About Pioneer Bible Translators
The Process of Bible Translation
Bible translation is foundational to fulfilling Jesus’ command to disciple the nations. Pioneer Bible Translators desires to see churches using Scripture to grow, mature, and multiply in every language community on Earth. Having the Bible in a language that speaks clearly to both heart and mind is essential to this Kingdom expansion.
Bible translation is collaborative work, with missionaries coming alongside members of local communities. Together they follow a rigorous process that adheres to standards established by the Forum of Bible Agencies International. This ensures that translated Scripture is clear, accurate, and natural sounding — a quality rendering of God’s Word.
The Bible Translation Process
Create the First Draft.
Bible translation begins with a first draft, usually produced by national translators.
Review the draft for accuracy and clarity.
This vital step involves going through the draft line by line, word by word, to ensure that the meaning of the original Hebrew and Greek texts is expressed clearly in the local language.
Test the revised draft in the community to be sure that its meaning is clear and accurate.
After a section of Scripture — a story, a chapter, a short book like Ruth or Jonah — has been drafted and revised, team members begin sharing it in their communities. First they read it, and then they facilitate discussion that can reveal whether any sections are unclear or easily misunderstood. More significantly, people begin hearing the Word of God in their own language for the first time ever.
Verify the translation with trained consultants.
The final step in the translation process is to have the text checked by an experienced consultant who is an expert in Biblical languages and in detecting linguistic and cultural matters that may still need to be addressed. The consultant’s feedback may lead to additional revisions that must be made before the translation can be published.
Publish the translation.
When all these steps have been successfully completed, a translation is ready to be published. If it will be published in print format, it will be typeset and sent to a printer. If these Scriptures will be published in audio format, a recording voiced by local people will be produced. If the translation is in a signed language for a Deaf community, it will be published in a video format.
Completing this process can take many years, but the result is a faithful and accurate translation of God’s Word for people who previously did not have it.
Though some aspects of the process are as varied as the people and places we serve, our goal is the same everywhere: to make it possible for people to hear God’s Word with clarity in words they can understand.