Translanguaging: Leveraging Multilingualism for Scripture Engagement

Translanguaging: Leveraging Multilingualism for Scripture Engagement
In The Bible Translator, Vol 73, Issue 1, 2022
Author: Timothy Hatcher, Sangsok Son (2022)

Translanguaging as both a theoretical and andragogical lens respects established language-use preferences of end users and seeks to create engagement opportunities that correspond most naturally to a community’s current language-use patterns. Use of Scripture should mirror language-use patterns observed elsewhere in the culture. More indigenous approaches to language use can lead to deeper engagement with Scripture.

Members of multilingual communities conceptualize language differently from the way monolinguals do. Most Bible agencies model monolingual approaches to engaging with the Bible. Some agencies emphasize gateway languages while others highlight vernacular languages. Many multilinguals prefer an unbounded, performative approach to languages that reflects their dynamic, hybridized identities; one term for this is translanguaging. Translanguagers make meaning by using words from their full linguistic repertoire. Using translanguaging theory and methodologies, Bible agencies can model Scripture engagement approaches that more naturally correspond to the language practices of many multilinguals.

The article is available in The Bible Translator journal (Vol 73, Issue 1, 2022, pages 120-140) and also directly from the author on request. Please write to Tim Hatcher (

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