Language Issues

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...]

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: Edna Headland

"When the Scriptures are available in the mother tongue, students will use them if encouraged to do so by the staff of the training institutions. Professors may not understand the languages their students are working in and they may find this to be challenging, but the results are well worth the challenge."

Many Bible Schools function in the majority language of the country. For students from minority language groups, this may result in a superficial understanding of Scripture. How can Bible schools help them study Scripture in their own language so that they attain the fluency in reading and preaching they will need to minister effectively among their people? This article presents an approach which has been used at a Bible Institute in Colombia with 13 languages.  [more...]

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...]

Author: Sue A. Harris

The availability of Scripture in the traditional language is not enough to ensure shifting the patterns of language use already established in the church.

In the Galat community the traditional language is used for informal, in-group communication in the domains of family, friends, and neighbourhood. Harris discusses how this affects the use of mother-tongue literature and suggests that it is most effective to create new functions for literature use in domains that are appropriate in the community. Rather than expecting the church (a formal context) to use the mother tongue, she suggests home Bible studies or preschools as better environments to use mother-tongue literature.  [more...]