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Imagine you are rushing into a meeting. As you get to the door, the speaker says: “Notre vision est de promouvoir des mouvements de formation autonomes dans le monde entier pour équiper bibliquement les dirigeants des Églises». What would you do? Wrong meeting? Wrong speaker? What are they saying? Can’t they say it in English?
(This is iTEE Global Vision Statement translated in French). Translation makes communication possible regardless of the different languages, cultures and backgrounds and helps to break down language barriers. Today several computer applications are facilitating translation in different languages.

Communication Without Barriers

There are an estimated 8 billion people in the world, speaking over 7,000 languages according to Linguistic Society of America. As believers of Jesus Christ, how do we preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and make disciple makers? To our benefit, the Bible has been translated into many languages initially from the biblical languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. As of September 2023 all of the Bible has been translated into 736 languages. The New Testament has been translated into an additional 1,658 languages, and smaller portions of the Bible have been translated into 1,264 other languages, according to Wycliffe Global Alliance.

iTEE Global’s in Multiple Languages

iTEE Global works in many nations, and is tasked to translate materials frequently. After translation, national trainers are taught to disciple pastoral leaders in their own communities. We now have materials in Chinese, Burmese, Hindi, Tamil, Punjabi, Telugu, Spanish, Swahili, English, and Urdu. Recently, we started teaching in Maa (from the Massai Tribe in Kenya). Currently there are 15 core courses in foreign languages that need to be translated and produced online and in printed form.

    Pastor Paul

Many of our students speak more than one language. Pastor Paul Yeze is a student at iTEE Global and lives in Lubumbashi, DR Congo. He speaks French,Swahili and English. His life has been greatly transformed, and he now shares what he is learning with other pastors. But to do that, he has to translate the materials into French and Swahili. He keeps several notes so he can help them. His work has doubled as the number of pastors to train is increasing. He says that materials are more helpful in a language they can best understand.

The Vital Role of

iTEE University is the training arm of iTEE Global and was established to deliver discipleship, pastoral, and leadership education through courses at Certificate, Diploma and Associate of Arts Degree in Ministry. iTEE University initiates and coordinates translation of designated courses and materials.

How Translation Is Done?

The original text to be translated is the most important thing because the meaning or intent should not change. So, the translator must be bilingual, and fluent in both languages. The work of translation starts with identifying and defining the need first. For example, we have “200 pastors that speak Russian, and do not read nor speak English, but willing to learn.” This is the need. The second necessity is a champion: someone with the ability and the passion to teach these 200 pastors in Russian. This champion must have the necessary training and must develop a trusted relationship with these pastors. And that takes time.

The next thing is a translation team, so we have a “library” to include the course into our online education platform—Moodle—with an electronic version ready for printing in face-to-face study. This team does the translation, the proofreading and typing. The translated and proofread material is migrated and finally it is formatted to allow for print-ready copies. Once a person is designated to coordinate tasks from start to finish, a translation team is developed.

Challenges in Translation

What kind of challenges do we face? We have opportunities for free translation that volunteers can do in their spare time. That is a major constraint. We can also work with experienced teams of translation companies. They can complete the work quickly. However, the cost is extremely high. The ideal situation is to work with someone who passionately loves the Lord and does affordable translation as a ministry. Another challenge is the difficulty to stay ahead of the demand, so that a course in one language is not put on hold for a year before the next course is translated and made available. So far, we have translated materials in 11 languages on 2 study levels: The Certificate and Diploma in Ministry levels.

How much does it cost? The cost of translation varies. With limited financial resources, iTEE Global has to determine the effective use of resources without creating learning gaps.

How long does it take? The time frame for translation varies depending on the course, the language, the team and other constraints. A translation team can complete an entire course in less than three months. In another case,one translator has taken one year to translate Galatians, our most basic course. A dedicated and motivated team should be able to translate and migrate three courses to Moodle within one year in one language.

Successes In Translation

We have accomplished a lot. For our Spanish courses, a completed library for both Certificate and Diploma in Ministry study is almost finalized. For Hindi and Tamil, online studies began for the first time in 2023. For Urdu, online study has also started for the first time. For Burmese, a hybrid online curriculum will soon be ready for face-to-face study and ready for printing. We are grateful when a team and the required funds are available to move forward.