Diploma in Bible Translation

Our Diploma in Bible Translation programme is a result of 30+ years experience in training Bible Translators. It is an interdisciplinary course which was developed in South Africa and is now offered in Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia.  

1. Introduction

The Word For The World (TWFTW) 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, church leaders, exegetes and linguists. 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 DBT training programme 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.  It is a practical course that is presented over a number of years. The method of training is a combination of formal lectures, self-study under the guidance of a lecturer, and on–the-job training.   Typically, we have 4-6 weeks of intensive modules per year for four and a half years or 2 x 3 weeks per year over 3 years together with practical work and assignments.

TWFTW 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.

2. Curriculum

The curriculum comprises introductory courses in Biblical Studies, Bible Translation, Applied Linguistics, Cultural Anthropology, Christian Leadership, Applied Computer Skills.  20+ subjects are grouped into the following subject areas:

  • Bible Translation
  • Practical Bible Translation
  • Reading and Understanding the Bible
  • Applied Linguistics
  • Language and Community
  • Christian Leadership
  • Applied Computer and Study Sills

View the complete DBT curriculum here

3. Accreditation

Our Diploma in Bible Translation is recognised by several academic institutions.
The distance education institution SATS (South African Theological Seminary)  exempts DBT graduates from a number of undergraduate courses. They can complete a BTh degree programme in their country of residence through distance education at SATS. After completing a BTh Honours they can enrol in our MTh in Bible Translation Consultation and study for a PhD in Theology with the focus of Bible Translation.

In Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Theological College in Addis Ababa exempts DBT graduates from a number of undergraduate and degree level courses.

In North East India, DBT graduates are awarded a Diploma, BA or MA in Bible Translation by Martin Luther university in Shillong depending on their prior education.

4. 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 TWFTW
  • 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, TWFTW may present a certificate course in Bible Translation

We consider applications from those who do not satisfy all entrance requirements on a case by case basis. Download a leaflet about the Diploma in Bible Translation here.  To apply or for more information contact us.

Master of Theology in Bible Translation Consultation

We partner with the South African Theological Seminary (SATS) in offering an MTh programme in Bible Translation Consultation.  This provides an opportunity for practice-oriented training in this field.  SATS is a distance education institution.  Students study in the country where they live.



Our Master of Theology programme in Bible Translation Consultation combines academic studies with practical experience. It can be commenced  throughout  the year and started in any country.  For more information about the programme contact us.  


Worldwide the demand for Bible translation consultants is great. In the Bible translation process, the checking of draft translations with such an expert is the bottleneck that often leads to delay in providing translated scriptures to communities in which no scriptures as yet exist.  Our MTh programme in Bible Translation Consultation is a practice-oriented opportunity for national translators and expatriate candidates to qualify as Bible Translation consultants.  Our graduates accelerate Bible translation as they assist translators to bring a faithful translation of God's Word to their own people without unnecessary delays.