The Role of Seminaries and Bible Colleges in the Bible Translation Movement

As the global church grows, so does the need for Bible translation. In fact, there are nearly 2,000 languages currently spoken which do not have a single verse of Scripture. The need is great, both for prayer, financial support, and people called to serve this work. Seminaries and bible colleges have a vital role to play in equipping those called to serve in this global ministry. 

More than Translators: The Need for Training

Most Bible translation organizations today use a project model that includes training native speakers of minority languages in biblical exegesis and translation practices. This is based on the idea that native speakers are much better equipped to translate into their own languages than ex-pat missionaries or others who have to spend years learning the target language before they can even begin a translation project

Unfortunately many countries with the greatest linguistic diversity and therefore greatest need for Bible translation are also those with the least number of training resources available. Organizations have addressed this disparity by leading condensed workshops for translation teams and bringing in skilled Bible translation consultants, exegetical advisors, and translation advisors to check translation drafts and provide additional training throughout the life of the project. 

There are many necessary roles involved in a successful translation team, and all of them require different skill sets and specialized education. Across the globe, seminaries and bible colleges are responding to this need. 

Bible Translation Majors and Fields of Study

Students who feel called to the work of Bible translation can explore the programs available in their area or bible translation training online. Major areas of study for a career in Bible translation include:

  • Applied Linguistics and Translation
  • Biblical Languages and Exegesis
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Global Arts and Ethnomusicology
  • Language Documentation
  • Missiology and Global Cultures

In addition to classroom and online instruction, many bible translation organizations recommend that students obtain field experience in their chosen field of study. Internships, short-term missions opportunities, and mentorships with Bible translation professionals are all great ways to gain this experience and find out what working in these careers is really like. 

Find a Bible College

If you’re interested in attending a bible college, peruse the many different bible colleges that offer degrees.