Translation Consultant

Position Description for Translation Consultant
Bibles International Division of Baptist Mid-Missions
Revised December 2011

Position Title: Translation Consultant

 Objectives of Position:

  1. Maintain good functional and personal interaction with participants in Text Production and in other relationships with Bibles International, Baptist Mid-Missions and national groups.
  2. Facilitate the production of translation manuscripts and translation helps which are of the highest quality, conforming to Bibles International standards and policies.

Responsible to:

  1. For field tasks, the Field Translation Coordinator (where applicable); otherwise, Chief Translation Consultant
  2. For non-field tasks, the Chief Translation Consultant

Responsible for:

Supporting the Scripture translation activity of the missionary and national translators assigned to him or her and facilitating the Bible translators’ field work by consultation with them on linguistics, biblical languages, exegesis, and Bible translation principles and methods.


  1. During translation workshops, check the accuracy of the translation draft in face-to-face sessions with individual translators or with groups of translators. Check for accuracy in exegesis, accuracy in representing the "meaning" of the biblical text, and accuracy of the fit in the target language. Ensure that the Bibles International Translation Principles and Standards are followed.
  2. Provide accurate workshop reports as specified by Bibles International to the Projects Department.
  3. Provide written recommendation that any Bible text presented for publication satisfactorily meets the quality standards appropriate for its present stage of production.
  4. Recruit national and expatriate translators.
  5. Help qualify and train new translators as necessary, and update present translators in principles of hermeneutics and principles and methods of Bibles translation.
  6. Develop and guide translators to training programs available to them. The initial and on-going training of the translators is invaluable to the high quality translation work required by Bibles International.
  7. Help to develop an exegetical library for translators and to develop a file of translator helps and checklists.
  8. Research and produce translation tools for translators and consultants
  9. Keep the Field Translation Coordinator informed of progress, needs and problems on all projects with which he/she works.
  10. Represent Bibles International in churches and other meetings as schedule and resources permit.
  11. Continue to upgrade personal exegetical, linguistic and translation skills.
  12. Research and produce translator helps that are assigned.
  13. Verify the accuracy and usefulness of the translation helps.


The objectives of the position will be fulfilled most successfully by a person with these qualifications.

  1. Character and gifts:
    1. Personal commitment to Jesus Christ, to His commission and to His Word.
    2. Deep burden for the ministry of Bible translation
    3. Spiritual and emotional maturity demonstrated by integrity, objectivity and intellectual honesty.
    4. Interest and ability in biblical exegesis and teaching.
    5. Ability to spend long hours on detail work.
    6. Ability to resolve inter-personal conflicts biblically.
    7. Ability to work with consultants and translators, administration, and be a team player.
    8. Willingness to travel and operate under less than ideal conditions for weeks at a time.
    9. Ability to communicate thoughts clearly and to teach effectively
  2. Academic preparation:
    1. Undergraduate degree, with the following qualifications preferred:
      1. Degree concentrations:
        1. Missions
        2. Biblical languages
        3. Communication
        4. Cultural Anthropology (from a Christian perspective)
      2. Specific areas of coursework:
        1. Bible and theology, with emphasis on exegesis/hermeneutics
        2. Communication, both verbal and written, including cross-cultural communication
        3. Foreign language
        4. Linguistics
        5. Cultural anthropology (from a Christian perspective)
        6. Psychology, especially educational psychology
        7. Translation theory, focus on Bible translation
    2. Master of Arts in Bible Translation degree or equivalent with proficiency in Greek and/or Hebrew.
      1. Areas of particular interest are Bible translation theory and practice, biblical language(s), biblical hermeneutics and exegesis, historical and cultural background of the Bible, systematic and biblical theology, and missions (especially cross-cultural dynamics); textual criticism is helpful but not absolutely necessary.
        1. In reference to biblical languages, the minimum standard expected is a basic knowledge of the morphology, syntax and discourse structure of the language; the ability to make use of lexicons, other technical reference materials (e.g., grammars, word studies), and technical commentaries (i.e., commentaries that discuss the original language); the ability to read the original text with understanding (with minimal help from reference tools); and a commitment to use and develop this knowledge. Such proficiency usually requires at least two years of graduate level training in the language. Therefore, additional training beyond a MA in BT will probably be needed.
    3. Linguistics training of at least 6 courses in linguistics.
      1. Areas of particular interest are phonetics and phonology, morphology, syntax/grammar, discourse, semantics and pragmatics, typology, sociolinguistics, cultural anthropology, language acquisition, field methods, literacy, and lexicography.
      2. Recommended linguistics training track: Summer Linguistics Program at Bob Jones University and then 2-3 advanced linguistics courses at another institution. 
    4. Training and reading in translation theory and practice.
    5. Speaking and reading fluency in a language other than English, with French and Spanish preferred, and Portuguese as a possible secondary choice.
  3. Experience:
    1. Biblical exegesis and teaching.
    2. At least one overseas trip to observe and/or participate in a Bible translation ministry.
  4. Missionary appointment by Baptist Mid-Missions.

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