The Team

Once again I give praise for the translation team God has provided. Last week was intense, with checks, revisions, re-checks, and sometimes re-revisions when fixing one translation problem created another. But as of Thursday, all the checks were done, every revision made and checked. Friday we went through the final draft section by section. Pastor Minamida signed each one, and as he did, we found where the subtle problems lay and marked them for extra attention to make sure they get signed properly during the recording session. Pray especially for him as he will be on camera next this week Tuesday through Friday.

Pray also for Ogata. He is in charge of camera, computers, and all the other technological aspect of the recording session. Pray especially that the computers will behave properly. We’ve been having some issues today in our practice sessions.

Yuki, our newest staff member, has been a huge help. He knows Japanese, English, Greek, Hebrew, and is quickly picking up Japanese Sign language. I can discuss text critical issues with him, or ask him to find every occurrence of a particular word to see if it is signed consistently with our previous work. He also checked the translation and noticed problems I had overlooked. Pray that ViBi will find the funding to fully support him. (Without the disability aid that our Deaf staff have to supplement their income, ViBi’s salary really doesn’t cover. Pray for the day when we’ll be able to fully salary ALL of our workers!)

Yano has also been a huge help. She is the translation aide, doing the rough drafts and helping Pastor Minamida, our translator, find wording for subsequent drafts. I find I can ask her a lot of my questions without having to bother Pastor Minamida with all the details. Sometime what I think might be problems are just my misunderstanding of the signs. Other times, the problem is in the editing, and she can fix it herself. All of this is a big help in moving the translation project forward.

Tomomi may be new to some of you. She has been hired, with funding from SIL International Area, to input our translation work into ELAN. ELAN is a linguistic analysis software tool that has a side benefit of giving JSL Bible users access to everything we’ve translated in one convenient location. Instead of switching out DVDs for the different books of the Bible multiple times within a sermon, pastors can show passages instantly from any book we’ve translated. She has finished inputting all the chapter and verse references, and will soon begin inputting each word. Imagine being able to lookup every occurrence of a given word and have the verse show up on your screen. This will be a convenient Bible study aid, and will also enable us to do linguistic analysis of our translation. We praise God for her linguistic savvy, attention to detail, and above all, patience in this huge task.

While we work on translation, Kumiko is doing a whole different kind of work. She is hired for one day a week by the Asia Sign Language Translation Association (ASTA, funded by SIL International Asia Area) to translate documents related to cooperation between various countries in Asia who have, want, or need a Sign Language Bible translation. She is fluent in Japanese, English, American Sign Language, and Japanese Sign Language, and with her cheerful and willing spirit is a great avenue of information to and from the Deaf team. ViBi has been charged by a multi-national group of representatives to start a full-fledged Asia-wide translation organization, and Kumiko is a critical link in making this happen.

Thank you for upholding us in prayer for this crucial week.


About Mark and Mary Esther Penner

Mark works as an adviser and resource to a Japanese Sign Language Bible translation project that plays a key role in the worldwide sign language Bible translation movement. Mary Esther founded a non-profit organization that partners with local communities and organizations to collect, refurbish and send wheelchairs throughout Asia.
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