Bible Translation Projects

Religious discourse translation – more specifically, Bible translation – lies at the very heart of the mission that the Nida Institute and its parent organization, American Bible Society, carry out. The Nida Institute entrusts this work to a Translations Unit that collaborates extensively with its project partners.

Bible translation at the Nida Institute covers both domestic and international projects. Insights are drawn not only from the discipline of translation studies, but also from biblical scholarship, cross-cultural communication, anthropology, and linguistics, and applied to the practical work of translation.

Domestically, projects include the translation of the Bible into Native American languages. In 2012, translation of the Yupik Bible was successfully completed, after two decades of dedicated work by the team in Bethel, Alaska. Currently, staff are involved in translation and revision projects in both the Lakota (Sioux) and Choctaw languages. Teamwork is the hallmark of these projects because they depend on the work of mother tongue translators and readers, as well as on the expertise of translation and biblical scholars who exegetical help and technical support. 

Internationally, staff recently helped complete revisions of the Bible in Vietnamese and Chinese. They are now helping to prepare and publish scholarly resources for Chinese-speaking Bible translators, as well as for Chinese audiences in general.

Translation staff keep up to date with research and scholarship in the academic discipline of translation studies, to which their work belongs and to which they bring unique skill sets, subject matter expertise, and professional experience. They also participate actively in professional meetings and conferences devoted to the advancement of biblical scholarship. At home in many cultures and comfortable working in multiple languages, both ancient and modern, staff bring an encyclopedic knowledge of translation theory and practice to the academy, church, and Bible Societies. They contribute invaluable field data from around the world to those engaged in translation studies, expanding and deepening perspectives previously based primarily on observations of only European languages and projects.