How One Translation Consultant Uses His Gifts to Mentor Others in Papua New Guinea

How One Translation Consultant Uses His Gifts to Mentor Others in Papua New Guinea

October 20, 2022

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After completing an internship with Seed Company, Nafian equips others in the Bible translation movement.

Nafian Saremo lives in Papua New Guinea, the country with the second highest number of Bibleless languages in the world. Now over 63 years old, he has served more than 27 years in Bible translation as a translator and consultant.

In 2014, Nafian became a Seed Company intern, joining a program that increases national Bible translation agencies’ capacity by helping them provide salaries and advanced training for experienced translators. In 2017, he achieved full consultant status.

Answering an Urgent Call

Consultants are crucial members of the Bible translation process. They help ensure that the translation is both accurate in its own context and faithful to the original language.

The need for translation consultants is especially great in Papua New Guinea, with more than 800 indigenous languages spread across 600 islands. In the area where Nafian serves, around 70% of the residents blend traditional animistic beliefs with Christianity. Many turn to a traditional healer when sick before praying to God.

They are in great need of Scripture—and the Holy Spirit’s power working through it—in their own languages.

Madi Language Culture Meets Scripture Workshop

Freely Giving What He Has Received

“There is a shortage of consultants in this country. Many language programs are road-blocked because of not having consultants available,” Nafian says. 

“When I consider the training that I have been given, I consider it my responsibility to use these gifts for the building up of the Bible translation movement in Papua New Guinea and the body of Christ.”

Meanwhile, he’s also mentored the members of his Madi translation team. He prays that God’s Word would change them inwardly, leading to positive change in their families and then expanding throughout the community.

“I would like to be a good example to others of how the Bible and the gospel can transform a life.”

– Nafian Saremo, Bible translation consultant

Gwahatike Cluster 2

A Blessing to His Community

He sees answers to that prayer every day as his team members’ credibility grows. People have come to see them as honest, transparent, and trustworthy. 

Today, Nafian continues to be a respected leader in the Gwahatike Cluster project, which includes both the Madi and Asaro’o languages. He also provides consulting services to other languages in the area as he is able. 

Support from the community continues to increase. “In the long run, after so many years,” he says, “the community has seen that what we have been holding onto, our faith in Jesus Christ, has been very genuine.”

Dive Deeper

First, watch Nafian’s testimony in the short video below made by our friends at the PNG Experience and SIL.

Then take some time to learn more about Seed Company’s Consultant in Training program.

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