On March 6, 2013, historic St. John’s Anglican Cathedral will be the venue for the launching of both the book and audio versions of the Holy Bible’s Nyoo Testiment eena Bileez Kriol (The New Testament in Belize Kriol). The translation into Kriol began in the early 1990s, involving the Belize Kriol Project of the National Kriol Council working with teams of linguists from SIL, pastors, and others in Belize’s religious community, who collaborated with Wycliffe Bible Translators, the Bible Society of the West Indies, and the Belize Bible Society.
When the Belize Kriol Project was formed, two of its major deliverables were the production, testing, and revision of a spelling system for the Belize Kriol language and the production of reading materials in the Kriol language, particularly the Bible. Thus, in 1993, work began in earnest with training those committed to literacy in Kriol in language translation approaches and techniques.
A spelling system for Belize Kriol was developed and tested over a period of years in the 1990s. In 2002, the system was revised to be more user-friendly, in keeping with most of the spelling systems that exist for the world’s documented languages, now listed as 7,105 (www.ethnologue.com), which follow a one-sound, one-symbol pattern. In 2007, the Kriol-English dictionary was launched, with Ministry of Education endorsement. In 2006, “The Song of Kriol,” a grammar book about Kriol was published, written by Ken Decker and the Belize Kriol Project team of editors.
The team leaders who were involved in the Biblical translations, apart from years of experience in using the Bible to preach or in Sunday school, also received exegetical training; that is, training in the interpretation of religious text. Yvette Herrera, lead translator of the Belize Kriol Project, notes that although English has been the traditional language of sermons and Biblical teachings in Belize, one cannot doubt the impact that hearing the Bible in one’s local language has.
Additionally, an audio version is also available free of cost at Bible.Is website, done in collaboration with the organization Faith Comes By Hearing, which has over forty years of experience in developing the world’s largest collection of free audio New Testaments. The Belize Kriol Project particularly thanks the Anglican Bishop of Belize, Rt. Reverend Philip Wright, for his permission to use historic St. John’s Anglican Cathedral for the launch on March 6, at 9:30 in the morning.
It also acknowledges the many pastors, Bible users, and teachers who have assisted, and the Wycliffe and SIL International support that has enabled the Belize Kriol committee to produce a Bible translation that is both exegetically faithful to the meaning of the original rendition of the Word of the Lord God, and that is cast in such a way that the Bible’s text is abundantly meaningful to the respective audience, in this case, Belize Kriol speakers.