"Your Language is the most precious element in life that still includes all major values of your ancestors. What does that mean for your children, and your grandchildren and their future?"
It is a well-documented fact that the translation of God’s Word into a newly written language has an influence on the written style of that language far beyond any other publication. For that reason, SIL requires certain controls for the translations it supervises.
A good translation is exact, clear and natural. That is, it conveys the exact meaning of the original in a form that is clear and in a manner that sounds like normal, natural speech.
To assure good quality control, those involved in translating scripture into their language need to be able to read and write their language properly and well. They need to have an understanding of the grammar of the language, including the discourse grammar. Discourse grammar has to do with the conventions a language uses in storytelling, giving instruction and exhortation, and generally communicating in a manner that listeners respect. Those involved in translation also need to have a good working knowledge of translation principles and they need to seek the advice and review of trained local advisors. Formally published translation needs to be checked by an experienced translation consultant.
Translation for the Mofu-Gudur began in 1982. A Mofu-Gudur translator worked in collaboration with SIL member Ken Hollingsworth to produce several short portions. As their ability as translators grew, they produced several Biblical books. In 1992 a new team of five Mofu were selected and trained to continue the translation work. These men initially attended a two-week course on translation principles. Then they received daily mentoring from SIL members Jim Pohlig and Ken Hollingsworth.
The SIL members were absent for several years, but the five Mofu men (FARIKOU David, BOUBA Nicolas, GONDJI David, ABDOULAYE Justin, and KOTCHITANG Jean-Pierre) continued their translation work. In 2000 Ken and Judy Hollingsworth rejoined the Mofu team to help complete the translation of the New Testament.
Originally 17 Mofu men speaking different dialects and from different churches were selected by the translation committee (ASEMTRAB) to read the translation and offer suggestions for improvements. For the final read-through, nine men speaking different dialects, some of whom had never seen the entire draft, spent a whole month together to make final adjustments to the translation.
The whole translation process was backed by ASEMTRAB. This committee met once a year to hear reports on translation progress and seek ways to encourage and support the work. The Mofu community was divided into districts, with district officers encouraging local churches to give financially to the project and provide moral and prayer support.
The fruit of all this came together on 16 February 2008, when over 5,000 Mofu-Gudur people gathered together in Mokong to celebrate the coming of their New Testament. Within two months, the 4,900 copies were sold out. Four thousand more were printed and are now being sold.