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Consultants: The Next Generation

As more and more translation teams are trained, the more translation consultants are needed to work with them. Yet as demand for consultants increases, many of those currently serving are retiring or are rapidly approaching retirement age.

As some of you may know, I work as a Bible translation consultant with teams of translators in francophone Africa. My main role is to train local people to translate the Bible into their own languages and then to help them check their translation for accuracy against the original texts. As more and more translation teams are trained, the more translation consultants are needed to work with them. Yet as demand for consultants increases, many of those currently serving are retiring or are rapidly approaching retirement age. So as well as training translators, we are also in the process of training the next generation of translation consultants. I’m playing my part by mentoring Ada, a translation consultant-in-training from Romania, who lives and works in Madagascar. Over the last few years, she has sat in on translation checking sessions with me in Madagascar, at first just observing, then gradually gaining enough experience and confidence to begin to lead sessions herself, under the supervision of a qualified consultant. As part of her training to become a consultant, Ada has spent the last five months doing further biblical Hebrew studies with the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She is one of a group of 13 translation consultants and consultants-in-training from 9 different countries currently studying together and living at the Jerusalem Centre for Bible Translation (JCBT).  As well as studying the language, the students get to experience the land of the Bible for themselves-seeing, hearing, tasting-as they learn about the plants, the seasons, the landscape etc and visit lots of biblical sites. Of course, because of the restrictions on movement due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the group have had to do some of their learning online and were not able to make as many visits as planned, but they did get out and about in the last few weeks. Today, Tuesday 30 June, is the students’ graduation ceremony at the Hebrew University Campus in Jerusalem. Ada is one of the students featured in this video produced by JCBT, talking about what they have been learning during their time in Israel and how it will help them in their Bible translation tasks in the countries where they work, as soon as they are allowed to travel there that is…

The photo shows me with Ada and Henriette, one of the Tandrooy translators and two of the nuns who run the guest house where we were working.

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