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: Bill’s head injury after two years

Our Dear Partners

Most of you will remember that a couple years ago I had a serious accident with a tree, a ladder and a chainsaw that almost took me from you. By God’s grace I am still here to live and serve Him in our lives and Bible Translation ministry for First Nations.

From time to time people have asked me about my recovery and so we thought that the two-year mark would be a good time to take stock and take the opportunity to thank you for your prayers.

Briefly it happened like this: On November 7th, 2017, I was about 12 feet up a ladder against a large tree, holding a chainsaw, cutting off a large dead branch next to me. The branch broke suddenly and hit me in the skull knocking me and the ladder to the ground. I woke up hours later in a hospital, with Norma Jean anxiously waiting by my side.

Here’s the butt of the branch that hit me in the head. Somehow, I was underneath this (and, somehow, Norma Jean lifted it off me).

You can read the full account of what happened here:

God is Good, All the Time

During these past two years, Norma Jean and I have counted each day together as a precious gift. We both know that God protected me from more serious injury or death, even though the actual recovery period has taken many months. As I noted, the only broken bones were my skull, which received a half-inch depressed fracture at my temple between my left eye and ear, and three cracked vertebrae in my upper back between my shoulders. I also suffered a severe concussion that resulted in dizzyness and disorientation for several months. I was on strong Oxycodone-based prescription pain medication for the first several weeks, but recognizing the dangers of addiction to this medication I chose to voluntarily reduce the prescribed dosage. I was no longer taking this medication by the beginning of January 2018. The severe back and head pain could be reduced considerably by changing to a more reclining position. So I took my desk work to the living room and spent many of my days (and some nights) in a reclining chair. This went on for months.

Because of my dizzyness and disorientation, Norma Jean took over most of the driving. We also had good friends helping to drive us to appointments, and I walked with a cane well into the spring of 2018. The doctors had cautioned us that a brain injury like mine made me vulnerable to much more severe injury should I bump my head again. The fractures of my vertebrae would heal in time, but the displaced bone in the skull fracture would remain that way indefintely.

Gradually, over the full year of 2018, the constant headaches reduced considerably, and I was able to regain some stamina. I started walking without a cane. Indeed by the end of 2018 I had begun to do some physical work, such as operating the log splitter or carrying out minor home repairs. But I did find that I was only able to work a relatively short amount of time, an hour or so, before having to head back to the recliner and do some “other” kinds of work.

Other kinds of work

We are so grateful to God for the privilege of joining Him in His work of bringing His Word to First Nations languages, mainly the Algonquian languages of Naskapi, Cree and Innu. During the weeks prior to the accident, I had begun to work with Rev. Fred Evans as he read and recorded the Cree scriptures in the legacy 1862 Western Cree Bible. Fred, a Cree elder and pastor, lives with his wife in Swan River, Manitoba. He started to read and record the Cree New Testament in November of 2017. By phone and internet connection, I was able to guide Fred through the recording of each chapter of the Bible from Matthew to Revelation. I received his audio files via internet and spent my days (in my La-Z-Boy) carefully editing the audio files, following along in the Cree Bible and listening to Fred’s clear and faithful reading of the text. In general, for each hour of Fred’s recording, it would take five hours of listening and audio-editing on the computer to prepare the files for others to listen to. Our ministry partners, the Canadian Bible Society, SIL International, and Faith Comes By Hearing provided the technical support for this task–but God provided just the right kind of work to suit my physical limitations at the time, as I carried all the editing work for the first six months of the project, which were the first six months of my recovery.

Rev. Fred Evans working at his home during the recording stage for the CreeTalker Bible

Later, I trained our friend Ben Wukasch at the Bible Society to share the audio editing task with me, and so together we had the audio for the entire New Testament in Cree complete by March of 2019.

Read more about the CreeTalker Bible recording project” here:

We continued to supervise, mentor and support the other “Next Generation” translation teams during my recovery. It has been so gratifying and encouraging to see that God in His wisdom was preparing these younger folks to carry on His work as we had to slow down a little during these past couple of years.

How do I feel right now?

God continues to amaze me every day for His care and healing for me. I am still “aware” each day and every day of ongoing symptoms from the skull fracture and concussion. Real severe “headaches” are much less frequent now, and I treat them with Tylenol. I still have them about four or five times per month. But they usually don’t “stop” me. On good days I can still feel a sensation of discomfort at the damaged area of my skull–not really very painful as far as that goes, just an awareness of some uncomfortable pressure; like the feeling you would get when you are wearing a hat… that’s too small… all day long.

My back pain can act up if I “push” physical activity too much–such as if I am up and doing things, walking, home repairs or maintenance; splitting wood. These days, sometimes I do go beyond a couple hours or so of that kind of activity, and I am sorry I did, afterwards.

I was almost 62 years old when I had the accident. Next week, I’ll be 64, Lord willing. So I feel pretty good and I am so grateful for all of God’s blessings on my life and His work.


Our family members, our friends and supporters, and the church have all been used by God in mighty ways to remind us of His care, and to deliver his care. Many meals were brought in to us during the early weeks of my convalescence, prepared by the women of Simcoe Immanuel church. The men of the church have repeatedly pitched in to help cut, split and haul firewood. We are deeply grateful for these expressions of love and care.

I know that many, many prayers were offered to God for my health and recovery by most of you. God has answered your prayers wonderfully, and He continues to do so. We are very grateful for all He has done and continues to do through you. We praise His Name and once again express our thanks. Thank you for being along side of us during this journey over the past two years.

Serving with you,

Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz