Thursday, 26 November 2009

When Will the Government Hear?

Recently, and out of interest, I visited the website for Jamaica Association for the Deaf (JAD), a government based organisation. I visited their schools page and I was most facinated by what I read under “Programmes and Curriculum.” It reads:

“Instruction is delivered in academic and vocational subjects and the curriculum pursued is based on the Ministry of Education's guidelines/curriculum with additional components to address language and speech development, these being the areas most affected by deafness. A special feature of our programme is the current thrust for a multilingual approach to instruction. The approach embodies the use of both Jamaican Sign Language and English in communication with students allowing the student to utilize the communication mode most comfortable to him/her. Research efforts are further seeking to develop a clearer understanding of the structure and usage of Jamaican Sign Language by the Deaf population as a means of aiding their development of English as a second language” (emphasis mine).

It is my conviction that the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture (MOEYC) is blameworthy of double standard here! How so? The Ministry allows for full implementation of Jamaican Sign Languag (JSL) in deaf education - from pre-school to continuining education - whilst, at the same time, it practically disregard to the use of Jamaican Ceole (JamC) in the education of the hearing population, even at the primary level. True, societal attitudes toward JamC are (???) more negative than those toward JSL (I’m not certain as to the veracity of this claim as I have no corroborating evidence, save my limited experience). And we are all aware that the status of a speech variety has much to do with its use in both informal and formal domains. The MOEYC acknowledges the problem of societal attitudes in its Language Education Policy where it states its decision to adopt “transitional bilingualism.” Besides financial and orthographic constraints, states the ministry, transitional bilingualism was favoured above full bilingualism (its ideal choice) because of “political and social attitudes to Creole as a medium of instruction.” It goes on to say that these social attitudes “could present obstacles that are difficult to overcome” (MOEYC, 2001:24). My opinion: the government hasn’t yet got (there’s hope here!) the backbone to do what’s in the best interest of the majority of the nation’s aural/oral population.

Also, by not accomodating Jamaican Creole in the classroom as a vialble medium of instruction, the MOEYC repudiates its claim that it’s best to move from the known to the known. That the government expouses this principle is stated in the sentence “Research efforts are further seeking to develop a clearer understanding of the structure and usage of Jamaican Sign Language by the Deaf population as a means of aiding their development of English as a second language.” But what are we to conclude when the ministry’s approach to instruction in aural/oral schools is anything but “multilingual”?

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Language Use & Sin

Recently, I sent out a ministry update to persons on my mailing list. One of the things I said in my news is, "Most recently, I've been reflecting on the extent to which language use bears witness to humanity's constant problem – sin." Unsurprisingly, someone responded, expressing an interest in my reflections. Now, I'm not entirely sure the respondent understood precisely what I was referring to, so, I sought to clarify what exactly my reflections relate to, by writing the following:

"In terms of my reference to languages bearing witness to humanity's constant problem, sin, I had in mind issues such as 1) the deliberate marginalisation (social, educational, legal, financial, political, etc) of persons of "minority" language varieties and 2) the fact that (some) language policies and language planning measures reflect broader/deeper societal problems both on the macro and micro levels, eg. hatred of another race, or territory, or speech community due to unsavoury historical relations, political interests, etc.  I'm of the opinion that many of these things could be considered a violation of one of the greatest commandments: "Love your neighbour as yourself" (Matt 22:39).  So, what factors contribute to Hindi and Urdu being recognised as discrete languages both popularly and in the law, even though they may be identical at the level of grammar?

I'm particularly interested in finding out how BT agencies have dealt with these issues (particularly 2) over the years.  For, in some cases, deciding to translate into a speech variety attracts various societal attitudes and could suggest the translation agency is supporting not only the language but all it represents to its speakers (and non speakers!).

I'm yet to refine my thoughts on the issue....  Do let me know what you think and of any material on the subject...."

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Back to Blogging SOON

I do apologise for having fallen short lately in terms of blogging. I usually type my blogs at home and publish them when I arrive at work; however, my laptop has crashed, and I’ve not been able to replace it as yet. Just to let you know that I do have a number of topics that I would like to blog on.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Our 1st Brochure

Print and distribute as many as you are able to!

JCTP Brochure

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Jamaican Project Standee

I designed you think it makes for a good standee?

Friday, 12 June 2009

Updates on

For further information as to what's going on with the project go here.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Project Summary Report

Training of Personnel:
Early 2008, I was sent to the United Kingdom to take two courses - one on meaning and communication, the other on translation - with SIL, UK.

Later on in the year (from 4th -18th August), BSWI hosted a two week Translation Workshop. Of the eight persons who attended the workshop, three – Lloyd Millen, Tasheney Francis and Jodianne Scott - were selected as full-time translators of the Jamaican Creole Translation Project (JCTP) on a three-month probationary basis. All three successfully completed their probation and have been welcomed to the staff of BSWI.

Translation proper begun 1st September, 2008 and, since then, the following has been achieved:
1) formulation of a document outlining the Project’s Translation Principles and Procedures
2) a tentative translation of “fixed” New Testament terms and a tentative transliteration of all NT names
3) production of first drafts for 14 epistles - Ephesians, 1-2 Thessalonians, 1-2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, James, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John and Jude - several of which have already gone through stage two (group review)
4) enlisting of two scholars to serve as Project exegetes – Rev’d Dr Carlton Dennis and Rev’d Dr Gosnell Yorke
5) attending consultancy sessions with our Translation Consultant, Dr Ronold Ross.
6) production of a second draft for Luke (see below)
7) the running of focus groups for Luke in six locations islandwide.

The Luuk Buk Project:
Before the current translation team was in place, BSWI had already embarked on the Luuk Buk Project.

Late 2008, the first draft of Luuk was reviewed for language specific issues and tested for comprehension by the Jamaican Language Unit of the University of the West Indies, Mona (JLU-UWI). The text was found to be unsatisfactory and, hence, unfit for studio production. Consequently, the current Translation Team was asked to incorporate the Luuk Buk Project into their workload. The first draft was reviewed by the Team and a second draft has been produced. This draft and the tentative translation of fixed New Testament terms are due to undergo comprehension testing in June of this year.

It is hoped that the improved text will be presented to the personnel in charge of studio production, by 30th June; and that the project will be launched this coming autumn – first in the United Kingdom, and then, in Jamaica.

Public Awareness:
One of the recommendations which came out of the 2008 breakfast for clergy (as well as from the series of focus groups hosted by JLU-UWI) is the need for BSWI to implement an effective public awareness strategy – to inform the public of issues pertaining to language, Bible translation and Scripture Use. It is believed that such a strategy would increase the level of acceptability of the Scriptures in Jamaican Creole, as it would address popular concerns and misunderstandings persons have expressed in relation to the project.

Recently, Jo-Ann Richards, former ethnomusicologist with SIL / Wycliffe Bible Translators, Caribbean, approached BSWI and expressed her desire to work on this aspect of the Project. Miss Richards attended a meeting at BSWI in March to discuss the matter and it was agreed that there should be a one-month probation period, during which time, Miss Richards would visit several schools and churches and use that experience to guide the development and implementation of an effective strategy.

Plans for this Quarter (April - June):
1. Produce a second draft of all translated books and submit to reviewers (exegetes, JLU-UWI, consultant) for review.
2. Launch a website for the project.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Friday, 24 April 2009

Word of Life in Jamaican Creole

For some time now, Global Recording Network has made the Jamaican version of Words of Life, some audio gospel messages, available on their website. You’d be pleased to know the files are available for free download! To listen (and download!) go here.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

1-2 Timothy & James Are Now Online

I've just published the 2nd draft of 1 & 2 Timothy and of James online. (Go here to view.)

Do let me know if you experience difficulty opening the document.

We want to know what you think, so that we can improve the translation. So, if you care to leave a comment or two about style, translation, etc that would be much appreciated.

If you wish to be added to our mailing list, reply to this e-mail and type “subscribe” in the body of the message.

Monday, 20 April 2009

The Greek Text Behind JCTP


It is probable that when the Jamaican Bible is published, Jamaicans will compare it with the Bible version they revere most – the Authorised Version (AV) also known as the King James Version (KJV). The careful listener/reader will notice several textual differences or variances between the translations. In my experience, lack of awareness of the issues involved in textual differences has led well-meaning persons to accuse most modern Bible translators of "taking away" (i.e. deleting words or alas, whole sections!) from the word of God and to warn them [translators] that "God will take away" their "share in the tree of life
and in the holy city" (Rev.22:19)!

This is a charge that must not be taken lightly; therefore our Translation Team needs to be able to respond to it appropriately. Seeing that, for the immediate future, the JCTP is concerned with the New Testament (NT), I shall limit our discussion to the text-form for the NT that BSWI has decided upon.

To illustrate a textual difference between the AV and the JB would look like, let's have a look at the Lukan Temptation Narrative - Luke 4:1-13. Of particular concern to us in this passage is v.4

First, let's parallelise the AV and JB translations of the verse:

AV: "And Jesus answered him, saying, 'It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.'"

JB: "Jiizas ansa, 'It rait dong iina Gad buk se, man kyaahn liv pan bred wan.'"

Have you noticed a major difference? I'm sure you have! It's the last phrase of the AV rendering – "but by every word of God."

The textual note of the standard Greek text, the United Bible Society's Greek New Testament in its 4th edition (GNT4), indicates that many of the Manuscripts (MSS) available to us, including A (D) Q Y (0102) ¦1, ¦13 33, complete the citation with avllV evpi. panti. r`h,mati qeou/ (all' epi panti rheÒmati theou, "but by every word of God"). The quoted text shared by both translations is: Ouvk evpV a;rtw mo,nw zh,setai o` a;nqrwpoj.

The NET Bible's textual note on the verse concludes: "The shorter reading, on both internal and external grounds, should be considered the original wording in Luke."

But, you might ask – and rightly so - if the adversative phrase is witnessed to by so many MSS, why, then, is it not included in the vast majority of modern translations, including the JB? Well, this is where the science (and art) of Textual Criticism has influenced Bible translators. In the view of most NT textual critics the shorter reading, found in a B L W 1241 syrs copsa, bo, is original and the longer reading is the handy work of copyists who had a tendency to assimilate texts. In the case Luke 4:4, scribes are believed to have assimilated the Matthean parallel (Matthew 4:4) which is a quotation of Deuteronomy 8:3 in the Septuagent, the Greek translation of the Old Testament which was widely used in the New Testament period.

I've brought up the issue for this very reason: most Jamaicans are unaware that the text-form underlying the AV is different from that which underlies most modern translations, including the JB!

So, what is the text-form of the AV and most modern translations of the Scriptures? Answer: It is known as the Textus Receptus (TR), a compilation of very few MSS that were copied by scribes no earlier than the 10th century. The TR it is also the underlying text of most translations until the 20th century. The textual basis of the JB and of most modern translations of the Bible is an Eclectic Greek Text (EGT) as is found in GNT4. The EGT is believed to be superior to the TR as it draws on thousands of NT MSS, some of which were in existence from as early as the 2nd century.

Whilst differences between the TR and GNT4 are many, it's worth being reminded that of the disparities are of little theological significance – i.e. "No major doctrine of the Christian faith is affected because of textual differences."


The JCTP's Translation Team does not seek to "take away" from God's word; rather, it endeavours to add nothing to Scripture that, based on its translator's best understanding today as to its original form, should not be there.


  1. Aland, B., Aland, K., etal The Greek New Testament 4th Ed (Stuttgart: German Bible Society, 2001)
  2. ------------------------------ Nouvum Testamentum Graece 27th Ed (Stuttgart: German Bible Society, 2001)
  3. Metzger, Bruce M., A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament ­2nd Ed (Stuttgart: German Bible Society, 1994)
  4. ----------------------- The Text of the New Testament – Its Transmission, Corruption and Restoration 2nd Ed (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967).
  5. Omanson, R., (ed) Discover the Bible – A Manual of Biblical Studies (Colombia: United Bible Societies, 2001)
  6. The Sea Island Translation Team in co-operation with Wycliffe Bible Translators, De Nyew Testament (New York: American Bible Society, 2005)
  7. Wegner, Paul D., The Journey from Texts to Translations – The Origin and Development of the Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999).

Jean Lowrie-Chin now Supports Jamaican Bible!

Dr Faith Linton has recruited a new supporter of a vernacular Bible for the Jamaican people. This time it's Jean Lowrie-Chin, a columnist of one of our leading newspapers, the Jamaican Observer.

Confesses Chin: "So logical and persuasive was she, that I completely changed my initial attitude towards the translation of the Bible into the Jamaican language....

"She describes the tears of older Jamaicans living abroad, when they heard chapters of the Bible being read in patois. And then the penny dropped. I recalled visiting Curaçao, that orderly country, where the citizens wrote and spoke at least three languages: Papiamento, Dutch and English. They speak their mother tongue proudly and with no apology. Giving currency to our mother tongue will, like the Genesis story, help us to accept ourselves as we truly are and lead to new behaviours."

To read Chin's column, follow this link...

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

The Easter Story in Jamaican Creole

The following are videos of the Lukan Passion Narrative produced by the Jamaican Language Unit in collabouration with the Bible Society of the West Indies. The text is taken from the 2nd draft of the Gospel of Luke into Jamaican Creole, and is read by a friend of mine, Joseph Farquharson.

I LOVE the illustrations, howevever, I would change the background music to something more local.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

JCTP: Some Questions & Answers

Below are some questions Vicky Spencer, a P.hD. Candidate student in the UK, posed to the General Secretary of the Bible Society of the West Indies, Rev'd Courtney Stewart, who, in turn, passed them on to me. My response is in red.

(1) Opposition
-Have you had much resistance in Jamaica or is there generally great support for the translations?

There has been much resistance for the translation here in Jamaica. However, when compared with previous announcements the BSWI’s plans to translate the Bible into Jamaican Creole (JC), it appears that the number of persons in support of such a venture is growing. One could postulate that the growth in support is not surprising seeing that Language Attitude Survey, 2005, revealed that a growing number of Jamaicans are becoming more comfortable at affirming their language.

(2) Questions about standardization of Patois

-The translation into Patois will surely help lead to a standardization of Patois in both spoken and written form. Is there already an ‘established’ form of Patois, or how uniform is Patois in Jamaica?

I’m not sure what is meant by “established.” Nonetheless, I presume you are referring to things such as an approved orthography, standard grammars, etc.

An orthography has been approved by the Jamaican Language Unit, UWI, and has been in use for many years. On the formal level grammars have been written but, unfortunately, for the benefit of academics. Seeing that JC is one of the most researched Creoles in the Caribbean, a linguist could draw on the various aspects of the language, which have been studied and produce grammars for popular usage.

The need remains for a dialect of JC to be chosen as “official.” Most likely, the most prestigious form will be chosen – the Kingston variety (or something close to it).

-What are the perceived effects of standardization on further spoken/ written Patois?

 Preservation and stabilisation of language
 Language development
 Further opportunities for systematic study
 Cultural preservation and enrichment
 Enhancing and sustaining a sense of identity and worth
 Facilitating literacy -information booklets, documenting traditional cultural knowledge...
 Change attitudes – towards language / language users…..justice

Do you expect Jamaicans to start writing and publishing works in the Patois and for it to become the language of education etc?

Yes! (P.S. I’m not sure everyone at BSWI shares this view.)

-Is there an existing wealth of Patois literature (songs/ poems) being used to Feed into the Bible translation or are the translators primarily working from Scratch? (if so please could you attach an example?)

I’m afraid I don’t understand the first question! But let me give it a try. JC is primarily an oral language, as such very little is available in terms of literature – in comparison to English, for example. However, at present more and more of our songs, poems and other genres are being written. Whilst JC has not enjoyed a long or robust life in terms of print media primary to now relatively speaking; audio media has helped in the preservation promotion of our language.

We are working from scratch in that no one has done a translation of the Bible into Jamaican Creole before. (However, had we a long or established literary tradition, we would have had to start our translation from scratch, if there were no previous translations of the Bible into JC.)

-How do you account for diversity in Patois between different communities and How this affects the standardization process?

We find reassurance in the fact that diversity exists in every language and that we are on a journey each “major” literary language has been on before! As I said before: “The need remains for a dialect of JC to be chosen as “official.” Most likely, the most prestigious form will be chosen – the Kingston variety (or something close to it).”

(3) Influence of the King James Bible

-How much do the translators want to echo what is in the English versions into Patois? I.e. Do certain phrases which are renown in the English translation Want to be preserved in Patois? Or is the idea to create a new Patois Bible Directly from the original Greek/ Hebrew without the influence of existing English translations?

(In the attached document, please see the information under the heading “Source Texts.”) Seeing that the issue of acceptability is very important to us, we cannot disregard English translations, particularly the version which Jamaicans revere most – the AV also known as the KJV.

The translators' goal is to produce a Jamaican translation of the Scriptures which is accurate, natural, comprehensible and acceptable; consequently, there will be no hesitation to depart from the syntax of New Testament Greek (or the AV for that matter), but if, on the other hand, it is possible to convey the meaning of the original naturally in Jamaican, by translating more or less literally, they will follow the word order and clause structure of the original (or an English translation, if necessary).

(4) Other general questions

-I was having an interesting discussion with my dissertation supervisor about How, or if, Rastafarian culture and their interpretation of the Bible has an Impact on Jamaican Patois? To what extent does their religious language Influence Patois and how the Bible Society counters that influence?

It is true that Rastafarians have demonstrated creativity in the way in which they invent words which reflect their own ideology and religion. Nonetheless, I’m not sure how much the “dialect” (???) of JC spoken by Rastafarians has affected the form spoken by Jamaicans on a whole.

Certainly, our translators will avoid words and expressions which are deemed distinctively “rasta.”

Thursday, 26 March 2009

The Wycliffe Bible

I came across this copy on Scribd earlier this afternoon. Oh, how the English language has changed!

The WYCLIFFE BIBLE (Official Translation) The WYCLIFFE BIBLE (Official Translation) xkaliberlord translation of the bible from John Wycliffe. The great document that brought many minds out of dark ages. Many souls where persecuted by the Roman Catholic Church for even touching the book that was the Bible... From Latin to a vernacular of common English the light was revealed to the average person

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

The Parable of the Good Samaritan in JC

Someone has attempted a translation of the parable of the "Good Samaritan" in Jamaican Creole and has posted it online. To read the parable, go here

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Presentation on BT & JCTP

Last Friday, I made a two hour summary presentation on Bible translation and the Jamaican Creole Translation Project at UWI to a group of students taking a module on Jamaican Creole.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Matyu 6:9-13

9 "Wi Faada we iina evn,
mek piipl av nof rispek fi yu an yu niem.
10 Mek di taim kom wen yu ruul iina evri wie.
Laad, mek we yu waahn fi apn pan ort apn,
jos laik ou a wa yu waahn fi apn iina evn apn.
11 Evri die, gi wi di fuud we wi niid.
12 Paadn wi fi aal a di rang we wi du,
siem laik ou wi paadn dem we du wi rang.
13 No mek wi fies notn we wi kaaz wi fi sin,
an protek wi fram di Wikid Wan.”

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Di Baibl Buorin, bra!

One of the primary concerns I've come across here in Jamaica esp. among young Christians is the issue of Scripture Use. How can the Bible be used in more interesting ways? Well, earlier this week I came across a fascinating website,

Given the prestige and value of the Authorised Version (King James Version) in the eyes of Jamaicans and our plan to publish an idiomatic translation of the Scriptures in Jamaican Creole, I could not help but read an interesting article by David L Payne - "On promoting vernacular Scriptures where a national language translation is venerated."

For this and similar cool resources/ideas on Scripture Use, visit Features Translation Organisations

The title of the article is "Good News for the 20th Century" and was posted on 28th January, 09.

The article's thesis statement is "Through Wycliffe Bible Translators, the Summer Institute of Linguistics, and the American Bible Society, Cameron Townsend and Eugene Nida changed the landscape of Bible translation."

The author, Sarah E Johnson, writes "In 1943, Cameron Townsend founded what has become the world's largest missionary organization, Wycliffe Bible Translators." Hmmm... I'm uncertain as to the validity of this claim. I think it's Youth With A Mission (YWAM) not WBT that's the world's largest missionary organisation. I need to confirm this....

To read Sarah's article, go ya so...

Predictive Texting in Jamaican Creole?

Have you ever used the predictive text (PT) feature of your mobile phone? Well if you didn't know, it is likely that your mobile can do predictive texting i.e. in the process of texting a message, your mobile can guess the words you are trying to enter into your text message and give you the option of selecting those words. The result: you make fewer keystrokes. To read more about PT visit, go ya so ...

The opportunity to make fewer keystrokes has also got health benefits! Not a few "mango seasons" ago, I watched Wellness Watch, a health presentation, on one of our local TV stations; the health issue featured was a hand illness (can't remember the name) which results from constant use of the hands – typing, sewing, grabbing, text messaging, etc.

I've just read an article in the Wall Street Journal which highlights the interesting fact that PT has economic as well as linguage benefits.

Naturally, this blog isn't as concerned with the economic advantages of PT as it is its language benefits - preservation and promotion! In fact, the title of the article suggests the author is also more interested in the linguistic side of things - "How the Lowly Text Message May Save Languages That Could Otherwise Fade."

Re: language preservation here's a quote, "Michael Cahill, linguistics coordinator for SIL International, says, "There are cases where texting is helping to preserve languages" by encouraging young people to write in their native tongue."

Re: language promotion here's a quote, ""It facilitates the Irish language as a communications tool for every day -- not just in the classroom."

I could not help but think that PT could also help to preserve and promote Jamaican Creole! In fact, I think it would be a very good means of promoting the Cassidy/LePage orthography, the spelling convention being used by the Jamaican Creole translation team.

To read the WSJ article, go ya so....

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Jamaican Bible better than Scots!

This article was written by Christopher Howse and published on the website of the British paper, the Telegraph, on 17th December, 08.

12 comments follow...

Read the article/comments here...

Here's another title I saw today "Nationalism influences Jamaicans to translate Bible into colorful native language of patois"!


Friday, 13 February 2009

A Great Jamaican Woman

Yesterday, 12th February, a Canadian "woman-centred" website,, published an article by Sierra Bacquie on a very respected Jamaican woman, Louise Bennett-Coverley, aka Miss Lou. The article, room for Miss Lou and subheaded Harbourfront’s living tribute to a cultural icon rightly argues that Miss Lou's "cultural significance lies in her commitment to telling the stories of everyday Jamaicans in their own language" (emphasis mine).

I've ofttimes wondered what Miss Lou would say about the Jamaican Creole Translation Project.

To read Sierra's article, go here....

Where Are We Now

Before the present translation team was in place, The Bible Society of the West Indies (BSWI) had already started work on an audio production of the Gospel of Luuk, called the Luuk Buk Project (LBP). BSWI hopes to have Luke in audio ready for release to the public soon. Therefore, the current translation team has been asked to incooperate the LBP into their workload.

For the last 10 weeks or so, the team has been making corrections to the 1st draft of Luke’s gospel, prepared by BSWI a number of years ago. This stage of the work is referred to as Team or Group Review. At this stage, the team gathers to check the first draft using other several Bible versions and exegetical resources, to make sure the translated text is faithful to the original message

In addition to checking for faithfulness to the original text, the team has been busy trying to make the translation as Jamaican as possible as the first draft is somewhat anglicised.

In order to improve the end result, the team is in need of your constructive criticism.

The revised draft of the first 11 chapters of Luuk Buk is located online. Click here to see draft.

If you have any suggestions to improve the end result, subject to the methodology criteria outlined below, please use the 'Translation Suggestions' document in the folder 'JCTP_Translation_Suggestions' in the archive, and please e-mail your suggestions to -

Thursday, 12 February 2009

A Jesus Film of Colour!

There are a number of things in life that make me cringe; one such thing are pictures of a long-haired, blue-eyed white Jesus in a Christian home, school, or place of worship in Jamaica.

I’ve got great respect of the producers of the most watched film in history, the Jesus Film, but I think the ethnic hue of the cast continues strengthen the perception that whiteness is superior.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT anti-white, in fact, some of my best friends are white – externally and internally – and, on a whole, I’ve felt more accepted by them for my blackness than I have by my fellow country folk! Also, I’m not against pictures of a Caucasian Jesus as such, neither am I convinced that the vast majority of pictures (for any for that matter!) of a white Jesus present in Jamaica have been disseminated by white supremacists. Nonetheless, given the historical treatment of blacks by white Europe and how that legacy has affected our psychology of blackness and whiteness, I think it’s counterproductive to have towering pictures of a White Messiah hung in our various institutions.

Now, I don’t believe that the Lord Jesus Christ IS (after all, he has not abandoned his humanity [1Tim 2:5]) a negro, nonetheless I don’t think he is Caucasian either! I think he's a person of colour. (A number of whites have expressed horror and disbelief when they hear me say Jesus isn’t white!) To many blacks the white image continues to represent white superiority and the view that whites are the font of all good including salvation, and therefore they [blacks] are the eternal beneficiaries of a White Messiah.

Given 1) my conviction that Jesus is a man of colour (though not a negro) and that 2) art needn’t be a depiction of historical reality [and no drawing of Jesus would be correct in the sense for no one today knows exactly what he looked like] but can be metaphorical, in our context, I think it’s both right and good to make representations of our Lord that reflect our reality – say a picture of a strong black man with the physical characteristics of negroes – dark skin, thick lips, woolly hair, flat broad nose.... Pictures of this sort could represent certain characteristics of our Lord such as strength, power, endurance, etc....

It’s time for black people to do their drawings and make their own movies of Jesus - and other Biblical characters.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Radio Neatherlands Features Jamaican Project

Around mid-December, 08, I was contacted by Johan van Slooten of Radio Netherlands Worldwide re: the Jamaican Creole Translation Project.

On Monday (Dec 22), I was interviewed by Johan. He’s quoted some of what I said in his report on the paper’s website.

Now, I cannot recall saying some of the things I’ve been quoted as saying, particularly that Jamaican Creole is of “‘street' origins.” Nou unu si mi daiyin chaiyalz! A siem wie so im rait pan waa nex sait niem laBibliaweb se: “According to the Project coordinator of the Jamaican Creole Translation Society, Bertram Gayle, is important for Jamaicans to be able to read the stories of Christmas….” Riid? A no mi – mi kuda wehn neva se “riid”! Read the entire article here.

Now back to the Radio Netherlands article. Re: the importance of Jamaican Creole, van Slooten writes “universities in the UK are teaching Patois and the Jamaican parliament passed a bill in 2007 that sees that state documents be published in Patois as well as in English.” Fram a baan! I’m only aware of one UK university that has embarked on the venture and I’m not sure where the information in the latter part of the sentence came from – bot a no fram mi bwai.

To read the Radio Netherlands article, please go here

Patois Bible Delay

BY LUKE DOUGLAS Observer writer
Saturday, January 17, 2009

The first audio book of the Bible translated in the Jamaican native language is expected to be ready by April, a delay of about four months from its original schedule.

"The patois version of St Luke's gospel was supposed to be ready last December, but a substantial revision of an earlier draft has pushed the production back by a few months, Rev Courtney Stewart, general manager of the Bible Society of the West Indies, told the Observer...

Read more here

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Jamaican Translation Project featured by Oneverse

Oneverse, a programme of one of our primary financial supporters, The Seed Company (TSC), has posted a PDF file of their December, 08, Project Update online. The update features the Jamaican Creole Translation Project.

To read the update, go here...

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

The "Lord's Prayer" in Jamaican Creole

Ten months ago - just before I took the Translation Course in the UK - I made a priliminary translation of Luke 1:1-13, recorded myself reciting the text and posted it on YouTube! I'm at a loss as to why I'm just getting around to posting the video on my blog. Well, here it is: