First Inuit Bible Translation Conference

On January 30 – February 3, 2017, the Canadian Bible Society hosted the first Inuit Bible Translation Conference in Toronto.

The Inuit People

The Inuit people inhabit the rugged Arctic terrain on the north coast of North America from Alaska to Greenland, including the Canadian Arctic and Labrador. Though this is a single ethnic and linguistic family by historical criteria there is not one, but rather several distinct Inuit languages spoken across the Arctic today. The indigenous peoples continue to initiate translation of the Bible into their ‘heart language’.

CBS Inuit Bible Translation Conference

Christianity was embraced by many Inuit peoples of the North; in fact, there are several churches today that are thriving in Inuit communities. Today, there is a resurgence of indigenous languages and cultures, and in the church, a corresponding desire for Scripture that speaks to cultural expression and a vibrant indigenous faith community.

In this moment of renewal and eagerness to preserve indigenous language and cultivate Scriptural translations for the whole community, the Canadian Bible Society (CBS) hosted the first ever Inuit Bible Translation Conference which took place in Toronto on January 30 – February 3, 2017.

During the week-long conference, representatives from Bible translation projects in Alaska (Inupiaq), Kugluktuk (Nunavut), Iqaluit (Nunavut), Inuttut (Nunatsiavut), and Kalaallit (Greendland) attended to share stories and translation expertise with each other. Church leaders and ministry partners were also present to listen and learn.

The process of Bible Translation in the 21st century involves not just expertise in the original languages of the Bible – Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic – but also skill in specialized Bible translation software and disciplined project management. It also involves diverse partners who bring different resources to the table.  One of the ministry partners, Faith Comes By Hearing, emphasized the importance of the spoken word in primarily oral cultures and shared about the amazing advances in technology for recording Scripture.