Translation Training Resources

Listed below are the training resources we are creating.

Each resource is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 License.

TRAINING RESOURCES

Grammatical Concepts

unfoldingWord® Grammatical Concepts (UGC)

A basic explanation of grammatical concepts which applies across languages. It enables users of the UGG, UHG and UAG who have not had formal training in biblical languages to understand the more basic grammatical concepts.

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Status: In Progress

This work is designed by unfoldingWord® and developed by the Door43 World Missions Community; it is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Creative Commons Attribution CCA

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Translation Academy

unfoldingWord® Translation Academy (UTA)

A modular handbook that provides a condensed explanation of Bible translation and checking principles that the global Church has implicitly affirmed define trustworthy translations. It enables translators to learn how to create trustworthy translations of the Bible in their own language.

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Status: Released

This work is designed by unfoldingWord® and developed by the Door43 World Missions Community; it is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Creative Commons Attribution CCA

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Translation Guidelines

The following statement on the principles and procedures used in translation is subscribed to by unfoldingWord and its contributors. All translation activities are carried out according to these common guidelines.

  1. Accurate — Translate accurately, without detracting from, changing, or adding to the meaning of the original text. Translated content should faithfully communicate as precisely as possible the meaning of the original text as it would have been understood by the original audience.
  2. Clear — Use whatever language structures are necessary to achieve the highest level of comprehension. This includes rearranging the form of a text and using as many or as few terms as necessary to communicate the original meaning as clearly as possible.
  3. Natural — Use language forms that are effective and that reflect the way your language is used in corresponding contexts.
  4. Faithful — Avoid any political, denominational, ideological, social, cultural, or theological bias in your translation. Use key terms that are faithful to the vocabulary of the original biblical languages. Use equivalent common language terms for the biblical words that describe the relationship between God the Father and God the Son. These may be clarified, as needed, in footnotes or other supplemental resources.
  5. Authoritative — Use the original language biblical texts as the highest authority for translation of biblical content. Reliable biblical content in other languages may be used for clarification and as intermediary source texts.
  6. Historical — Communicate historical events and facts accurately, providing additional information as needed in order to accurately communicate the intended message to people who do not share the same context and culture as the original recipients of the original content.
  7. Equal — Communicate the same intent as the source text, including expressions of feeling and attitudes. As much as possible, maintain the different kinds of literature in the original text, including narrative, poetry, exhortation, and prophecy, representing them with corresponding forms that communicate in a similar way in your language.
Identifying and Managing Translation Quality

The quality of a translation generally refers to the fidelity of the translation to the meaning of the original, and the degree to which the translation is understandable and effective for the speakers of the receptor language. The strategy we suggest involves checking the forms and communicative quality of the translation with the language community, and checking the fidelity of the translation with the Church in that people group.

The specific steps involved may vary significantly, depending on the language and context of the translation project. Generally, we consider a good translation to be one that has been reviewed by the speakers of the language community and also by the leadership of the church in the language group so that it is:

  1. Accurate, Clear, Natural, and Equal — Faithful to the intended meaning of the original, as determined by the Church in that people group and in alignment with the Church global and historical, and consequently:
  2. Affirmed by the Church - Endorsed and used by the Church.

We also recommend that the translation work be:

  1. Collaborative — Where possible, work together with other believers who speak your language to translate, check, and distribute the translated content, ensuring that it is of the highest quality and available to as many people as possible.
  2. Ongoing — Translation work is never completely finished. Encourage those who are skilled with the language to suggest better ways to say things when they notice that improvements can be made. Any errors in the translation should also be corrected as soon as they are discovered. Also encourage the periodic review of translations to ascertain when revision or a new translation is needed. We recommend that each language community form a translation committee to oversee this ongoing work. Using the unfoldingWord online tools, these changes to the translation can be made quickly and easily.

Each of these is described in more detail in unfoldingWord® Translation Academy.

Stories From the Field

  • Trust God and Get Going

    • September 11, 2023

    “God, this is your journey, your work. Please help us get out of here.” Let’s imagine that your family and close friends have a passing acquaintance with the message of Jesus, and some might even be b...

  • Critical Tools for Courageous Translators

    • August 03, 2023

    The global demand for Bible translation far exceeds the capacity of existing Bible translation agencies. Doing translation in dangerous places makes it doubly difficult. That’s why members of the illu...

  • Meesha's Story

    • July 03, 2023

    In the Republic of Iran, for the church to be planted, discipled, and grown, more than 60 people groups need a Bible translation in their own language. May was Iran’s bloodiest month in the last five...

  • UKRAINE: Bomb Shelter Bible Translation

    • July 03, 2023

    Ukrainian Great Commission partners are translating unfoldingWord’s suite of Bible translation tools to make God’s Word accessible to more than 540 languages spoken across the countries of the former ...

  • All 27 New Testament Book Packages Complete

    • August 08, 2023

    It used to take western experts at least 20 years to translate the New Testament into a Bible-less language. Now, every bilingual church-planting network has access to the open-license English tools t...

  • Making God's Word Accessible to Ordinary People

    • September 11, 2023

    Sofia Ivanov speaks on the impact of unfoldingWord’s Bible Translation tools  Editor’s Note: Sofia Ivanov* is a project manager for unfoldingWord’s Eurasian Whole Bible, Whole Nation partner. Her thou...

  • Saved While Escaping

    • October 02, 2023

    “I was a terrible husband for the first fifteen years of our marriage. Every weekend, I would get drunk, abuse my wife, and ridicule her. We mistreated each other terribly,” said Siroos. “But God amaz...

  • Man on the Run

    • July 03, 2023

    Asim* serves on the Bible translation audio-video team for unfoldingWord’s Whole Bible, Whole Nation partner in Sudan. They use Bible translation as part of their church-planting strategy for 133 unre...

  • Ten Times Faster

    • March 14, 2023

    Imagine you are ordering a new internet connection or cable TV or maybe something new from Amazon and you get the message saying, “Your town is too remote and we can’t serve your area at this time. We...

  • Meet Amy & Priscilla

    • March 14, 2023

    unfoldingWord operates as a catalyst for the Church-Centric Bible Translation movement. We collaborate as part of the body of Christ to develop and implement strategies and unrestricted biblical resou...

  • Jeremiah and the Occult King

    • May 04, 2023

    When Jeremiah* first heard that his Chadian church-planting network needed his help translating unfoldingWord® Open Bible Stories (OBS), he was skeptical. “I thought Bible stories were for children, l...

  • The Exponential Journey

    • April 10, 2023

    Khartoum, Sudan, April 2021. I was sitting in a small hotel conference room with the leaders of Greater Reach Alliance and half a dozen representatives of unreached Sudanese people groups. We were ta...

  • Chad's Unreached Receive the Gospel with Joy!

    • June 05, 2023

    “Giving Jesus to any human being is the best gift you can give to that person. Only the gospel can change the ugliness of man,” says Jeremiah,* one of the Chadian leaders of CCGP,* unfoldingWord’s chu...

  • Iran: Bibles in every language

      ...

    • Escape from Kharkiv

      • June 13, 2022

      BAM! A rocket penetrates a building, shattering windows and shaking foundations. Clatter! Bomb debris splatters cars, building façades, and adjacent roofs. Bang-Bang-Bang! The jackhammer staccato of A...

    • Innovation in Bible Translation

      • March 13, 2023

      unfoldingWord catalyzes innovation in Bible translation. Your gifts and prayers are enabling remarkable new developments! One of those is happening in a state in Asia. It began with translationCore. ...

    • Breakthrough in Chad

      • July 04, 2022

      Three churches were birthed when a local chieftain, who formerly combined Islam and the occult, came to Christ. In the another community, new believers were baptized, and two new churches were planted...

    • OVERCOMING the ODDS for 300,000 PEOPLE

      • April 06, 2022

      The challenge Pastor Manish was facing seemed insurmountable. His 300,000-member South Asian mountain people group desperately needs Scripture in the language they understand best. Pastor Manish, an e...

    • Ruska Roma celebrate first Scripture in their language

      • September 20, 2021

      EASTERN UKRAINE — To Stephen K., holding a Ruska Roma translation of 3 John means more than a chance to celebrate with his Roma friends. It’s the answer to 10 years of prayer.  In April, a team of fou...

    • Escape from Kharkiv

      • June 28, 2022

      BAM! A rocket penetrates a building, shattering windows and shaking foundations. Clatter! Bomb debris splatters cars, building façades, and adjacent roofs. Bang-Bang-Bang! The jackhammer staccato of A...