As more and more movements to Christ emerge among new people groups throughout the world, it has become apparent that there is a great need for Bible translation work since the Scriptures are not translated in many of the local languages.
Because of this great need, Global Teams has become globally involved in producing Bible translations as well as training and coordinating translation personnel and projects.
Since the scriptures are written to make God known to all nations and people, Global Teams strives for accuracy in relationship to the meaning being communicated, and appropriateness in relationship to the culture and understanding of the intended audience.
The aim of Global Teams’ Bible translation ministries is best summarized as:
The production of accurate and appropriate communication of the scriptures through written and oral translations of the Old and New Testaments, hand in hand with the active promotion of obedient engagement with the scriptures during and following the translation process.
Therefore, four key terms shape our understanding of translation:
Authority, Accuracy, Appropriateness, and Audience.
Authority & Accuracy
Along with the wider community of Bible translation agencies,
“we affirm the inspiration and authority of the Holy Scriptures and commit ourselves to translate the Scriptures accurately, without loss, change, distortion or embellishment of the meaning of the original text. Accuracy in Bible translation is the faithful communication, as exactly as possible, of that meaning, determined according to sound principles of exegesis.” (Cited from the Forum of Bible Agencies International, statement #11)
Our commitment to accuracy in translation flows from our deep trust in the authority of the scriptures. We recognize that the authoritative message of the scriptures is most fully embraced, obeyed and understood when accurate translation is also culturally appropriate.
This goal of accurate and appropriate communication requires careful analysis of the specific linguistic, cultural and religious factors that may cause potential misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the biblical text.
All translation personnel, and the translation consultants who advise them, are trained to identify these factors and work with translation teams as they seek to express the meaning of the biblical text and key terms in the clearest way possible.
Appropriateness & Audience
The cultural and linguistic contexts in which the Bible is being translated around the world are very diverse. Therefore, the specific cultural and linguistic factors of each situation may cause some aspects of certain translations to look very different in different contexts in order to actually communicate the same meaning of the biblical text faithfully to the respective audiences.
The audience does not determine the meaning of the message, but how the audience understands our initial drafts and samples will shape how we edit and change a translation. That’s to ensure that it communicates accurately in an appropriate way so as to minimize the misunderstanding and misapplication of the biblical message as much as possible.
Rigorous Checks in the Context of Actual Usage
In order to achieve the most accurate and appropriate translations humanly possible, every translation project goes through a number of stages in which there are rigorous checks and revisions by the team and by the consultants who work with them.
Whenever possible, this checking and revision is done in the context of actual usage of the scriptures in inductive bible studies, evangelistic storying, reproduction of churches and development of leaders.
At the same time, we ultimately rely upon the reality and ongoing work of God’s Spirit to change hearts, renew minds, and continually transform those who seek to hear and obey the scriptures.
An Incredible Translation Story!
In one closed country, no more than 1000 Bibles had ever been distributed. Trained professionals began a translation project, working alongside local leaders who knew the language inside and out.
These local language leaders did not yet believe but were asked to read this new translation and to share what they understood it to mean. This is just one way that the new translations are tested for accuracy.
In this case, these local leaders began their journey to belief in Christ as they helped with accuracy testing. By the time the translation was complete, many had committed their lives to Christ and had become a part of the emerging church!
Finally, it was time to go to print. The team wondered if a printing of 2000 Bibles was too large – it was twice the number of Bibles the country had ever seen in its language.
They decided to go ahead with the printing, and soon, every single copy was gone. They needed more.
A second printing of 5000 copies was distributed, and plans are in place for a third printing!
In this community, which is closed to outsiders, many Muslims and their religious leaders have come to understand Jesus by receiving the Word of God in their own language. Many have committed to Jesus’ teaching and have followed him into baptism.
Out of this new movement to Christ, over a dozen new house churches are growing. Our next step is to make this translation available on the Internet.
We’d love for you to learn more about how you can make a difference.