"If your God is so mighty, why doesn't He speak my language?"
A Cakchiquel (Guatemala) man to SIL founder William Cameron Townsend
The Bamenda Regional Office of SIL Cameroon hosted a brand new course - Training in Exegetical Principles (TEP). The goal of this course was to teach students from Aghem, Babanki and Pinyin languages, three languages spoken in the Northwest region of Cameroon skills in exegesis which they could then apply in their language work. Patricia Wilkendorf, an SIL member directed the course. She was assisted by colleagues Paul Kimbi and Anna Gallant.
Throughout the week in Bamenda the TEP participants grappled with such topics as Meaning and Translation, Historical and Cultural Distance, Coherence, and Context. During that time, the students worked with a specific text, but they soon realized that the principles they were learning could be applied to any material needing to be translated. The staff used concrete images to teach abstract ideas and then encouraged students to explain the concepts in their own language, demonstrating their understanding.
At the conclusion of TEP the trainees returned to their respective language programs.
The Aghem team faced the challenge of translating the Book of Acts and were eager to use the principles they had learned. Since not all of the Aghem translators had attended TEP, those who had completed the course began to train their colleagues. Soon the entire team came to understand the meaning of passages more quickly and, working together, found new joy and enthusiam for the translation task.
For the Aghem, Training in Exegetical Principles proved to be effective - TEP passed its test with flying colors!