Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Papua New Guinea: Ukarumpa Linguistic Center

Ukarumpa is SIL's main centre for the Bible translation work in Papua New Guinea. Located in the Eastern Highlands, with an elevation of 5000 ft., the temperature is “almost perfect” year round.  

The vision of SIL-PNG is to see “God’s Word in every language, in every life.”

With 840 living languages in PNG, there is lots of work to be done and the facilities at Ukarumpa supports the work and helps both missionaries and nationals accomplish their goals together.  SIL-PNG is currently working in approximately 150 languages and they are estimating that there will be about 300 more that will need SIL’s services in Bible translation, Scripture Engagement, Literacy, etc.  Their desire is to collaborate with local pastors and churches to equip and train their members to meet the needs of Scripture access and understanding for their community members.

Exciting and challenging work is happening all over the country and many staff live and work in villages scattered across the country. Although there are some regional centres located around the country, Ukarumpa is the main base that supports the work country-wide. Most of the those directly involved in translation live and work in Ukarumpa when they are not in the village.  While the linguistic and translation support available at Ukarumpa is helpful and needed, there are valuable support services available that is vital to having “God’s Word in every language, in every life”. This support structure helps the work to move forward, allowing many more Papua New Guineans access to God’s Word in their language. Since 1956, SIL-PNG has been involved in the completion of 210 New Testaments and they are looking forward to dedicating 10 more this next year.  Progress is also being made in Old Testament translation.

One of the busiest places at Ukarumpa is the Ukarumpa Training Centre, located just left of the photo below. The Pacific Institute of Languages, Arts and Translation holds courses there for Papua New Guineans from around the country.

The PNG Experience is the best resource for stories of our work in PNG.

 Here's an aerial tour of Ukarumpa.
To learn about:

Translation click here. 
Literacy, click here. 
Scripture Engagement/Use, click here.  
Language Survey, click here. 
Ethnomusicology, click here.

The Auto Shop  provides fuel and repairs for those living at Ukarumpa and surrounding villages.

Aviation is needed in a country that is mountainous with few roads. Bible translation would be very difficult or next to impossible for many locations in PNG.  Planes not only deliver translators to their allocations but also bring needed supplies, mail and a friendly visit from our skilled pilots!  Click here to see what it's like to land at Ukarumpa.  

Communications and Technical Services

CTS is a vital department as it supports Bible translation around the country as well as the community at Ukarumpa. Those who work in CTS intentionally select, create and maintain technology systems for the purpose of acceleration and accomplishing the translation of the bible into all languages.

The Clinic provides medical services for Ukarumpa and the surrounding villages.

Working together, the clinic staff is a multi-national team consisting of Papua New Guineans and missionaries from around the world.

There are Children's Homes for teens to stay in when their parents are in the village so they can attend Ukaumpa International School. Parents with experience with working with teens are needed to provide love and care to the teens and their family.

The Construction and Maintenance Department is biggest department as it maintains the buildings at Ukarumpa and also often helps build houses and buildings for translation teams in other parts of the country.

The Finance Office handles  the accounting needs for departments and as well as individuals.

Ukarumpa International School is based at  Ukarumpa and has a Primary and Secondary campus.  It's a multi-national school and teachers tend to love teaching there!

Smaller Regional Centres support the work around the country.

The Store is like a country store where you'll find almost anything you "need".  It's also a great place to meet friends and have a quick chat. 

Household goods, clothing and more!

The open-air market on the center is full of fresh, delicious produce , fruit and hand-made items.  However, you have to get up early since it’s open from 6-8am, Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.


  1. This is a great summary of what Ukarumpa is like - thanks for sharing! I hope this will help anyone who is considering serving in Ukarumpa to see what life there is like!

  2. Thankyou SIL for serving the people of Papua New Guinea.