Translation for Tomorrow

The world of Bible translation is changing. Fast.

Today, Bible translators must be equipped with fresh skills and knowledge to meet the demands of the 21st century, from in-depth comprehension of local and global languages to a thorough understanding of cultural nuance to an effective ability to employ new technologies. Much of this work has fallen on the shoulders of local translators in the Global South, who need access to the best new tools and innovations in the world of translation in order to achieve their goal. 

That’s why the Nida Institute exists: to equip the next generation of translators for the multi-faceted work of Bible translation. Through training programs and collaborative initiatives, often facilitated by ABS’s International Ministries, Nida is providing state-of-the-art support to translators and Bible agencies within a partnership network that includes organizations such as SIL International, The Seed Company, Biblica, and Bible League International, in addition to the United Bible Societies and a growing number of national Bible Societies. 

“The Nida Institute understands its mission is to foster translation leaders,” explains James Maxey, Associate Dean of the Nida Institute. “We do this by first listening to what the needs of translation communities are and then shaping the translation training to meet those needs by using the latest technologies and theories through a variety of learning activities.” 

Through its Nida School of Bible Translation initiative, the Institute trains translation consultants in small, highly interactive classes, whether gathered at its campus in Misano Adriatico, Italy, or in other varied venues spread across five continents. Students take courses ranging from anthropology to translation theory to software tools for translation, with face-to-face seminars being extended through the use of a distance-learning platform designed to promote ongoing engagement and interaction with the material both before and after the week-long event. 

Specialized classes offer training to translators working in particular regions, such as French-speaking Africa or the Spanish-speaking Americas. Other seminars provide insight on translating the Bible into a variety of media formats, including voice recording and film. 

“The Nida School provides a great opportunity not only for learning about a broad range of issues related to translation, but also for building community with other translation scholars and practitioners,” says Bryan Harmelink, International Translation Coordinator with SIL.

Maxey explains that the most urgent need in Bible translation is to train translators who are equipped to do Bible translation work in an era of social and religious complexity. The Nida Institute is able to directly address that need, so that the next generation is fully equipped to provide the Bible where it is needed most around the world.