Here at local churches, there is a saying: “Offering time is blessing time”. In Bamenda last week the entire class was so excited about the new translation and checking tools, that we couldn’t easily get them to leave the classroom for coffee break, lunch, or dinner. You know I’m not a coffee-drinker, but I tried to convince them that they’d have more energy and refreshment if they would take a little break. Thus: “Coffee time is blessing time”.
We worked with 6 teams at the Bamenda Regional Office:
Aghem, Awing, Babanki, Bum (It’s pronounced boom, stop laughing), Mbembe, and Pinyin.
The teams were all at different points in the translation of the Bible into their languages…from nearly an entire New Testament to just a few books.
We introduced a battery of new tools for checking the consistency of their typing and translation. One of the tools is a statistical spell-checker that does the Word-style red squiggly lines, and even offers suggestions. As they spell-checked their language they could see the consistency climb. For example, I worked with one team for about 20 minutes and we corrected well over 1000 minor errors in the text.
It was only my second course here taught in English, and while it is easier, I think Cameroonians generally understand my French better than my English. Camerooninan English is it’s own dialect, similar to Ebonics (or as Megan would correct me, African American Vernacular English). It’s not hard to understand, but I don’t spend enough time in the English-speaking area to work on speaking it. To make matters more complex, there is a regional language used throughout a large portion of Cameroon called Cameroonian Pidgin, which is a combination of English and Portuguese, and is often miked with French and the local language. It’s like Gullah and Old English in the way that if you sound it out, one can usually follow it even if the turn of phrase is unusual.
Here’s an excerpt from the Pidgin New Testament, which is called “Gud News fo Ol Pipul” (which means all people, not just old people.) Take a crack at reading it.
|Jesus e giv chop fo plenti-plenti pipul. (Mark 6:41-44)||chop: food|
|41 Den Jesus e teik de faif bred an de tu fish an e luk fo heven, an he tank god. E bruk de bred an e giv-am fo yi lanboi dem fo divaid-am fo de pipul. Den e divid de fish tuu fo ol de pipul.||pipul: people|
|42 Ol dem bin chop an dem fulop.||fulop: fill up|
|43 Den de lanboi dem pik de haf haf chop weh e bin remein fo de bred an de fish, dem fulop-am fo twef basket dem.||lanboi: followers|
|44 De man pikin dem weh dem bin chop da bred dem bi faif tasen.||chop: eat |
Our class: Bamenda Paratext 2011