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Our Process of Bible Translation

We at TWFTW Asia and our partners in the region adhere to a strict process of Bible translation to ensure (1) accuracy to the original text (2) naturalness to the reader and (3) acceptability by the people.


The following is an outline of the process we follow in order to satisfy these three key criteria in our translations.



Before starting a project, there are a number of important questions that need answering: Does this language community need their own translation? Will this language be spoken in another generation or two? After a thorough sociolinguistic survey, done in partnership with the local community, a decision to start the project can be made.



We (the foreigners/outsiders) do not translate the Bible! We recruit mother tongue speakers of the languages, normally given to us by the local church, who will serve their communities as full time translators. We also assist the language communities in recruiting literacy teachers, coordinators and review committee members.



Nothing we do could be possible without partnerships. We have our prayer partners, financial partners, resource partners and ministry partners and one of the most essential being partners on the ground who know and understand the felt needs of the people.



One of the major aspects of a project is training. Two major types of training are: (1) Diploma in Bible Translation training: Students undergo 4 to 5 years of on the job training, taking up a variety of linguistic, theological and translation related subjects (20 in total). Once they have completed their training, they would have almost finished their New Testaments and graduate with a recognized Diploma. (2) Review Committee Training: Community members in a language group are chosen to act as reviewers and overseers of the ongoing translation work and are trained in the process of Bible translation, basic linguistics and translation principles. 



Obviously, this is one of the major aspects of a translation project, and it is on this task that the translators spend most of their time. A typical translation project takes 10—15 years to complete, from the start right up until publication. Translators normally start with the Gospel of Mark and then move on to Acts of the Apostles, followed by the rest of the New Testament and then the Old Testament, with the publication of individual books in-between



The Word of God, needs to be accurate (i.e. it does not add, omit or change the meaning of the original), acceptable (the translation should be accepted by the people) and natural (it should sound like their language and their way of speaking). Numerous checks and balances exist to ensure this, including but not limited to: team checking, community checking, review committee checking, exegetical checking and consultant checking.



After all the checks have been done, the manuscript goes for typesetting , then publishing, dedication and distribution. 

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