Tools and Methods

Publish early, publish small, publish often
Author: Eric Graham

"Prepare little, fill often, and expect users to engage with the content in small quantities (hopefully on frequent occasions) is the paradigm of the digital wineskin. The mode of operation for a Scripture translation project to consider becomes: Publish early, publish little and publish often – in various media formats, and for a range of digital delivery platforms."

This paper reviews features of digital publishing and associated technology that are transforming approaches to Scripture translation and publication in minority languages. Understanding and harnessing the potential of micro-content, the small units of material that make up digital media products, are key themes. The paper recommends that digital publication starts at an early stage in a translation project, making small units of Scripture available to the language community in audio and text formats as soon as each is completed and checked. It promotes the idea of incrementally publishing small units in various media formats. By gaining the attention of the audience with the small unit, there is potential for spiritual awakening that leads to an appetite for the big.  [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: Kermit Titrud

Then I asked them if they would prefer a diglot … even if the cost were double. They all answered yes.

Titrud presents substantial reasons why the Caluyanun New Testament of the Philippines was published as a diglot with a language of wider communication, Tagalog, and how the publication has been received. He encourages fellow Bible translators to consider the option of publishing Scriptures for minority language groups in a diglot form, believing the Caluyanun situation is not unique.   [more...]

Huit conditions pour l’utilisation des Écritures
Author: Wayne Dye

This is a 7-page summary in French of Wayne Dye's "Eight Conditions of Scripture Engagement". The awareness of the contribution of each of these eight factors can help in developing strategies to promote the use of God's Word.

For a more in-depth discussion of the Eight Conditions (in English), see the author's article in the IJFM journal.  [more...]

Author: Martha D. Tripp

"This is what we have been looking for." As I heard these words coming from the Amuesha teacher/preacher as he taught the newly translated Scripture to his own people, I sensed this moment as a tremendous breakthrough for the Amuesha people to be able to accept the message of the gospel as the fulfilment of their own view of religion.

The author reflects on ten factors that contributed to the positive response of the Amuesha people of Peru to mother-tongue Scriptures. These are summarized as: fulfilment of existing religion; motivation to change; confidence in those presenting the message; relevance of the gospel message demonstrated by those who believe it; simplification of the gospel message in the early days for easier understanding; biblical instruction in the vernacular rather than the national language; encouragement and use of local leaders rather than outsiders, including the expatriate translator; adequate degree of fluency of readers; availability of translated Scripture even in provisional form from the early days; and a degree of church organization to give a permanency of opportunity for Scripture use.  [more...]

A case study from the Paez of Columbia
Author: Marianna Slocum

We have found that these three factors—the credibility factor, the comprehension factor, and the prestige factor—are all-important components in promoting the use of a newly introduced vernacular translation in a newly written language.

This case history of the Paez, a minority language group in the Andean highlands of Colombia, South America, shows how the credibility and comprehension of the mother-tongue Scriptures and the prestige of the mother tongue affect the acceptance of the Scriptures. It considers how these factors can be addressed, noting the importance of using translators that are respected by the community, the production of high quality linguistic materials (e.g. dictionary and grammar books) and the value of producing a diglot glossary of key terms.  [more...]

Thoughts on the relationship between the financing of translation projects and the use of the scriptures in Burkina Faso
Author: Ed Lauber

We need to enlarge our thinking about the contribution of the church to the translation effort. Casting that contribution principally in terms of cash contributions to the translators’ salaries limits options and may even have a negative impact on the use of the translation. Adopting a more complex partnership approach to finances will result in better partnership and may, therefore, positively affect the use of the Scriptures.

Ed Lauber explores the relationship between funding of translation projects and the use of the Scriptures in Burkina Faso. He believes there is often a link, albeit sometimes weak. Where the link is strong, it is often complex and related to other factors.  [more...]

Author: Harriet Hill

Not only do we not know about the state of Scripture Use in our projects, we often don’t even know how many New Testaments or Bibles have been sold.

In an effort to define progress and success in Scripture Use, Hill proposes both national and project level goals. She then addresses the specifics on how to carry them out in an effective and sensitive manner. An appendix containing a survey of questions to the point is offered.  [more...]

Author: Margaret Hill

When selling the NT or a Bible it helps to give with it something to encourage people to read portions each day. This might be a reading card for a year published by the Scripture Union (they have a special NT only one), or it could be a series of reading suggested by the local churches. Another popular possibility is a sheet of references dealing with specific problems, rather like the list found in a Gideon’s Bible.

In this article, Margaret Hill describes things you can do before, during and after a dedication event to promote Scripture engagement and use. These include competitions for choirs, Bible reading during the ceremony, providing how-to-read-the-Bible guides, promoting audio materials and running Scripture Use seminars.  [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...]