Bible Translation

How the Bible can be Relevant in all Languages and Cultures
Authors: Harriet Hill, Margaret Hill
Published by: Piquant (2008)

"Clear, simple and readable - very practical, fully supported with further reading ... exactly the kind of thing that is needed."
Chris Wright, Langham Partnership

A tried and tested resource that encourages meaningful Bible use in multi-lingual contexts through both written and oral media.

Individual chapters can be used as a standalone interactive workshop in church or mission contexts. Chapters (with further reading) are also appropriate as a text for graduate studies. Includes activities, assignments, further reading resources and links for useful websites.

Also available as an e-book for Kindle.  [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...]

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...]
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...]

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...]

Author: David L Payne

One of the major obstacles for the acceptance of an idiomatic translation of the Scriptures into a vernacular language where there is some form of established church is that often there is a strong veneration of a translation of the Scriptures in the national language.

In the translation project for the Asheninka language of Peru, the team was faced with resistance to the idiomatic translation in the vernacular because of a strong attachment to an old Spanish translation. To assuage this resistance, they attempted to teach translation principles to the Asheninka lay pastors and to discuss with them the benefits of idiomatic translation, but both activities met with little success. However, a change of attitude came through a series of seminars that educated them about the source of the venerated Spanish version and the kinds of adjustments that were made in translating it from Greek to Spanish.  [more...]

Author: Warren Glover

Arguments against a diglot version focus on matters of cost, production time, and difficulty, and bulkiness versus ease of handling. Arguments for the diglot are mostly in the area of factors which will promote the use of the publication.

The author discusses the benefits and problems of publishing local language translations alongside national language in a diglot format. Taking the example of the language he worked with, Glover explains the reason they decided to publish the New Testament as a diglot edition: to increase the acceptability and usefulness of the translation. He also mentions several disadvantages, such as increased costs and publication time, which in this specific situation were thought to be outweighed by the benefits.  [more...]

Author: Margaret Hill

Common factors emerge that affect Scripture use: level of literacy, prestige of the language, and attitude of church leaders.

A wide variety of reasons account for published Scriptures not being used. They include a lack of literacy, a language that is dying or has low status, a translation rejected by church leaders, an inappropriate published format, a lack of distribution, a lack of contextualization when using Scriptures, and others. A summary of the conditions necessary for seeing Scripture used is also offered.  [more...]

Translating a Story-tellers' Bible for storying
Author: CeliaB

Chronological Storying... needs to be underpinned by a solid, reliable translation in the target language.

To reach an isolated community, Chronological Storying can be an effective tool. However, storytellers need to be aware of the translation principles and key terms that are required to translate the stories into the local language, and know how to tell the story appropriately in that context. This case study describes how a team developed a Story-tellers' Bible — a source for storytellers — covering key Old and New Testament stories for different storying tracks. It outlines why storytellers still need to craft their own stories from this source text and describes the main characteristics of the Story-tellers' Bible.  [more...]

Author: John Beekman

Translators face the challenge of correctly representing the message of Christianity by utilizing a vocabulary that has only, or largely, been used to represent a non-Christian system of thought.

Good translation depends on a good understanding of the receptor culture. This is especially true when choosing key terms, as translators have to not only find ways to express the terms in the language; they also have to bridge different systems of thought. Beekman proposes four methods to discover potential terms that communicate in a relevant and accurate way, and two ways to validate what the terms communicate.  [more...]