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Daughter Translations

By Yurranydjil Dhurrkay

"It was in 2001, when my father rang me late on a Wednesday night, about 11.30pm. I was visiting Yirrkala.  He said: "I hope you are looking after yourself. Come home soon. There's one thing I want to pass on to you though, before I leave this place. 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.' Gäthu (daughter) can you do me one favour, ... when you come home, can you please translate John's gospel for me. Do John's gospel in Wangurri. It doesn't matter if I am not around. Just get it done." 

"For a few years, I held on to my father's last words to me.  Then one time while visiting in Darwin I tried translating John's gospel in Wangurri. I did this with Mally McLellan's help. I was doing it there at SIL in 2004. This was when I met Chuck and Barbara Grimes. They were working with a group of Timorese translators. I went around to see what the Timorese group were doing. I saw that they were translating into various Timorese languages from one common language. I thought; 'If they can do it, I can do it too!'"

"So I did it for half a chapter in Wangurri using Djambarrpuyŋu as my source text. I felt such joy inside at this achievement! I said to myself and in a sense to my father, 'I did it! I did what you asked me to do!'"

"When I came back home, thinking of what I had seen with the Timorese people at their translation workshop in Darwin, I found myself dreaming.. I actually dreamt of a group of Yolŋu people representing various languages. I was there with them and we were sitting in a semi-circle in a room with a large screen up the front.  We were translating God's word into various languages with a consultant helping. I was assisting him." 

"In September 2009, I actually saw everybody together just as I had dreamt!"