Anglican missions have not always been at the forefront of Bible translation. The first meeting of the Church Missionary Society in 1799, for instance, discussed the feasibility of Chinese translation, but the project never gained traction.
A notable exception is the work of the South American Missionary Society, which merged with CMS in 2010. One of its workers, Bob Lunt, has just completed a Wichi-Spanish dictionary to serve 50,000 people in parts of Argentina and Bolivia.
The dictionary is the culmination of 40 years of language work and supplements a Wichi Bible translation first published in 2002. It provides a boost to literacy work in the Mataco-Mataguayan language family. A ceremony at Museo Güemes in Salta, Argentina, marked the dictionary’s publication.
Lunt said that work on the dictionary began in 1977 as a word list on index cards. The dictionary is published by Sociedad Bíblica Argentina (Argentine Bible Society), which also published the Wichi Bible. The dictionary has a long list of contributors.
“The aim of the project was to provide a corpus of words for the translation of the Wichi Bible and then, as this corpus grew, to provide a comprehensive listing of the rich vocabulary of the Wichi language, especially that of its northern and southwestern areas,” Lunt said.
Lunt is now collaborating on a project to revise and publish a Wichi grammar he wrote in 1999.
Adapted from Church Mission Society