5 Innovative Approaches to Bible Translation
June 12, 2024

Every week Christ-seeking hearts are left unfulfilled and wondering if Jesus is both the Son of God and their Savior, then, why doesn’t He speak their language? Churches by the thousands are without His life-giving Word in a language that speaks directly to their hearts - one billion people still live in Bible poverty. 

But, the tide is turning. Indigenous Bible translation work explodes around the globe as Christians unite to fulfill the Great Commission. 

5 ways The Word for the World uniquely responds:

Mother-tongue approach

Since our founding in the 1980’s, The Word for the World has believed Bible translation should be an indigenous movement, owned and generated by the local community and supported through the church. Indigenous speakers serve as translators after intentional mentorship and a five-year comprehensive training program called the Diploma in Bible Translation. Equipped translators can become project coordinators, exegetes, linguists, consultants, or trainers. They are also equipped to set up new projects. 

Community/church ownership

The Word for the World’s unique approach to provide God’s Word to the local church is to provide God’s Word through the local church. Community ownership is emphasized from project inception by focusing on serving the decision-makers and augmenting local church work. Churches select capable men and women from within the community to become translators. This powerful and integrative approach is key to long-term Scripture use and engagement.

Cluster approach

The Word for the World engages multiple culturally and linguistically similar language groups to form clusters of between two and ten (or more) languages. Budget efficiency is harnessed as costs are shared over many teams during training and workshops. 

Group Consultant Checking

The Word for the World pioneered a new approach in Africa and South Asia by empowering senior consultants to oversee up to ten translation teams from the same language cluster. This powerful collaboration fosters creativity and problem-solving while enhancing both time and financial efficiency.

Indigenous infrastructure

Building an indigenous infrastructure takes priority for all translation projects. Initial support, provided by The Word for the World, includes training, resources, leadership, guidelines, and fundraising. Our teams gradually transition out, which enables locals to sustainably manage Bible translation independently. As projects mature, The Word for the World trainers withdraw, leaving local leadership to operate autonomously. Throughout the entire process, locals are mentored and empowered to take full responsibility for every aspect of the project.

Bible translation is the very heartbeat of discipleship, and discipleship is the very heartbeat of God. Be part of this adventurous and innovative movement.

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