I thought a Bible translator was...

One of the bottlenecks in Bible translation is a shortage of consultants.  In lots of places around the world the Bible translators are already out there (in their own language communities).  Those are what we call Mother Tongue Translators. They might need some training, but they are there.  But there are not enough consultants!  I can think of many young consultants in training who first got involved through Discovery.  Monica Moss is one example, she went to Mozambique on a Discovery internship in 2010 when she was an undergrad student.  

Monica & Lisa Discovering Metical
And now, after a couple years experience working in Mozambique, she is getting further training as a consultant. 
This is how Monica explains it...  

"Before I went overseas, I thought of a Bible translator as a foreigner who lives among a people group for 30 or 40 years, learns the language and then translates the Bible with the help of a few nationals. Until recently, this would have been a fairly accurate description. But God has been doing a new thing. Today the national people are able and eager to take a larger role in bringing God's Word to their own communities in their own language.

The Chuwabo translators outside the office
Today, a translation team is usually made up of four mother tongue translators. They are insiders of the language and cultural context. This team drafts a book of the Bible and gets feedback from the community.

Once a draft is completed, the team meets with a translation consultant. Together they go verse by verse to check for accuracy compared to the Greek or Hebrew--making sure nothing has been added, nothing left out and that the meaning is clear. The consultant is an important resource to help the translators understand the original meaning and render this in their own language. 

As you can see, a translation consultant plays a vital role in ensuring the validity and meaningfulness of a translation. This is why it is so important for me to complete further studies in Greek and Hebrew, so I can best advise translators.

Too often Bible translations are delayed because there is no consultant available."  

To learn more about what consultants do, read the rest of Monica's blog post.


Anonymous said…
I tried to click the link for the blog post, but it doesn't seem to work.
Sorry about that. I've updated the link and it should be working now.

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