Bible Translation

Choosing Illustrations for Translated Scripture
Author: Michelle Petersen (2016)

Choosing to illustrate interesting events in the text may help build audience interest in the story of Scripture, and this interest may be more foundational to audiences’ relationship with God than knowledge of details about what objects and places looked like.

Illustrations often serve motivational functions for readers, especially reluctant readers, increasing their enjoyment of a text and the amount of time they give it. Various audiences require different kinds of Scripture visuals to care about the message and understand it well. Just as translators need to carefully check the words of Scripture, it is important that they also check Scripture illustrations with members of the intended audience, and if needed, change their choices based on this interview feedback. This paper encourages translation teams to check visual elements of Scripture with members of the intended audience, and helps prepare consultants to check illustrations based on local visual vocabulary, grammar and rhetoric.

This is an edited version of a paper presented at the Bible Translation Conference in October 2015, Dallas, Texas.  [more...]

A case study of the spiritual and socio-cultural impact of the Bible translation strategy of the Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translation on the Dega people of Ghana
Author: Thomas Atta-Akosah
Published by: University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg - MTh thesis (2004)

Abstract:
After participants had been told of the processes of Bible translation during a prayer partners meeting of Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translation (GILLBT), one of them asked, "After the people have been given the Scriptures, what happens?"

This study has been an attempt to supply answers to such questions. It attempts to ascertain the impact that the Bible translation strategy (BTS) of GILLBT has had on the Dega people of Ghana, especially their socio-cultural and spiritual lives. The study uses Darrell Whiteman's conceptual framework of Integral Human Development to analyse how the Bible translation strategy has contributed to their human development. The BTS comprises linguistic and anthropological research, Bible translation, literacy and development and Scripture-In-Use.  [more...]

Reducing the time from translation desk to Scripture engagement
Author: Richard Margetts

"If the food is ready and the people are hungry,
don’t put it in the freezer and tell them to come back later."

The title of this article sprang from a discussion we had during a training course for Scripture Engagement practitioners in Yaoundé, Cameroon. From their experience of working with Bible translation teams across francophone Africa, the participants knew that it could take a very long time before completed portions (such as individual Bible books) got from the translator’s desk and into the hands of the people. The ‘food’ would be ‘put in the freezer’ waiting for the day when it would finally be served to those hungry to receive it.

So why does this happen? If the people are hungry for God’s Word in their own language, why would a translation team take this spiritual food and store it away in the freezer for another day? What is causing the delay? Isn’t there something we can do to reduce the time from translation desk to Scripture engagement?  [more...]

Stories of Translation
Author: Steve Fortosis
Published by: William Carey Library, 2012

From the publisher's description:

"Some decades ago the prospect of reaching the entire world with the gospel appeared very dim indeed. In a world population that was virtually exploding with growth, how could Christians begin to reach the billions of fellow humans? Then missionaries began mastering the multiplied languages on earth, placing the Bible on paper, making recordings of the gospel, and beaming the Word of God out on radio and television waves. A portion of the Bible was translated painstakingly into over a thousand languages. The entire Bible was translated into several hundred. There was reason to be hopeful. Missionaries taught nationals how to plant churches. Then nationals started planting churches, and churches begat churches... Bible translators had and continue to play a crucial role in the mission of reaching every people with the gospel, and this book describes how. Follow them into the fascinating, exciting world of Bible translation."

Endorsement from Bob Creson, president of Wycliffe Bible Translators USA:

"This book richly demonstrates how Bible translators wrestle to satisfy two priorities: staying true to the meaning of the original Greek and Hebrew Scriptures, and expressing that meaning clearly to speakers of amazingly diverse languages. It highlights a simple, yet profound truth: understanding God’s Word is key to knowing Him. While giving tribute to generations of Western translators, it also touches on the changing nature of the translation process, with mother tongue translators assuming more responsibility and multicultural teams working together to quicken the pace and quality of Bible translation."  [more...]

Manuel pour faire un bon usage de la Bible dans chaque langue et culture
Authors: Harriet Hill, Margaret Hill
Published by: Presses Bibliques Africaines (2011)

"Ce manuel est un guide efficace pour une bonne préparation à l'étude biblique, à la méditation, à la prédication intégrant les réalitiés culturelles de chaque peuple."

This is the French version of the book Translating the Bible into Action by Harriet Hill and Margaret Hill. It is also available in Portuguese.

The French version can be obtained from Wycliffe Benin in Cotonou or from the SU department of SIL in Nairobi.  [more...]

Communicating Scripture in a Relevant Way
Authors: Harriet Hill, Ernst-August Gutt, Margaret Hill, Christoph Unger, Rick Floyd
Published by: SIL International (2011)

Over the past thirty years, scholars have made significant advances in understanding how human communication functions. They have moved from looking for meaning in texts alone to seeing texts as providing clues that lead hearers to discover the speaker’s intended meaning. Hearers use other inputs as well—things they already know, information from the speech environment—as they search to understand not only what the words of the text say but also what the speaker is communicating. All this has significant implications for Bible translation.

Bible Translation Basics accomplishes two things: 1) it expresses these theoretical developments in communication at a basic level in non-technical language, and 2) it applies these developments to the task of Bible translation in very practical ways. Tried and tested around the world, people with a secondary school education or higher are able to understand how communication works and apply those insights to communicating Scripture to their audiences. Bible Translation Basics helps translators work with language communities to determine the kind of Scripture product(s) that are most relevant for them, given their abilities and preferences.  [more...]

Enjeux et défis pour l'Afrique francophone
Author: Michel Kenmogne
Published by: Editions CLE, Yaoundé / Wycliffe International, Nairobi (2009)

This book - 'Bible Translation and the Church: Issues and challenges for Francophone Africa' - was written as part of the Francophone Initiative in collaboration with CITAF (Conseil des Institutions Théologiques d’Afrique Francophone) - a consortium of evangelical theological institutions in Africa.

The aim is to introduce into the programme of every theological college a course on the importance of Bible translation and the role of local languages in the mission of the church.

The chapters are divided into five main sections:

  1. Pourquoi traduire la Bible dans les langues locales? (Why translate the Bible into local languages?)
  2. L'histoire de la traduction de la Bible depuis Néhémie jusqu'à nos jours (The history of Bible translation from Nehemiah to today)
  3. Théologie et traduction de la Bible (Theology and Bible translation)
  4. Traduction de la Bible: contexte, structures et méthodes (Bible translation: context, structures and methods)
  5. Bible et héritage colonial francophone (The Bible and the colonial heritage)
  [more...]
Como tornar a Bíblia relevante para todas as línguas e culturas
Authors: Harriet Hill, Margaret Hill
Published by: Vida Nova (2010)

This is the Brazilian Portuguese version of the book Translating the Bible into Action by Harriet Hill and Margaret Hill.

A tried and tested resource that encourages meaningful Bible use in multi-lingual contexts through both written and oral media. Includes activities, assignments, further reading resources and links to useful websites.

This version has two extra chapters in addition to those found in the English version - "Addressing human concerns: Alcohol abuse", and "Sharing your faith with animists".  [more...]

Author: Harriet Hill
Published by: International Bulletin of Missionary Research, 30:2 (Apr 2006)

Bible translators realized that translated Scriptures sitting in warehouses fell short of their goal. Their real goal was that receptors use these Scriptures to draw closer to God. UBS refers to this goal as Scripture engagement; SIL and Wycliffe refer to it as Scripture use. Global sociolinguistic factors in fact militate against vernacular languages, making the use of mother-tongue Scriptures the premier challenge for Bible translation in the twenty-first century.

Harriet Hill provides a historical overview of progress in Bible translation, focusing especially on the challenges faced by translators in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The article covers topics such as how methods have improved over the years, the effects of colonisation and modernisation on vernacular languages, and the spread of Christianity by diffusion or incarnation.  [more...]

Author: Viggo Søgaard
Published by: Lausanne World Pulse, September 2009

The issue of non-readers is an issue for all countries, as we see reading declining even in countries with high literacy rates. It has been estimated that in some African countries printed scripture only reaches around ten percent of the population. The challenge is therefore to develop translations that are relevant to the media, productions that are appropriate, and distribution systems for scripture that reach the non-reading population.

Viggo Søgaard argues for the kinds of Bible translation needed for non-reading populations, conforming to "the rules and requirements of spoken rather than written language". He describes the differences between oral and written communication and highlights some of the areas translators need to pay attention to when producing translations for audio media (emphasis, direct speech, intonation, context information).  [more...]