Northern Translation Brief 30Jan2024

Our Dear Partners,

In the early spring of 2019, the Naskapi church and community celebrated the publication and dedication of the book of Psalms in the Naskapi language. It was printed in regular and large-print sizes, in paperback and hardcover. You can read the story about that celebration in our Northern Translation Brief at this link.

CJCK Naskapi “Northern Wind” Radio Station at Kawawachikamach

At the local Naskapi language radio station, for years there has been a regular program of Naskapi language Bible readings broadcast in the community. It began with readings from the book of Genesis in 2004 by the late elder Joseph Guanish. When the Naskapi New Testament was published in 2007, we were completing the collection of Gospels and Epistles, and releasing these for radio airplay as they were finished. The collection of radio programs included the entire New Testament by 2008.

Last year, when the Naskapi book of Exodus was published, all of the Exodus radio programs were also completed and released simultaneously at the Exodus dedication. But the audio recording of the Psalms, the longest book* in the Bible, was still a work in progress.

The book of Psalms
150 chapters
2461 verses
20,225 words (in Naskapi)
395 minutes (of reading in Naskapi, or about 6-1/2 hours)

* In the Hebrew Bible, Jeremiah and Genesis have a slightly greater number of words than the Psalms, but Psalms has, by far, the most verses and chapters. In any case, it’s a substantial work however you count it.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Silas Nabinicaboo, one of the Naskapi translators, worked with me over Zoom and we devised a method of producing a good quality digital recording of the reading of the scriptures. In March of 2021, Silas began to record the book of Psalms, starting with Psalm 1. He was able to complete several chapters at a sitting, when they were short ones.

By August 2021, we celebrated Silas completing the recording of Psalm 75, halfway through.

By October 2021, Silas completed the “raw” recording of the entire book of Psalms: this took about 9 months altogether.

Recording Psalms with Silas over Zoom

A “raw” original recording is what you get when you read into a recorder. If the phone rings, or there’s a knock at the door, all of these things get recorded. If you cough, or stutter or mispronounce inadvertently, all of these sounds are recorded as well. So the recording goes through a careful editing process, during which we listen to each chapter, and compare what is heard on the recording with the words that are actually on the translated page. We “edit” the sounds by removing all the noises, corrections and false starts. Silas is a good reader, and he very faithfully would repeat a phrase or a line or an entire verse in the “raw” recording until he got it right.

I began to edit the audio files for the book of Psalms as soon as Silas had completed the first chapter, in March of 2021. But his recording progress outpaced my editing work.

By August 2021, I had completed the editing and mastering for the first 25 Psalms, and these were delivered to Naskapi Radio for airplay as two 30-minute radio programs.

By January 2022, I had finished two more radio programs, which included all the Psalms up to Psalm 44.

Fitting in the audio editing and mastering tasks in between other language project work and responsibilities, I was able to complete the Naskapi Psalms radio programs up through Psalm 93 by January of 2023.

And now (January 2024), I completed the rest of the book, finishing the audio for all 150 Psalms in Naskapi, presented in 15 separate 30-minute radio programs.

Besides being played on-air on the local Naskapi radio station, all of the Naskapi Bible reading episodes are available to download on the Internet and played as “podcasts” on people’s phones, tablets and computers. The link is shared on the Naskapi Radio Facebook page, but if you care to have a listen yourself, you can click this link for the whole collection.

Video tutorial for Scripture audio editing and mastering

It is our usual practice to train others to gain the skills and capacity to do the technical language-project related work. In that spirit, I have created a YouTube “How To” video to help train other Naskapi speakers to do the audio editing process and prepare Scripture radio programs and podcasts. You can sample this video yourself at this link.

Thank you for celebrating this milestone of the Naskapi language having access to the entire book of Psalms read aloud in their language. Thank you for praying for us, as we note this answer to your prayers, with the book of Psalms joining the growing collection of the Scriptures accessible in Naskapi, along with the New Testament, Genesis and Exodus.

Please continue to pray for us and our ongoing work with the Naskapi team, working on:

  • Consultant-checking the book of Judges
  • First Draft on the book of 1 Kings
  • Second edition revision of the Naskapi Dictionary
  • Ongoing capacity-building, curriculum development and Naskapi literacy and teacher-training

Serving with you,
Bill and Norma Jean Jancewicz

Northern Translation Brief: 01Dec2023

Lectionary “Year B” starts Sunday December 3!

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! And that means that Advent is here. Advent is the countdown to Christmas and is also the beginning of the Bible readings through the year found in the lectionary.

A lectionary is a collection of Bible readings to be read to the faithful during the worship of God. Lectionaries have been used since the fourth century, when major churches arranged the Scripture readings according to a schedule that follows the calendar of the year. This practice of assigning particular readings to each Sunday and Holy Day has continued through the history of the Christian Church.

Since the 1990s, the Naskapi translation team has been working with St. John’s Church in Kawawachikamach, on the selection, translation and production of lectionary readings in the form of a printed Sunday “church bulletin” of Scripture. We were guided by the Revised Common Lectionary, which is the pattern used by the Anglican Church of Canada and many other denominations around the world.

The translators worked hard each week for several years to provide weekly printed copies of the Scripture for the congregation

Back in 2010, it was decided that it would be far more practical to produce a book that contained all the readings for an entire year. Even though most of the translation and checking was done, it was still a big job to collect all the readings for an entire year into a book. But this was finally completed and the first book (Year A) was dedicated on Sunday, April 17th 2011.

Rev. Martha Spence and Deacon Silas Nabinicaboo at the dedication of the Naskapi Lectionary in 2011

Since the Revised Common Lectionary provides Scripture readings spread out over a three-year cycle, during the next three years we worked on the production of all three books: Year A (liturgical year 2010-2011) Year B (liturgical year 2011-2012) and Year C (liturgical year 2012-2013).

Year A (blue book) Year B (red book) Year C (green book)

Of course, when Year A rolled around again during Advent of 2013, more copies of the blue Year A books were prepared, and the cycle repeated.

As the years went by, the Naskapi translation team continued to work on their long-term translation goals: the book of Genesis was published in 2013, and translation proceeded on other Old Testament books. During the spring of 2019, the book of Psalms was published in Naskapi and dedicated alongside the “Book of Bible Promises“, a topical collection of Scripture readings in Naskapi. Then in 2023 the Naskapi community dedicated the book of Exodus in Naskapi.

Through the years, these books of the Bible have been published in Naskapi so far

Remember that the lectionary readings for each week contain a passage from the Old Testament, a reading from the Psalms, a portion of the Epistles, and a section of the Gospels. A year of lectionary readings contains hundreds of verses from all different parts of the Bible.

As usually happens in the course of our ongoing translation work and checking, many of the readings contained in the lectionary are sometimes corrected to make their spelling more consistent, or revised somewhat to make the meaning more clear or natural. These corrections needed to make their way into a new edition of the books.

So in 2019, we completely updated the book of readings for Year A, liturgical year 2019-2020, beginning with the First Sunday of Advent, on December 1, 2019. Year B and Year C followed along in 2020, and 2021. In 2022 we repeated the cycle again with the new revised versions.

The format of the new book is very similar to the previous books, but every Scripture passage has been updated to its current corrected form. We have also updated the accompanying index and calendar, and included simple instructions to locate the readings for any Sunday in the year.These new Lectionary revisions also feature an updated cover design:

New Lectionary revisions, books A (blue), B (red) and C (green), published in 2019, 2020 and 2021

So this year, December 2023, we are moving on to Year B, the Red book.

First Sunday of Advent, December 3, 2023

Naskapi community members can find copies of the books at the Naskapi Development Corporation bookstore. Or, anyone can order them online at these links:

Naskapi Lectionary Year A (last year)

Naskapi Lectionary Year B (this year)

Naskapi Lectionary Year C (next year)

Serving you with joy,

Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz

December 2023–use the Red Book, “Year B”



Northern Translation Brief: 2023 First Nations Translator Workshop

Our Dear Partners

We are so grateful for your prayers for a successful First Nations Translator Workshop that was held in Guelph, Ontario on November 5-10, 2023. God has answered your prayers in wonderful and encouraging ways! This was our seventh such workshop since the first one in 2015, and the second workshop since the beginning of the pandemic.

God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.” –Job 37:5

We are so grateful for your prayers for all of us and the details surrounding this workshop. We did face many challenges, but we are certain that your prayers for us and God’s provision and help worked together to make it a success that brought Glory to God.

What kind of challenges? It seemed that from the week prior to the workshop we were receiving messages every day of things that seemed to work counter to our best-laid plans and hopes.
  • One of our staff families needed to stay behind in their language community.
  • Due to a suicide in one of the First Nations communities, the entire translation team of 5 intended participants from that language group stayed behind to support their fellow community members.
  • The staff member who serves that language community was released to stay home to provide support to his own family and the translation team.
  • This resulted in another staff member to keep his family at home.
  • This resulted in a volunteer childcare worker to step down and not come.
  • Two intended participants from the Blackfoot language group had to cancel for personal and family reasons three days before the workshop.
  • One of the workshop speakers, the National Indigenous Bishop, contracted Covid and had to cancel his attendance two days before the workshop.
  • The son of one of the Naskapi translation team members was seriously injured and hospitalized the day before the workshop, so that team member had to cancel to stay with her son.
  • Another teaching staff member’s brother-in-law passed away the first day of the workshop, and we had to re-arrange the schedule to accomodate this.
  • Another teaching staff member’s air travel was disrupted on the way to the workshop causing a delay and a late night arrival, and missing baggage.
Some of these challenges seem rather minor, but others are quite serious and life-altering for some of the staff and participants. But all of them together put us on our knees in humility before God.
Yet, God in His mercy and for His glory accomplished great things for the staff and participants who were able to come to this workshop, and He continues to work in and through the lives of those who were unable to come because of their own challenges.

Workshop Participants

The Naskapi language community sent eight participants this year, although one of them, Elder Alma Chemaganish, had to remain behind at the last minute because her son was hospitalized.
Silas and Susan Nabinicaboo

Silas and Susan Nabinicaboo

Silas, although he has official “retired” from his position as full-time translator with the Naskapi Development Corporation (NDC), continues to contribute to the Naskapi Bible translation program every week, doing first-draft or back-translation of Old Testament books. He also serves as deacon in the Naskapi church. His wife Susan, even though the previous week had to undergo surgery for cancer, was released by her doctor to travel to the workshop with Silas. She serves the Naskapi church as lay-reader, and attended the workshop representing the local church.

George Guanish

George Guanish

George Guanish was one of the first Bible Translators for the Naskapi project, starting back in the 1990s. George is the senior translator now for the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach.

Maggie Mokoush-Swappie, Robert Swappie, Marianne Mameanskum, and Ruby Sandy-Robinson

Maggie Mokoush-Swappie, Robert Swappie, Marianne Mameanskum, Ruby Sandy-Robinson

The rest of the Naskapi-speaking team included NDC board member Maggie Mokoush-Swappie, Naskapi church lay-reader Robert Swappie, NDC Cultural Development Officer Marianne Mameamskum, and NDC Administrative Director (retired) Ruby Sandy-Robinson. Marianne now takes the leadership role for the Naskapi language and culture department, working on Bible Translation and the other core language and culture projects in the community. Ruby, since her retirement, has been very active in assisting with the Bible Translation checking and also reviewing the Naskapi dictionary with over a Zoom connection every week.

During this workshop, the entire Naskapi team met to make plans for completing the rest of the Bible in Naskapi, as well as ways to work together with the other Naskapi community organizations for language development going forward.

This was the first time that Blackfoot-speaking participants were able to come to the workshop. They had originally registered 9 participants, representing two of the three different Blackfoot-speaking communities:

Piikani, Siksika, and Kainai (Blood Tribe) members of the Blackfoot Confederacy Treaty 7 Territories have all joined together for the translation work.

(Members from Piikani were not able to attend but will continue to be involved in the translation work.)

Vincent, Jaquie, Rosie Jane, Sylvia, Ramonda, Myrna, and Larry

The Blackfoot translation team included the following persons;

Sylvia Tailfeathers, Treaty 7 Territory, Kainai
Myrna Stevens, Treaty 7 Territory, Siksiká
Raymonda Waterchief, Treaty 7 Territory, Siksiká
Rosie Jane Tailfeathers, Treaty 7 Territory, Kainai
Larry Waterchief, Treaty 7 Territory, Siksiká
Vincent Yellow Old Woman, Treaty 7 Territory, Siksiká
These six were facilitated and coordinated by Indigenous Anglican archdeacon
Venerable Jacqui Durand, Treaty 7 Territory, Metis/Cree.

Workshop Teaching Staff

We are so grateful for the partnership and assistance from the Canadian Bible Society (CBS) in conducting this workshop. We were joined by Dr. Jeff Green, CBS Vice President, Bible Translation and his colleague Ben Wukasch, CBS Translation Officer for teaching sessions through the week.

Jeff Green presenting to the workshop

Ben demonstrated resources to help with exegesis of the source text, that helped to prepare the participants to do translation.

Ben working with the Blackfoot team

Dan Grove, Wycliffe Canada Field Project Liaison, Meg Billingsley, SIL Americas Area Translation Consultant, and Alice Reed, SIL Translation Consultant-in-Training, Global Consultant Pool helped by facilitating multiple sessions through the week.

Dan Grove leading one of the early workshop sessions

Meg Billingsley describing methods of internalization of the source text

Alice Reed describing the qualities of a good translation

Tom Scott, SIL project co-facilitator for Oji-Cree and Ruth Heeg, CBS Translation Consultant (retired) also contributed to the workshop as instructors and mentors.

Tom Scott working with the Naskapi team

Ruth Heeg leading the session about back-translations

We are so grateful to the workshop teaching staff for not only guiding the participants through the workshop sessions, but also for carefully crafting the workshop curriculum to suit the translation learning needs of the participants.

Workshop Curriculum

To best meet the needs of the participants, the teaching staff planned a curriculum framework based on the steps required for bringing the translation of a portion of scripture to completion. This is called “project-based learning”, and involves a series of guided “hands-on” sessions during which the participants accomplish each step in their own languages. On the first day of the workshop, the participants began with the first steps working on the first seven verses of the Gospel of Luke.

The teaching sessions through the week were arranged so that the participants could learn and then practice each of the steps necessary to bring the translation of this short passage of scripture to completion.

All of the participants indicated that the workshop was useful to them and they all made plans to bring the things that they learned back to their communities and continue to make translation of the scriptures into their own languages a priority.

Alice Reed leading a session on “Translator Self-Narrative”

During the many discussions and interaction between the staff and participants through the workshop, the question of “why we do what we do” came up. One of the Blackfoot participants, Larry Waterchief, said that he wanted to be involved in translating the Bible into Blackfoot “Because I love Jesus. It’s as simple as that”.

Others shared that they enjoyed getting to know the other participants, and doing the actual work on their own translations rather than simply listening to instructions. Several indicated that coming to this workshop filled them with peace and comfort, and they felt the love and respect of others.

Thank you again for remembering to pray for these participants and the language communities that they represent, and that their vision and hope for Bible translation in their own languages would become a reality.

Serving with you, Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz

That’s the end of the report, but we thought we would share a few more pictures if you have the time to scroll further down.

Tom & Bethany Scott with their youngest daughter Anna, and Meg Billingsley

Alice Reed and Jeff Green work with the Blackfoot team

Norma Jean–Workshop Coordinator: Everything behind the scenes

Sharing delicious meals every day in the dining room

Breakfast with the Naskapi team

Ven. Jacqui Durand leading Gospel-Based Discipleship

Relaxing in the lounge at the end of a busy day

Vincent sharing his testimony during morning devotions

Bill with a helping hand for Marianne

Martin Reed sharing about Wycliffe’s Indigenous Church Relations

Ben Wukasch from the Bible Society leads a session on exegetical resources

Meg Billingsley leads a session on internalization

Kevin Schlechter from the Canadian Bible Society describes resources and support to the participants

Participants with their certificates on the final day




Northern Translation Brief: 2023 Translator Workshop Staff

Workshop Staff (10)

Bill Jancewicz, (staff) coordinator/instructor, SIL AmArea
Norma Jean Jancewicz, (staff) coordinator/facilitator, SIL AmArea
Meg Billingsley, (staff) SIL consultant, instructor, SIL AmArea
Dan Grove, (staff) WBTC Project Liaison, Wycliffe Canada
Alice Reed, (staff), SIL Global Consultant Pool, instructor
Martin Reed, (guest) staff spouse, Wycliffe Canada
Grace Reed (age 5), (staff child)
Kai Reed (age 3), (staff child)
Jeff Green, (staff) instructor, CBS Director, Scripture Translation, Canadian Bible Society
Ben Wukasch, (staff) instructor, CBS translation consultant, Canadian Bible Society
Ruth Heeg, (staff) consultant, instructor, CBS (retired)
Tom Scott, (staff) instructor, Wycliffe Canada
Bethany Scott, (guest) staff spouse
Anna Scott (age 1), (staff child)
Julia Liu, (staff) Childcare volunteer, West Houston Chinese Church
Paulo Liu, (guest) Childcare volunteer spouse
Tabitha Liu (age 7) , (staff child)
Jayden Liu (age 5), (staff child)
Guests and observers (11)
Colleen Boyd , SIL AmArea North Language Services Coordinator, SIL AmArea
Carletta Lahn , SIL AmArea North Scripture Access Services Team Leader, SIL AmArea
Chris Pierson , SIL AmArea Staff Development – Associate Team Leader, SIL AmArea
Tom Woodward , SIL AmArea North Regional Director, SIL AmArea
Martin Reed, Wycliffe Canada Indigenous Partnerships
Chris Harper, National Indigenous Bishop, Anglican Church of Canada (TUESDAY)
Kevin Schlechter, CBS regional director, Canadian Bible Society (WEDNESDAY)
Gyoojun Lee, Wycliffe Chinese Diaspora Engagement Advisor, Wycliffe Canada
Anna Sklar, Prayer Ministries Communication Coordinator, Wycliffe Canada
Bill Gardner, East Asia Group IT Manager, SIL; retired professor, University of Guelph
Gord & Janice Sisler, donors and friends (WEDNESDAY)
(Some of the staff and some of the guests will only be with us for part of the week, most for just part of a day).

Thank you for remembering these during the workshop. Pray for their families back home, for their travels and health, and for God’s work in their lives.

November 5, 2023 Guelph, Ontario

Northern Translation Brief: 2023 Translator Workshop Participants

Workshop Participants / First Nations translators (17)

Sylvia Tailfeathers, Blackfoot Confederacy Treaty 7 Territory, Kainai
Myrna Stevens, Blackfoot Confederacy Treaty 7 Territory, Siksiká
Raymonda Waterchief, Blackfoot Confederacy Treaty 7 Territory, Siksiká
Angie Ayoungman, Blackfoot Confederacy Treaty 7 Territory, Siksiká
Rosie Jane Tailfeathers, Blackfoot Confederacy Treaty 7 Territory, Kainai
Marlene Big Sorrel Horse, Blackfoot Confederacy Treaty 7 Territory, Kainai
Larry Waterchief, Blackfoot Confederacy Treaty 7 Territory, Siksiká
Vincent Yellow Old Woman, Blackfoot Confederacy Treaty 7 Territory, Siksiká
Venerable Jacqui Durand, Treaty 7 Territory, Metis/Cree
Ruby Sandy-Robinson, Kawawachikamach, Naskapi
Alma Chemaganish, Kawawachikamach, Naskapi
Marianne M. Chescappio , Kawawachikamach, Naskapi
Maggie Mokoush Swappie , Kawawachikamach, Naskapi
Silas Nabinicaboo , Kawawachikamach, Naskapi
Susan Nabinicaboo , Kawawachikamach, Naskapi
Robert Swappie, Kawawachikamach, Naskapi
George Guanish, Kawawachikamach, Naskapi

Thank you for remembering these during the workshop. Pray for their families back home, for their travels and health, and for God’s work in their lives.

November 5, 2023 Guelph, Ontario

Northern Translation Brief: Dedication of Naskapi Exodus

Our Dear Partners,

The book of Exodus in the Naskapi language was launched and dedicated to the glory of God in the community of Kawawachikamach in northern Quebec on Sunday, September 24, 2023 in the morning church service at St. John’s Church.

Naskapi Translation Committee–1996
(Back Row) George Guanish, Peter Einish, Isaac Einish, Jimmy-James Einish,
Philip Einish, Silas Nabinicaboo.
(Front Row) Alma Chemagansh, Mary Mokoush, Sampson Einish, Bill Jancewicz

Story of the Naskapi Exodus Translation Project

After beginning with a new Naskapi translation of stories of the Life of Jesus in the early 1990s, training was provided to several Naskapi persons interested in Bible Translation and Naskapi language development. Peter Einish was one of the young Naskapi men who received this training at this time. He was encouraged by the local Anglican rector, Father David Phillips, who was serving in the Naskapi community. As a team, Father David worked with Peter to help him to begin translating the book of Exodus in 1997. His colleague Silas was already working with Bill on the book of Genesis by this time.

Peter and Father David were able to complete the first half of the book of Exodus by the time Father David transferred to another parish in 1999.

Naskapi Elders reviewing the draft of their New Testament in 2005

In the early 2000s, it was decided to shift translation priorities to work on the Sunday Lectionary Readings and the Naskapi New Testament. So the Old Testament projects of Genesis and Exodus were put on the shelf for about a decade, until the Naskapi New Testament was published and distributed in the community in September 2007.

Naskapi children and lay-reader Minnie Mameanskum at the New Testament dedication in 2007

After the New Testament was dedicated, we turned our attention back to the Old Testament books that were started in the 1990s. The translation and checking of the book of Genesis was completed in 2012, mainly by Naskapi translator Silas Nabinicaboo and elder Joseph Guanish.

The late elder Joseph Guanish with his large-print copy of the book of Genesis at the dedication in 2013

While Genesis was being completed, it was decided to resume work on Exodus. In 2010, Tshiueten Vachon, a grandson of Joseph Guanish, began work revising what Peter had translated in the 1990s. Tshiueten was also enrolled in the Naskapi-McGill teacher training program, in which he received grammar-based Naskapi language training, and formed the core of a new generation of Naskapi translators.

Tshiueten at work in 2015

Tshiueten completed the remaining half of the book of Exodus, and it was ready to be checked by a translation consultant in 2016. Our friend and co-worker Watson Williams, who had served the Naskapi team as translation consultant for the New Testament, returned to Kawawachikamach and worked with the translation team to ensure the textual accuracy of the translation.

Silas, Tshiueten, and Watson working through the consultant-check of the book of Exodus at Kawawa in 2016

The translation of the Sunday Lectionary Bible readings was an important project during this period, and the readings each week included selections from the Psalms. Silas and Joe worked through this longest book in the Bible, using legacy translations from the Cree language prayer books as one of their primary source texts. When interns Alice and Martin Reed served in the Naskapi community prior to their first field assignment in Cree, they assisted the translation team in bringing the book of Psalms to completion.

The Naskapi book of Psalms was dedicated in March of 2019

As a result of the Exodus consultant check in 2016, there remained some additional things to do to make the translation more clear, accurate and natural. Silas stepped in to help with the revision of Exodus, doing two complete read-throughs of the whole book in 2018 and 2022. Then, checking copies of the book were reviewed by several elders, including Alma Sandy, Alma Chemaganish, and David and Susan Swappie. After their suggestions and corrections were made, the Canadian Bible Society was invited to publish the book for the Naskapi community. They completed the typesetting in early 2023.

Meanwhile, Bill and Silas completed the sound recording and audio mastering for all forty chapters of the Exodus to accompany the printed text

When the Exodus books were ordered, printed, and delivered to Kawawa in July of 2023, the Naskapi Development Corporation and St. John’s Church in Kawawa began to make plans for a service of celebration and dedication in the community. The date agreed upon was Sunday, September 24, 2023. Our son Benjamin was also in the community at that time to do some graphic design and social media contract work for the Naskapi Nation. He attended the dedication services and took some beautiful pictures to share. Thank you for taking the time to scroll through them!

Besides the 6″ x 9″ paperback edition published by the Canadian Bible Society, the Naskapi Development Corporation also published hardcover presentation editions and large print format editions. All book formats and sizes are available to purchase on the internet as well as in-person at the Naskapi Development Corporation offices in Kawawachikamach.

Large print and regular size

All sizes, binding and covers

With the publication and dedication of the book of Exodus in Naskapi, this makes four publications available in the hands and hearts of the Naskapi people: The New Testament, Genesis, Psalms, and now, Exodus.

The Naskapi team continues to make steady progress on these other Old Testament books: Judges, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Esther, Ruth, Jonah, Job, Daniel, First & Second Samuel, First & Second Kings.

Naskapi scripture publication so far

Besides the availability of the print edition, an audio version of the entire book of Exodus is now being played regularly on Naskapi Radio, and is also available for public download for personal listening as a podcast. In addition, it is available for streaming on Bible reading apps and websites such as YouVersion and Scripture Earth. (YouVersion read and listen online) (Scripture Earth read and listen online)

Join us in praise and prayers:

  • For the successful completion, publication and dedication service of the Book of Exodus in Naskapi.
  • For the years of faithful work by so many members of the Naskapi translation team that brought this about.
  • Pray for our ongoing work with the Naskapi team as they continue their work on the subsequent Naskapi Old Testament translation projects
  • Pray for us as we continue our way through the rest of audio for the Book of Psalms in Naskapi.

And remember to pray with us for the upcoming First Nations Bible Translator Workshop that we are helping to coordinate, in Guelph Ontario, November 5-10, 2023. Pray that the participants (including the Naskapi team) will be able to come, that the workshop staff and guests will be able to help them with their confidence and capacity to translate the Word of God into their own language.

Serving with you,
Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz

Northern Translation Brief 24Aug2023

Our Dear Partners,

One of the long-term Old Testament Bible translation goals for the Naskapi language project has been the publication of the book of Exodus in Naskapi. We want to report with gratitude and praise to God that this goal has been reached. The Canadian Bible Society completed the publication of these books, and 300 copies of this book were delivered to the Naskapi community last week!

It was in early July of 2023 that the text was approved to “go to press”, and books were ordered, printed, and then shipped to Kawawachikamach, Quebec on July 27, and received there the second week of August. Last week Marianne Chescappio (the Cultural Development Officer for the Naskapi Development Corporation) and Mannie Mameanskum (administrative assistant) opened the boxes and conducted an inventory.

Hardcover and Large Print presentation editions of Exodus

Besides the 300 standard size (6″ x 9″ paperback) Exodus books that were printed by the Bible Society, the Naskapi Development Corporation has also prepared and received several large-print (8-1/2″ x 11″) editions of the book, along with cloth-bound, hardcover presentation copies. These will be distributed to Naskapi elders during the community dedication ceremonies that are being planned for a later date.

Hardcover and Large Print editions of Exodus

The Naskapi Development Corporation sponsored the translation and checking of the book of Exodus since February of 1997, when we worked with the local minister at the Naskapi church to start a new project that would complement the work that we had already begun on the book of Genesis during the previous year. Peter Einish was the first Naskapi translator who was trained and mentored to work on the first draft. He was followed by Tshiueten Vachon who completed the text and performed a revision starting in 2010. When the translation was completed the text was consultant-checked in 2016. Community checking and another revision was completed by Silas Nabinicaboo and the translation team between 2018 and 2022. After that was done, the text went to the Bible Society for typesetting.

In spite of delays over the years–sometimes the lack of availability of personnel or work on other projects interrupted progress on the book–this has always been a goal that the Naskapi team has been determined to complete.

Thank you for your prayers for Naskapi Bible Translation through the years that have been answered in the completion of this goal.

Through the years, these scriptures have been published in Naskapi so far

The book of Exodus in Naskapi adds to the other books of scripture that have translated into Naskapi and published: Naskapi New Testament (2007), Naskapi Genesis (2012), Naskapi Psalms (2019). These are all also accessible online on the YouVersion Bible app.

Join us in praise, thanksgiving and prayers:

  • For the successful completion, publication and delivery of the book of Exodus in Naskapi.
  • For the years of faithful work by so many members of the Naskapi translation team that brought this about.
  • Pray for Marianne and the language team at the Naskapi Development Corporation and the local Naskapi church and community, as they make plans for an appropriate celebration and dedication of these scriptures.
  • Pray for our ongoing work with the Naskapi team as they continue on these and subsequent Old Testament translation projects: the books of Judges (being consultant-checked), the books of Deuteronomy, Joshua, Esther, Ruth, Jonah, Job and Daniel (being team-checked), the books of First and Second Samuel (in first-draft translation).
  • Pray for our plans for another First Nations Translator Workshop to be held in Guelph, Ontario this coming November.

Serving with you,
Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz

Northern Translation Brief 14Jan2023

Our Dear Partners,

We are grateful for your interest in the Lord’s work through us and your prayers for us. We are excited to share with you some good news about some recent developments in God at work in Bible Translation for First Nations communities in Canada.

The Naskapi Development Corporation Head Office in Kawawachikamach

In a Northern Translation Brief more than two years ago now, we shared with you some of the challenges that the Naskapi Translation Project was facing as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold: Since 2020, there have been no full time language workersat the Naskapi Development Corporation, the local agency that sponsors the Naskapi project.

Here’s a link to that story: [Northern Translation Brief 11Sep2020].

You may also recall that a dozen years ago, I (Bill) had the privilege of teaching four units of a Naskapi reading and writing course to Naskapi speakers enrolled in the Naskapi-McGill University Teacher Training program. We wrote about that experience back then and you can read about it by clicking this link: [Naskapi-McGill Class].

This fall, the Naskapi Development Corporation leadership decided to make a fresh start in rebuilding their language and culture department. They began by creating a new professional-level position that they called the “NDC Cultural Development Officer”, and invited me to assist them in recruiting, hiring and training a local Naskapi speaker to fill this position.

To come right to the point, after conducting interviews with candidates in November, the NDC hired Marianne Chescappio to this role, and this January she began her training and mentorship under my guidance. She begins her second full week on the job at NDC this Monday.

Marianne taking classes with the first Naskapi-McGill cohort in 2013

Since graduating from the Naskapi-McGill program in 2014, Marianne has served as a family and youth wellness counselor for the Naskapi Nation, and more recently as a counselor at the Naskapi community women’s shelter. She already has a heart of service for her community, language and culture.

Each morning these days, Marianne meets with me over Zoom to learn about and work with the various Naskapi language projects that the NDC is responsible for, improving her skills in Naskapi language grammar, literacy and writing that she will need to carry out her new role.

We also are working our way through becoming familiar with all the digital resources (computer programs, apps, keyboards, websites) that make the scriptures in the Naskapi language accessible to her people.

During our afternoon Naskapi Translation Zoom meeting, Marianne joins in, beginning to take her role working with the team. This week, after our usual greetings and prayer, Marianne, Ruby, and Silas all shared what it means to them to participate in the language development and translation services for their community:

Marianne: I feel happy and privileged—I have always wanted to have this kind of job, working with our language and gaining capacity in these skills that are so connected with our identity as Naskapi people. Working with the translation helps my self-esteem and my own mental heath, being a part of connecting our people with the Creator and our culture.”

Ruby:I’ve always envied those who were working on the Naskapi translation project, but did not have the confidence in my own reading ability to join them. Since I have started working with the translation team several months ago, my own ability has improved, and working with the Bible gives me comfort and peace in my life.”

Silas: Even though I have retired from my full-time position in the language department, I did not want to retire from working on the Naskapi Bible Translation. I want to do all I can so that my community can have the whole Bible in their hands. I enjoy using every spare minute I have now to work on the Naskapi translation.”

After encouraging each other (and me!) with these words, we spent the remainder of the afternoon team-checking the first three chapters of the book of Deuteronomy in Naskapi. Besides moving this translation project along toward our publication goal, it provides hands-on experience for Marianne as she continues to grow into her new role in the Naskapi Language project.

Silas reads the book of Deuteronomy in Naskapi as the rest of us follow along

We thank God for the answer to your prayers by calling Marianne into her new role in the Naskapi language project.

  • Pray for Marianne as she continues to learn and grow in her new position, and for the selection of just the right other team members to work with her as the Naskapi community rebuilds their language department and their capacity.
  • Marianne also asks for prayer for her parents, who are recovering from a rare disease; for her daughter Pamela and son Kautinat who are struggling with addictions; and for her daughter Tamia, who has moved to North Bay, Ontario for post-secondary studies.
  • Continue to pray for Silas, Bill, Ruby, and Marianne, and the consultants as they plug away at Naskapi translation projects and the dictionary revisions over Zoom.
  • Silas also asks prayer for his wife Susan who is has completed her treatments for cancer—her follow up visit with her doctor scheduled for this month has been delayed.
  • The Naskapi book of Exodus is currently being type-set by the Canadian Bible Society in preparation for publication: Pray for steady progress and a good outcome; and also for the completion of the remaining work on the recorded audio files so that Naskapi speakers may also listen along with the translated text.

    Thank you for your kind partnership with us in the ministry God has called us to, and for your prayers and interest in His work in our lives and in the lives of those we connect with.

    Serving with you,
    Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz

Northern Translation Brief: 2022 First Nations Translator Workshop

Our Dear Partners

We are so grateful for your prayers for a successful First Nations Translator Workshop that was held in Guelph, Ontario in November. God has answered your prayers in wonderful and encouraging ways! This was our sixth such workshop since the first one in 2015, and the first workshop since the beginning of the covid pandemic.

Indigenous translators come to these workshops for instruction and encouragement. This series of workshops was begun as a response to First Nations church leaders who are interested in building the capacity of speakers in their own language groups to have better access to the Scriptures in their own languages.


The Naskapi language community (northern Quebec) sent the most participants, eight persons had planned to come, representing three distinct organizations:

George Guanish working with Bill at NDC–1994

The Naskapi Development Corporation (NDC) is the indigenous organization that sponsors the Bible Translation project in the community. Bill has been invited to work with the language team since 1994, initially helping with software development and computer support to enable them to use their script on computers, and assisting with database development for the Naskapi dictionary. George Guanish worked with Bill during those early years helping him learn the language and translating the first Naskapi scriptures with the Walking With Jesus literacy series.

Since then, George has worked as the head translator for the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach (NNK), the local First Nations government office.

Since the middle of the covid pandemic, the Naskapi Development Corporation no longer has any full-time translators on their staff. But the NDC Administrative Director, Ruby Sandy-Sandy Robinson, has also been attending and participating in the workshops for the past few years, and has recently become more engaged in Naskapi language work herself.

NDC Administrative Director Ruby Sandy-Robinson

Unable to attend from the Naskapi team this year was former NDC lead translator Silas Nabinicaboo and his wife Susan. (Silas was featured in a previous Translation Brief on about the dedication of the Psalms, here). Retired Naskapi translator Alma Chemaganish was also hoping to come, but she too could not be here with us this year.

The Naskapi community also sent two returning participants representing Saint John’s Anglican Church in Kawawachikamach, lay-reader Robert Swappie and Maggie Mokoush-Swappie, church administrator.

Robert and Maggie, working with Bill J

The Oji-Cree speaking language in northern Ontario had planned to send four participants. Rev. Ruth Kitchekesik came, representing the “Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh” and their Bible Translation program there at the Kingfisher Lake First Nation, in northern Ontario. She accompanied translators Dominick Beardy and Yvonne Winter. Unfortunately, their main translator Jessie Atlookan tested positive for Covid just before departure, and was unable to come.

Ruth Kitchekesik, Yvonne Winter, and Dominick Beardy, working together with help from Matthew Windsor

We were also hoping for and expected participation from three other First Nations languages, but unfortunately no other language groups were represented this year.

Workshop Program

Each year, the workshop staff strives to provide training opportunities for participants that are relevant, stimulating, and lead them to a deeper understanding of the message of hope that we find in the Scriptures.

Jeff Green teaches a session on consistency in parallel Scripture passages

Besides sessions in basic Bible translation principles, this year’s workshop featured three interactive workshop topics in which the participants from their various language groups could work together on practical translation exercises that can be brought back to their home communities.

Bible Society: Consistency in Translation

We were greatly privileged to have assistance from the Canadian Bible Society, who sent their personnel to lead multiple sessions for the participants. Translation Officer Ben Wukasch and Bible Society Intern Sarah Newman, came to teach about the Biblical tools and principles to ensure that the translators’ was consistent and faithful to the original. The Bible Society’s Director of Scripture Translation Dr. Jeff Green also taught multiple sessions to the participants on the important topic of maintaining consistency in their translation projects.

Ben Wukasch getting ready to lead his session

Understanding the Meaning

Another multiple-session series focused on a crucial step for Bible translation that ensures  accuracy and faithfulness to the original text called “Understanding the Meaning”. SIL Translation consultant Meg Billingsley guided the language teams through this step by helping them to study the source text until they thoroughly understood the meaning of the passage themselves before they began to render it into their own languages.

Meg Billingsley helps the participants learn to use the resources to assist them with understanding the meaning

Using the “Bloom” book creation software

SIL’s Colin Suggett was on hand to demonstrate and guide the participants in using an extended set of software tools developed to make it easier for speakers of minority languages to produce their own books for use in their communities and churches.

Colin Suggett watches the Naskapi team using the Bloom software to make their own Naskapi language books

In addition to the basic Bible translation principles sessions each day, and the three major topics (Understanding the Meaning, Consistency in Translation, and producing books using the Bloom Literacy Library) the participants also engaged in open sharing sessions about how their work is influencing their communities, how having the Scriptures in their own language has impacted their own lives, and learned how First Nations Bible Translation is being prayed for and supported by the wider Church and Bible Agencies. Leaders from SIL International, Wycliffe Bible Translators and the Bible Society addressed, encouraged and prayed for the participants and the facilitators during the sessions each day.

Corporate worship, Scripture readings and devotional times were also scheduled throughout the week, along with times of fellowship and connection.

Bill leads the group in a song from a Cree language hymnal

Rev. Ruth Kitchekesik leads the group in a devotional talk about a Scripture passage

Canadian Bible Society regional director Kevin Schlechter with the Naskapi and Oji-Cree participants

Wycliffe Canada Project Liaison Dan Grove shares with the participants

Bill sharing with the group

Thank you for your interest in and prayers for us as we help these language groups gain capacity to translate the Bible and develop their languages in their own communities.

Serving with you, Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz

Back Row: George Guanish, Robert Swappie, Dominick Beardy, Yvonne Winter.
Front Row: Ruby Sandy-Robinson, Maggie Mokoush-Swappie, Rev. Ruth Kitchekesik.

Northern Translation Brief 20Aug2022

Our Dear Partners

Thank you so much for your prayers for us over the past several weeks. We hope that your summer is going well. Here’s a current midsummer 2022 update from us.

Naskapi Scriptures in Use

The “Naskapi 2” class this June in Kawawachikamach

You may recall that a dozen years ago, I (Bill) had the privilege of teaching four units of a Naskapi reading and writing course to Naskapi speakers enrolled in the McGill University Teacher Training program. We wrote about that experience back then and you can read about it by clicking this link: [Naskapi-McGill Class].
This fall, the Naskapi School once again began a new program partnering with McGill University to provide quality, University-level education resources to another cohort of candidates, and I was invited to teach Naskapi grammar, reading and writing and history. The Naskapi 1 course was all “online” in November, but this June I had the opportunity to teach the Naskapi 2 course “in person” in the Naskapi community, and we had thirteen young Naskapi students. Our son Benjamin also traveled to Schefferville for those three weeks and audited the class.

Teaching the Naskapi syllabic characters with the Naskapi-McGill cohort

During our class sessions besides learning about Naskapi verbs and nouns, Naskapi history and culture, the participants also practice Naskapi reading  and writing: our textbook? The Naskapi Bible. Class by class they read to each other aloud in Naskapi using the Bible in their own language. They also practice typing in Naskapi, once again using the Naskapi Bible as their model for “good spelling and structure”. I am looking forward to being asked to return in the coming months to continue this course for Naskapi 3 and Naskapi 4.

Naskapi Translation “Consultant-Checking

Working with Silas and Susan at their home in Kawawachikamach in June

Book of Judges:
Silas has completed the back-translation of the book of Judges in preparation for a consultant-check earlier this spring. We have now begun working with translation consultants Meg Billingsley from Wycliffe/SIL and Ben Wukasch with the Canadian Bible Society (remotely via Zoom), to begin making our way through this book of the Bible to ensure that it is accurate, natural and clear. During Bill’s visit to Kawawachikamach in June, we had several sessions together at Silas’s house, and now we are carrying on regularly over the Internet.

Meg, Bill, Ben and Silas working through chapter 5 of the book of Judges in Naskapi

We expect to be working through the book of Judges this way over the next several months.

Book of Exodus:
We are ready to have the Naskapi Book of Exodus published this summer. Bill is currently working on the final stages of preparing the audio version of this book for broadcast on the local Naskapi Radio station, and over the Internet. We hope to have this work completed by the end of the year, Lord willing.

Book of Psalms:
After we published the book of Psalms in 2019, we also completed audio recording of all 150 chapters. Bill is working on the digital audio-editing of these sound files to prepare them for broadcast on the local Naskapi Radio station, and over the Internet. We hope to have this work completed by the early 2023, Lord willing.

New Scriptures for Old Friends

Susan and David Swappie, with their “well-loved” and “well-read” Naskapi scriptures

In previous Translation Briefs over the past several years, you have gotten to know our dear Naskapi friends David and Suzan Swappie. Bill visited with them this past June during his weeks in Kawawachikamach, and they assured us of their ongoing prayers for us, and asked for the latest scriptures that were available. You may remember that it was David who challenged us to begin work on several Old Testament books, including the book of Job. Bill was able to bring him a preliminary version of the first draft of 19 chapters of the book of Job in Naskapi. He was so overjoyed that tears were in his eyes. We were also privileged to bring them new editions of other Naskapi scriptures that they are in the habit of reading every day to the point that their books were coming to pieces.

A change of seasons in life

Foster kids at our house–last year … and this year

For more than thirty years, wherever we have worked–both in the First Nations communities up north and more recently here in southern Ontario–we have served children in need by providing foster care in our home. During the past few months, God has made it clear that we should be stepping back from this ministry in order to more effectively serve Him in other ways. This includes accommodating the needs of our own extended family members, ongoing First Nations Bible Translation, and other things. Please feel free to ask us to share more about this if you are curious.

Prayer Requests

McGill-Naskapi 2 class completion day, June 22, 2022

  • Thanks for your prayers for the Naskapi community, their vulnerability to COVID, and the young people learning to read their own language and reading the Bible.
  • Continue to pray for Silas, Bill and the consultants as they plug away at Naskapi translation projects and the dictionary revisions over Zoom.
  • Silas also asks prayer for his wife Susan who is going through treatment for cancer.
  • Please remember to pray for the vision of the Naskapi community organization as they hope to rebuild their language department. And pray for us regarding the part that we may play in helping to build their capacity in training and mentoring.
  • Pray that the leadership team for our November 2022 First Nations Workshop will plan well and make wise decisions toward the continuation of capacity-building for First Nations Bible translation across Canada.
  • And remember us as we step back from serving as foster parents, and our openness to serving in the other ways that God is preparing us for.

Thank you for your generous partnership with us in the ministry God has called us to, and for your prayers and interest in His work in our lives and in the lives of those we connect with.

Serving with you,
Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz