Ravi* is a mother tongue translator for Pahari Mahasui, a language spoken by over 1 million people in Himachal Pradesh. There are now hundreds of believers in this language group. In 2007 the Gospel of Mark was published after nearly five years of work by a small translation team. The people rejoiced to finally have a Gospel in “their” language, but they wanted more. After several more years of waiting, the Gospel of Luke was produced and dedicated in 2014, and that generated renewed excitement about getting God’s Word in Pahari Mahasui. Some people were so happy they even kissed their copy of the Gospel. Even so, it still took two years to produce that translation. It was discouraging. At this rate the people wondered how long it would take to have the whole Bible in their language.
When the people heard about the New Testament Translation project, the church decided to take action. They pulled together a team of five mother tongue translators, received training in the translation principles and methodology, and got right to work. Ravi says the people are very happy that translation progress is accelerating now because they realize they can have the whole Bible in their language—sooner than they could have hoped for. Other language groups cling to the same hope. They say, “If a Bible translation project is going to be started, then it must also be completed.” This is in reference to the “Scripture portions” only approach that takes so long. The starts and stops are simply too frustrating for them. Indeed, they won’t be satisfied until they have all 66 books of the Bible translated in their language.
Bible Stories in Pahari Mahasui Attract Interest
Pastor Jaya* is a mother tongue translator for the Pahari Mahasui Bible translation project. His son, Ajith*, is in the eleventh grade at a government school. He is keen to learn Bible stories in his language. Whenever he shares stories, tells jokes, and acts in school dramas, he does it all in his Pahari Mahasui language. Students and teachers get excited hearing these things in the local language. It draws their interest, so they give him opportunities to do more. It’s plain to see that Bible translation in their local language does not only impact the Christians. It can also have an effect on the wider community. The local church wants to stimulate this interest by providing translations of some non-Scripture material in the local language, too. The Pahari Mahasui translation team says they are getting more rooted in God’s Word through the translation work. They feel privileged to be a part of Bible translation ministry and see it as a trust given to them.
*Names changed for security purposes.