Research

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, localization, migration and interculturalism, 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’s 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 borrows heavily from well-established functional theories, such as skopos theory, but aims to boost their flexibility and efficiency. This revised perspective replaces a rigid and universal model of production, assessment, training, and research, leading toward context-sensitive approaches that champion local needs and celebrate local cultural values. It supports a concept of translation that accommodates local requests and norms for products other than print. Crucially it grants non-print products the same dignity, status and programmatic support that traditional print products have long enjoyed.