“What makes a wonderful world to you?” Drawings of majestic mountains, delicious tropical fruit and lush rainforest emerged at each table as students stood up and shared their answers to the question. Having just listened to a recording of crooner Louis Armstrong singing the 1967 classic What a wonderful world, smiles spread across each face as they recalled their favorite things in life: “Colors…laughing kids…fishing…music…different languages…human diversity…” Naomi, from Manus, stood up and divulged how people’s facial expressions were part of what made the world wonderful to her. Although these kinds of discussions along with music, photographs, and videos have dominated the curriculum, art was not the subject of study in this classroom. No, these nearly 30 students were part of a 4 day English refresher course that served as a precursor to the Translators Training Course (TTC) at the Ukarumpa Training Centre in the Highlands. It was a chance to brush up on their English skills before the fast pace of TTC began.
Translators like Naomi come from all over Papua New Guinea to attend TTC each year, but some of them don’t have the opportunity to keep their English listening and speaking skills fresh year round. Because TTC is taught solely in English, these highly motivated translation teams can come a few days early and switch their brains over to thinking, speaking and asking questions in English. Then they are able to better absorb the information they are learning about translation, Biblical backgrounds, and study skills.
The staff focused on providing a relaxed and entertaining environment for increasing whatever level of English each participant came with. Regardless of their level of comprehension, each person was challenged to become more comfortable using English in this setting. Naomi was enthusiastic about the refresher class – “This has been very encouraging!” she exclaimed. Acquiring the skills of comprehending and retaining information learned in a foreign language can be an arduous task, but to these men and women it’s worth the struggle. Having an accurate and clear translation of the Bible in every heart language? That is a wonderful world indeed.
To see more of our wonderful world clink on this aerial video of Long Island, PNG https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1vrPaiE9dU