Philippine Bible Society

Bringing God's Word Closer to Cordilleran Communities: PBS and UBS Launch Cornerstone Project

On May 21-24, the Philippine Bible Society (PBS) and the Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship of the United Bible Societies (UBS) organized a four-day workshop to launch the Cordillera Cornerstone Project, a pioneering oral Bible translation initiative in the Philippines under the auspices of UBS. The event was attended by exegetes and translators from the provinces of Abra, Kalinga, Apayao, and Mt. Province. Asia-Pacific translation officers, administrators of the Translators Association of the Philippines (TAP), PBS translation consultants and members of the Management Team were also present.

The intensive training aimed to orient participants with the skills and knowledge necessary to start and complete oral Bible translations in the four communities for this project–Isneg, Sadanga, Vanaw, and Masadiit. It began with a comprehensive introduction to the Cornerstone Project, covering essential topics such as orality, discourse analysis, oral translation principles, phases of the translation process, and the roles of the translation team. The developer of the Audio-Video Translation Tool (AVTT), Mr. Han Chung, also gave an initial presentation of the software which the participants will use in the process of doing oral translation.

Over the next three days, the participants engaged in various activities, including a simulation exercise for an initial translation draft and back translation. Theoretical discussions on traditional oral narratives were also enjoyed by the participants. On the final day, they learned about the Model Text, Cornerstone resources, storytelling, and additional materials that will be useful when translating the Bible into their local languages.

The participants are set on to put the knowledge they gained from the training into practice, and witness the impact of the oral Bible translation in their communities once the project is completed.

Within the four-day training, participants experienced Filipino culture firsthand by riding jeepneys, savoring local delicacies, and visiting popular attractions in Manila. The workshop concluded with a prayer of dedication, entrusting the success of the project to God and praying for His blessing and empowerment to the translators and exegetes as they work to bring God’s Word closer to more Cordilleran communities.

We can support the endeavor by praying for those involved and extending our financial help for the needs of the project.