Translation

Translation specialists support language communities in gaining access to information and literature from other languages and cultures.

Translation specialist

Translation specialists bring a wide range of skills and expertise to language development projects where translation is a critical component. They must understand every aspect of the translation process, from initial exegesis to draft through publication, and be able to evaluate drafts of translated materials. They must generally have a working knowledge of linguistics, and be familiar with phonology, orthography design, morphosyntax, discourse analysis, semantics, and pragmatics. 

SIL translation specialists frequently teach and train local community members in translation principles and procedures. They are often called on to help manage overall aspects of a language development program when translation forms a large part of the program. 

SIL translation specialists must generally hold at least an undergraduate degree. In addition, SIL requires satisfactory performance in courses equivalent to the following SIL standard courses: 

  • Articulatory Phonetics
  • Computer Data Management
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Language and Culture Learning
  • Language and Society
  • Linguistic Field Methods
  • Morphology and Syntax
  • Phonology
  • Semantics and Pragmatics
  • Translation Principles, Theory and Practice

In addition, SIL requires the following additional training, to be completed before undertaking significant work in relevant areas of responsibility:

  • Discourse Analysis
  • Language Project Design and Management
  • Training Across Cultures

For those working in Biblical translation projects, SIL also requires the following: 

  • Biblical Background Studies
  • Biblical Exegesis
  • Biblical Language studies sufficient to use available exegetical resources

Exegetical advisor

Translation projects involving sacred texts involve special challenges. In such situations it is frequently helpful to have a team member who is an expert in the source text. Exegetical advisors have in-depth knowledge of the source text and languages. They make sure the source text meanings are clearly understood throughout the translation process. 

Exegetical advisors must have completed advanced studies (usually an advanced degree) in one or more biblical languages. They must also have extensive exegetical studies. In addition, the following SIL standard courses or their equivalents are required: 

  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Language and Culture Learning
  • Language and Society
  • Morphology and Syntax
  • Semantics and Pragmatics
  • Translation Principles, Theory and Practice
  • Biblical Backgrounds
  • Discourse Analysis

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