Philippines language group celebrates translation of whole Bible

On May 28 of this year, after nearly 50 years of translation work, the people of Barlig in Mountain Province, the Philippines, celebrated the completion of the whole Bible in their language—Finallig. Local translators from the language group of about 6,000 speakers persevered to translate the whole Bible, with support from Wycliffe’s key partner organization, SIL, and others.

The translation project was pioneered by former Wycliffe Canada president Dave Ohlson and his wife Joan. Beginning in 1975, they lived in Barlig, a village in the highlands of Luzon Island. After Ohlson became director of SIL Philippines in 1982, a Japanese couple named Takashi and Aiko Fukuda were assigned to continue the work. They were later joined by Wycliffe Japan member, Kiyoko Torakawa.

Wycliffe Canada members Rundell and Judi Maree also served as managers of the project, beginning in 1999.

In 2003, the Fialikia* Scripture Society (FSS), a local organization, was formed. Three local translators were hired and trained to continue the translation alongside Kiyoko Torakawa and other expat workers. When the Finallig New Testament was completed in 2004, FSS immediately began working on a translation of the Old Testament.

Now that the whole Bible is available in Finallig, FSS plans to work with a language group closely related to Finallig. The Kadaclan people do not fully understand Finallig, however, so FSS is helping Kadaclan church leaders to adapt the Finallig translation for use by their people. The Kadaclan hope to complete their work on the New Testament by 2024.

* Fialikia is the root word for Finallig

Adapted from a story by Ling Lam at

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