Biblical research and translation scholarship at the Nida Institute continually refresh and improve ABS’s line of products and services. Thanks to several provisions and venues for such research and scholarship, the Institute also advances translation studies, critically examines religious discourse, and advocates for new approaches to the theory and practice of Bible translation, particularly as they bear on non-print translation. Among these provisions and venues are the Nida School of Translation Studies and the annual Translation Studies Research Symposium.
The Institute’s approach to translation research is influenced by recent and interrelated developments in our contemporary world: globalization and localization, migration and inter-culturalism as well as the redefinition and redistribution of communication resources across the internet and within social media and oral cultures. As a result of these forces, the Institute research queries traditional concepts of translation and established patterns of translation studies, especially as they are bound to the printed page. The Institute’s research program has a trans-disciplinary nature and scope that taps into all academic and professional fields for conceptual models and research data. It treats models and data as powerful epistemological tools for reading, understanding, and assessing cultural exchange.
The Institute’s research has a focus on Bible translation as a special case of translating religious discourse. While respecting and adapting traditional theories and models, the Institute knows that theories of translation, including theories of Bible translation, arise at particular moments in history, enjoy a shorter or longer period of favor, then yield the stage to updated theories.
The Institute’s updated approach will borrow heavily from well-established functional theories such as skopostheorie but boost their flexibility and efficiency. This revised theory will replace a rigid and universal model of production, assessment, training, and research. It will lead to context-sensitive approaches that champion local needs and celebrate local cultural values. It will support a concept of translation that accommodates local requests and norms for products other than print. Crucially, it will grant non-print products the same dignity and status and programmatic support as traditional print products have enjoyed.