Monday, February 20, 2017

Testimony of the Lady at Immigration / Swahili BoM Update

​From: Frank Frye

Here is the last report that I'll be sending before returning home in a few days.


"In God we trust"
"En Dios confiamos"

"Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."

Founding Father, John Jay
(America's first Supreme Court Chief Justice and Co-Author of the Federalist Papers that explained the Constitution to the thirteen original Colonies.)
October 12, 1816.
"La Providencia le ha dado a nuestro pueblo la posibilidad de escoger a sus gobernantes, y es el deber, como también el privilegio e interés de nuestra nación Cristiana elegir y preferir Cristianos como sus gobernantes."

Padre Fundador, John Jay
(Primer Juez de la Corte Suprema y Co-Autor de los Papeles Federalistas que explicaron la Constitución a las trece Colonias originales.)
12 octubre, 1816


Testimony of the Lady at Immigration / Swahili BoM Update

Frank Evan Frye, Feb 20, 2017

Thursday, February 16th was selected for the day that I would go to Nairobi to renew my visa. When I arrived in Kenya on November 26th, 2016, the Immigration officer apologized that he could only give me a visa for 90 days. The trip had been originally scheduled for just over a month, but like happens at times, upon evaluating the work as it progressed, the time projected to finish the translation review of the new Swahili Book of Mormon had to be pushed back by more than two more months. The predicted finish time would be near the end of February. That time is now approaching and we are still on schedule and it looks like we will finish on time.

Brothers Elly Okecha and Duke Nyakweba took me at 6:30 am from the translation center (at the King George Apartments) to the airport in Kisumu, near the eastern side of Lake Victoria. The flight lasted only 42 minutes in a small propeller plane that was about 3/4 full. We flew at only ten thousand feet and could see a lot of details on the ground, but no animals. Upon arriving, I was told that no one at the airport could renew my visa—which I had originally received there in November. They told me that I had to go to Nyayo House (the government immigration office) which is located in the center of the city.[1] As I came out of the airport onto the sidewalk outside, someone pointed out a lady that worked at the immigration department there. She was very helpful and told me which buses to take, and where to go in the building when I got there. She even walked me across the street and down the block to show me which bus tText Box: Testimony of the Lady at Immigration / Swahili BoM Update Frank Evan Frye, Feb 20, 2017o take. With that information written on a scrap of paper that she gave me, I left the airport thinking it might be as much as an hour to reach the downtown area. Over two hours later, and one change of buses, I finally arrived near the government offices. After asking several people about it, Nyayo House came into view around the block.

Inside the building I found a large room like a bank with numerous teller windows, each for a different purpose. Only one did not have a long line in front of it—the one that said “Visa Renewals”—the one I needed. The man there, after looking at my passport, gave me an application to fill out. After filling it out and returning to his window he was gone. After waiting there for a few minutes, someone came to me and told me to let the lady in the next window help me. She was very helpful and after looking at my form and passport asked me a few questions. She found an empty spot on one of the pages of my passport and stamped it and proceeded to fill it out. She then returned my passport as if to say it was okay and done. I asked, “How much do I owe for the renewal?” She shuffled some papers and said something like “Well it is 2,000 Kenyan shillings (Ksh., about $20 USD) to renew a visa, but I’m just not sure whether . . .” And her voice trailed off. Even though we spoke off and on for the next hour, she never brought that up again.

Since I had to get back to the airport, I asked her if the taxis in Nairobi were secure. I wanted to save time so I could get some work done on the Swahili Book of Mormon project while waiting at the airport. My flight back to Kisumu was at 6:00 pm. She said that she had a friend who had a taxi that she uses frequently and she would be willing to call him. I said, “Great.” While waiting, I spoke frequently with the lady when she wasn’t busy. She asked me what the project was, and I told her, “We are translating the Book of Mormon into Swahili. Have you ever heard of the Book of Mormon?” She seemed uncertain, so I explained a little and said I could send her more information if she would give me an address, which she did. In the conversation she found out that we were working in Kisumu and she said that she is from Kisumu. I asked her if she knew Eric Odida. She was uncertain, saying that she knew a lot of people there. I said that Eric works for the Governor of Kisumu in his office. She said that her husband has a certain kind of business[2] and visits his office very frequently and that probably they know each other. She gave me his name and I wrote it down. Upon arriving back at the Translation Center in Kisumu Thursday night, I related the story to all the men present and someone asked the name of the lady’s husband. When I told them, one of the men spoke up and said “I know that man, I’ve had a meal in his home recently. We have the same kind of business!” We hope to make contact with him before I leave, but even if that does not happen, they will be contacted later and given the promised materials. I do not believe that such meetings happen by accident. I believe that God had his hand in that meeting for a purpose.

Meanwhile, returning to Thursday noon at the Nairobi airport—this time it was only about a 40 minute ride in the taxi returning from downtown. I found a restaurant where they allowed me to eat and work from about noon until five o’clock when I would head over to board my flight back home. Most important, it had an electrical contact in the wall under the table. What I could do alone at the airport was to prepare a special document with two columns which will have all 114 chapters of the 15 books of the Book of Mormon in sequence. The English version is on the left and the new Swahili version on the right. It will be used to globally search for small errors and for the possibility of making last minute changes in case we find better interpretations. This is to help keep the translation more uniform and with less evidence of different teams working on the chapters.

During the past two and one half months the nine Swahili/English speaking men who have assisted in this project have been on either of two semi-final teams or the final review team, and some on both. The semi-final review teams receive and review the text of one chapter at a time that was done in 2014 at the Translation Camp that lasted for six weeks. That camp did the rough translations that we are now reviewing. Either two or three men work on a laptop together and read each verse of their assigned chapter and make and mark any changes that they feel are necessary.

Their work then is forwarded on a thumb drive to the final review team. It consists of no less than two Swahili/English speakers plus myself. During the final review, we use a projector so that all three team members can easily see both the English and the Swahili parallel versions that have been prepared for this step. I begin by reading each verse in English first so that all members of the team get the context of the verse. Then the same verse is read completely through from the Swahili version by Team Member A for comprehension in that language and to look for possible improvements. Last, Team Member B reads, a few words at a time from the English version and the Swahili version is again read a little at a time between A & B in pingpong style until the whole verse has been discussed by all three participants.

My job consists of several parts, sometimes going on at the same time:

1. to see that the vocabulary and grammar of the English text is interpreted correctly,

2. to type in corrections as they are dictated to me in Swahili,

3. to see that the theology, history and geography of the Book of Mormon text is understood and translated properly, and

4. to be ready to stop the final review team and respond to questions that may come from any of the other teams at the same time.

5. we also frequently refer to Swahili / English dictionaries and several other Swahili versions of the Book of Mormon that have previously been previously published. We must decide whether to cooperate closely with those translations, improve with slight modifications, or to make radical corrections where they are found to be in error.

Words and phrases that may cause problems in translation into another language must be identified, discussed, interpreted consistently and if possible entered into the new dictionary. With more than 8,600 verses in the Book of Mormon, it is easy to see why we’ve been working here for two and one half months so far.

One of my valuable resources is the Noah Webster 1828 English Dictionary which was America’s first dictionary and was the English into which the Book of Mormon was published.[3] Another valued resource is my old Roget’s International Thesaurus (third edition). It is the best book for synonyms that I’ve found yet, and its language base comes from the mid to late 1800s also.

For security reasons, I’ve kept all of the chapters separate. In 2010 when I began working on this project, I made the mistake of assigning entire books of the Book of Mormon to different people for translation. The loss of several of those documents for several reasons became so catastrophic that it stopped the translation at that time. A small document consisting of one chapter that may lost can be much more easily replaced than a very large one. We have been blessed this time and have had no significant losses that I am aware of. I am also using five different backup/data storage schemes to prevent data loss for this project.

Today (February 20) we reached 97.8% completion of the Book of Mormon text. Fortunately, the projection that I made in early December has remained accurate and we will finish the Book of Mormon text this week just a few days before my ticket is scheduled for my return home. We will use any extra time to finish the auxiliary study materials that will be added to the back of the Book of Mormon as well as the necessary pages that are at the front of every Book of Mormon. We feel very blessed that, in spite of electricity outages from time to time, we have not fallen behind in the work. Yesterday we finished Alma chapter 16 which is one of my favorite chapters.[4] We are now working on Alma 21 and only have Alma 19 (also a favorite chapter of mine) left and we are finished.

The teams here wish to thank the Saints for their prayers, which we are sure kept us under God’s protection and timing. The teams consist of nine other men plus myself. The names of the men who have worked on this Translation Review are (in alphabetical order): Francis Anyange, Efgo Lawis, Paul Makawiti, Nelson Ikuah Mutahi, Duke Nyakweba, Paul Ogada, Ben Ogolla, Elly Okecha and Michael (Mishael) Onyiego. If it had not been for the sacrifice that these men have made, the translation would not have been finished. Some have been away from their families for more than two months. My total time away from home will be 99 days.

I’ve kept track of the number of days that the different men have spent with us and the number of hours we’ve been working each day. With meal times removed, we’ve averaged over 11 hours per day of work time since we started. From the time we began the review on December 3rd until the projected time that we will finish, we will have spent more than 5,000 man-hours on this project. It has been a monumental task and we have all learned an enormous amount about the Book of Mormon, each other and about the English and Swahili languages. I’ve been able to compile a new Book of Mormon dictionary with over 1,250 entries of words, phrases, scripture references, definitions from the Webster’s 1828 dictionary, and variations from the three other Swahili translations of the Book of Mormon. It will be able to easily modify it for use for other languages. I believe that it will be valuable in the translations of the Book of Mormon into many other languages.

When I arrive home, several more steps must be completed before the book can be printed. The entire book in the two column version will be printed and copies will be provided to the different groups who are cooperating to see this project to completion. Copies will also be sent back to Kenya for proofreading. Several of the men on the teams will be working with me via Skype and / or telephone to finish that part. When that is done, I will begin the tedious job of copying and pasting every line that we have previously broken to specific lengths, and pasting them into the final book layout which is in a different page layout program, along with side notes to help the readers understand word translations, historical and geographical data as well as scriptural references. Last, that document will be turned over to a real graphic designer who knows this program well and who can clean up the layout challenges that I couldn’t handle. Sound complicated? Try writing the entire book in less than sixty working days as Joseph Smith did in 1829. All we were doing is reviewing a previous translation and it will take us 80 working days. I can’t imagine keeping all of the complicated story-lines straight as well as writing styles, vocabulary, names, etc. And the Spirit of the Lord that comes along with reading the book—there is something that no one can counterfeit. The more I study this wonderful book, the more evidence that I find that it is exactly what it says it is: a gift from God to all nations, about actual people who had countless real encounters with Him, His Son and His Holy Spirit.

Thank you for your prayers and I hope to see at least some of you very soon.


[1] Nairobi is a city of about five million people.

[2] Names and kinds of businesses are withheld here for privacy purposes.

[3] Some research indicates that the English into which the Book of Mormon was translated may even predate the 1800s by a century or more.

[4] We’ve not been able to do all of the books in their normal sequence.

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