Toward an Ethical Code in Bible Translation Consulting

Werner, Eberhard
One of the great unknowns remaining in Bible translation projects is a formal understanding of the ethical foundations needed for the consulting task. Although this is also true for consultants in anthropology, linguistics and related disciplines, the focus of this article will be on translation consulting. Ethical standards in Bible translation projects must also be examined regarding the translation team and other parties involved, but this article will focus on the consultant. To whom are consultants responsible? Is it to the initiating institution or organization, to the individual’s or a people group’s conscience, to God, to the translation team, or to the translation project? How do all parties know about their ethics? And, at the very least, how do the parties involved handle ethical considerations, such as disagreement, mutual aversion, rejection or cross-cultural differences? Because there is a void in this area, consultants and others involved often experience misunderstanding and distrust, and thus the quality of the Bible translation or the consulted product is at risk. This is caused by cross-cultural issues, divergent expectations about translation issues, vague job descriptions and understanding, lack of frameworks and planning, etc. Some of the difficulties that Bible translation projects face, and how these challenges could be overcome, will be addressed. The term “loyalty,” borrowed from functional translation approaches, will be introduced to the process of Bible translation consulting. Finally, a proposal toward an ethical statement of standards for consultants will be drafted.
Content Language:
Nature of Work:
pages 1-8
Entry Number:
48 941