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 programme 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.

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

TWFTW is a registered candidate for membership at the Asia Theological Association with view of accreditation of the Diploma in Bible Translation in the near future.

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. To apply or for more information contact us.

Consultant Development Programme

TWFTW has developed this programme to address the bottleneck due to the lack of Bible translation consultants. The objective is to produce qualified practice-oriented consultants in order to improve and ensure the quality of the translations we produce. All candidates on the programme need to have a master’s degree, or to be pursuing one, in a relevant discipline, such as biblical studies, biblical languages, linguistics, or cross cultural studies. TWFTW subscribes to the Forum of Bible Agencies International consultant requirements

Each candidate’s progress is plotted on a growth plan. The candidate must initially be recognised as a consultant-in-training (CIT). The minimum requirement for a CIT is a bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline, such as those mentioned above. The candidate then needs to develop in the various competencies mentioned on the growth plan. The CIT will be assigned to a supervisor and one or more mentors to assist them in their development towards becoming a qualified consultant who can work independently. Gaps in academic development are usually addressed by enrolling in various courses (preferably with local academic institutions). Practical experience is achieved by attending field-based exegetical checking and by involvement in one or more Bible translation projects, including several mentored sessions with a qualified Bible translation consultant. Depending on a CIT’s level of experience in Bible translation this will require a minimum of four mentored sessions.  For more information on this programme please contact us.