL desires to help the churches to get the Bible (generally starting with the New Testament) in the different languages of Cameroon.
The training of translators is a high priority, especially since it is mother tongue speakers of a language that will be able to create a good translation. SIL regularly organizes training courses on principles of good translation. Cameroonian translators work in close collaboration with teams of SIL linguists.
Our philosophy of translation is that of 'meaning based translation'. This means that a translation is more than a translation of the words but that it communicates the meaning of the text in the source language clearly and precisely in the receptor language. All the translations that are done or supervised by SIL Cameroon go through a process of verification by community revisers and are consultant checked by experienced translation consultants, so that quality and precision are maintained.