What once took decades to finish can 
now be accomplished in just a few years. 

5 STEPS TO TRANSLATING SCRIPTURE 

Seed Company’s “Common Framework” has transformed the way people approach the task of Bible translation. Watch the videos below for a better understanding of this process.

Discover

Translation projects begin when individuals or church communities ask for help making Scripture available in their language or when a language survey team identifies an opportunity within a community where no church currently exists.

STEP 1

STEP 2

Strategize

The next step is to plan the process by identifying what Scripture will be translated, what medium it will be made available in, who will do the work, how they will be trained and who will provide prayer and financial support.

STEP 3

Translate

Translation isn’t as simple as substituting one word for another. It is a complex process that involves an entire community of translators, community checkers and consultants who work together to ensure that the meaning of the finished text is both faithful to the original languages and clear to those who will make use of it.

STEP 4

Share

Teams begin sharing their work with the local community as soon as they receive approval from the consultants who check it. This means that even when a complete copy of the Bible won’t be available for months or years, local believers can begin using the books that have been translated right away.

STEP 5

Evaluate

Along the way, goals can change. A community that only wanted Scripture in an audio format may decide they want printed copies as well. A neighboring people group may decide they’d like to join the project team. Teams regularly evaluate their work to determine the best way to move toward the goal of making God’s message known.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Each translation uses approved translations in other local languages as reference works. The new translation is then checked against the original Hebrew and Greek texts to ensure accuracy.

What version of the Bible do you translate from?

Why not use Google translate?

While Google translate can be helpful when it comes to discovering the meaning of individual words, it often fails to clearly convey the meaning of larger blocks of text – even in languages which are widely spoken. Only human beings are capable of consistently providing clear, accurate context-appropriate translations of God’s Word.

Do you always start with the New Testament?

No. Many of the languages still in need of translation are spoken by people groups whose culture more closely resembles that of the Old Testament. For this reason, the easiest way to help individuals clearly connect the message to their own context is to begin with books like Genesis or Leviticus.

DID YOU KNOW?

Translating can be tricky business, since everyday animals, objects or events from the Bible may not have direct parallels in every people group. For example, a people group who has never seen a large body of water may require additional context in order to understand what it meant for a sailor to be caught in a storm or for Jesus to walk on water. 

Translators must make important decisions about whether to provide this context directly within the translation itself or as companion material within a glossary or notes section.

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