BI's First Ever Conference for Translators

If your profession involves unique challenges that can only be understood by others in the same profession, you know how meaningful it is to work as a team or attend conferences where you can share your struggles and learn from others' successes. Our translators indeed face incredibly challenging issues as they seek to put the words of God into their languages. Still, many do not work in teams, and none of them have been able to attend translator conferences. They struggle with how to render such things as David's beautiful poetry, Solomon's terse proverbs, and Paul’s intricate logic. In addition, they face constant pressure from their churches to finish promptly. The question "Is it done yet?" rings constantly in their ears.

Imagine how thrilled the translators were when they heard that Bibles International would be hosting its first-ever translators' conference in Asia this past September! We had targeted 26 teams in Asia, but in the end, because of political complexities and civil unrest in various countries, only 10 teams were able to come. But these 10 teams were so extremely thankful for a week set aside to nourish them spiritually and mature them professionally. Thanks to large gifts from a few families, we were able to treat the translators to comfortable accommodations and a few special surprises.

We began the week with two days of the ministry of the Word by a local pastor, who masterfully exposited the Scriptures and skillfully made applications. He spoke from his heart to the hearts of the translators. We continued the spiritual emphasis through the rest of the week by interspersing devotions and times of prayer. In addition, we designated sessions to address some of their main challenges and to teach them how to use their translation tools more effectively and efficiently. Most sessions were led by experienced consultants, but the translators themselves did two. One of their sessions demonstrated effective Scripture engagement strategies. The other retold a journey from failure to success in working with the Read-and-Review Committee. This translator shared how he completed his Old Testament in 7.5 years, relating the significant sacrifices and, surprisingly, constant criticism from his people who could not understand why it took so long.

Our translators are certainly "in the trenches" of the Bible translation work, so it gave me great delight to pour out God's blessings upon them for one week. In addition to our times of learning and prayer, we also laughed together, toured the nearby city's downtown for one evening, and formed or strengthened lifelong relationships. This conference will certainly have a ripple effect that will continue for many years to come. Pray that if it would be God's will, He would provide the funds so that we can do it for the almost 30 other translation teams in the BI world. Our translators all need to experience at least one of these conferences during their work with BI to renew their resolve and be equipped to finish strongly.