Impact Stories

Story Menu:

Interview with Getachew Yohannes


Lightly edited for readability.

My name is Getachew Yohannes. I work with Wycliffe Ethiopia as a Bible translation consultant and translation coordinator. I’m married and have four children. The first one is 16 years [old] and the last ones are twins. They are six years old. My wife is also in the translation world; she's doing Scripture Engagement with Wycliffe Ethiopia.

I started Bible translation back in 1992 [Ethiopian calendar, 2002 Gregorian calendar] in Basketo, where I was born and grew up. Before I became a Bible translator I went to a Bible college, and then when I came back from Bible college I joined the translation team in Basketo, which was started by a missionary family from the UK. So I joined that team as a translator.

I started the work but I was not that convinced to be a Bible translator. So I was trying to translate for about a year and we finished a few new testament books and then we printed out one of the gospels - the gospel of Mark. We printed that book, and there was a Bible conference in the villages. There was a big annual conference where I was invited to speak. I was the preacher in the conference. I started to read the Bible. I remember that was Mark - the gospel of Mark, chapter 5. I read in Amharic and then I read again the same passage in Basketo. I told them, “we have a Bible in Basketo language so I want to read it in Basketo. Are you interested?” They said yes. “Okay,  let me read it in Basketo”.

So I read the same passage from that printed book and when I saw the people hearing that passage in their mother tongue I saw them, like, crying and I mean the emotion was so high that I just stopped my - I mean I couldn't go on reading when I see people crying, sitting there, here and there, and it's a big crowd, and it was completely different. Then I myself started crying.

I stopped reading and I started crying. I mean, I didn't know what was happening. Then, really, God touched my heart that this work is very important for these people. I promised God that I will finish this work. So that was the day I decided to become a Bible translator. It was not the day that I started the work but it was that day that kept me doing this thing up to now.

We finished the New Testament. It took us eight years. We did also literacy. A number of churches - we used church buildings as literacy classes. We had about 35 literacy classes throughout Basketo. I was convinced by God that this was something I need to do and I did that happily. When I came back I continued my study and I still continued helping other translation projects because in my life this is the very important thing that I can do in my lifetime.

So that's how I still continue as a translation consultant, helping different languages in Ethiopia.


subscribe newsletter heading

subscribe newsletter heading mobile