Key Features of TWFTW’s Training Program

  • Practice-oriented
  • An opportunity for early involvement in the translation process
  • Integrated
  • Holistic
  • Flexible
  • Recognized by an academic institution
  • An opportunity for academic progression in the student's country of residence
  • History of TWFTW’s training program

History of TWFTW’s Training Program

TWFTW’s training program started with completely non-formal training, when the first translators were trained in their own country (Zimbabwe). This developed into a period of formal training at the Africa School of Mission. A further development was decentralization of the training, in 1997. The program has now emerged as a combination of formal training, self-study and on-the-job training in the countries (or as close as possible to) where the would-be translators reside.

Purpose and Goals of the Training Program

The Word For The World (TWFTW) affords those who feel themselves called to Bible translation the opportunity of obtaining practice-orientated training. The program provides training for all the different participants involved in the translation process, viz. prospective Bible translators, testers, stylists and church leaders. There is no distinction between different standards of training, e.g. for nationals and expatriates, mother tongue or other tongue translators. The training is aimed at arousing the desire for lifelong learning and providing sufficient academic grounding to enable suitable candidates to proceed with further studies.

The training is practice-orientated while maintaining high academic standards. It is contextual vs. institutional, third world vs. western, mobile vs. residential, flexible vs. rigid. Trainees who successfully complete the training program are awarded a Diploma in Bible Translation (DBT).

Our training follows the principles stated in our mission statement:  

The mission of TWFTW is to enable persons, ministries and organizations from language communities that do not have the Bible in their own language yet to take responsibility for Bible translation and related activities and to ensure its availability and accessibility.  

As such our training is open to training Bible translators from other agencies.

Post-Graduate Opportunities

An opportunity for post-graduate studies is offered in partnership with the South African Theological Seminary (SATS). The BTh (honors), MTh and PhD programs are specifically aimed at enabling suitable candidates to develop their skills to become Bible translation consultants.

The Word For The World Diploma in Bible Translation (DBT)

1. Introduction

The Word For The World (WW) affords those who feel themselves called to Bible translation the opportunity of obtaining practice-oriented training. The program provides training for all the different participants involved in the translation process, viz. prospective Bible translators (including mother tongue translators), testers, stylists and church leaders.

The training program is designed in such a way that it not only provides for early involvement in the translation process, but its modular character affords the opportunity for sharpening translation skills as actual translation experience is increased.

The method of training is a combination of formal lectures, self-study under the guidance of a lecturer, and on–the-job training.

WW awards the Diploma in Bible Translation (DBT) when the requirements it has set have been met. This is seen as more than an academic qualification. It serves as a recommendation for the particular candidate for the task of Bible translation.

WW maintains high academic standards in its training through a process of moderation and by equipping formally appointed assessors.

2. Accreditation

WW has entered into a formal agreement with the South African Theological Seminary, (SATS), an accredited distance learning university in Johannesburg, according to which the DBT is fully recognized as the equivalent of its own diploma in Biblical Studies. Practically this means that the Diploma in Bible Translation will be a 252 credit program on level 5, which is equivalent to two years of university training. This enables WW students who have successfully completed the DBT to continue their studies towards a Bachelor degree in Theology (BTh 3-year) degree.

Prior studies and relevant experience may be taken into account in qualifying for the BTh program. After completing a BTh degree, students may enter a Master's degree program and subsequently a Ph.D. program.

3. Entrance Requirements

  • Recommended by a local church as being active and in good standing
  • Grade 12 or an equivalent standard of senior schooling
  • Three years of study at a theological institution approved by WW
  • These formal requirements may be waived on the grounds of practical involvement in a Bible translation project or experience in the church
  • A calling and a passion for Bible translation
  • Fluency in receptor language and ability to use it creatively if it is the mother tongue. Otherwise the willingness to develop a working knowledge of the receptor language
  • Love for receptor language and those who speak it
  • For students that do not meet the full entrance requirements or cannot fulfill all the requirements for the Diploma in Bible Translation, WW may present a certificate course in Bible Translation

4. Curriculum

The Diploma in Bible Translation is a practical course that is presented over a number of years. It typically consists of intensive modules completed in four weeks per year for four years as well as practical work and assignments completed between modules (a minimum of 250 credits).

View the DBT curriculum here.

5. Training of Testers and Stylists

The curriculum comprises introductory courses in Biblical Studies, Linguistics, Intercultural Communication, Bible Translation and Literary Studies.

6. Training of Church Leaders

Church leaders are persons with stature in their communities. In an effort to involve them in a translation in one of the languages spoken in their congregations, we also offer a certain amount of training for church leaders.
The curriculum for church leaders comprises introductory courses in Biblical Studies, Linguistics, Intercultural Communication and Bible Translation.

7. Fees

Tuition fees are payable according to annual budgeting.

8. Certification

The Diploma in Bible Translation is awarded to Bible translators who have successfully completed the following:

  • Grade 12, or an equivalent standard of senior schooling
  • A minimum of 2 years study at a theological institution approved by WW
  • The entire training program

Attendance certificates are awarded for the partial completion of the course.