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The Bible Translator's assistant

We believe that local people are best suited to carry out translation work in their own communities, and we are always looking for the best ways to support them. What if there were a way to translate the Bible faster and more economically, without reducing the quality of the translation? The Bible Translator’s Assistant (TBTA) was created to answer that question.

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What is TBTA?

TBTA is a software system that can be used to produce draft translations of Scripture in a language that does not yet have the Bible. These drafts convey the meaning of each Bible verse in the target language, but still need to be edited for clarity and naturalness. Normally, it is up to translators to produce draft translations, which can be a long and difficult process. With TBTA, the drafts are created in a fraction of the time, and the translation team can move quickly to the review stage.

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How does it work?

The TBTA software works with specially designed digital templates of each book of the Bible. First, a target language is analyzed to gather important grammatical information, such as sentence structure and parts of speech. Then this information is entered into TBTA and applied to the templates to create the draft of each book.

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What are the advantages?

TBTA is fast. Using TBTA to simplify the drafting process could result in incredible time savings – a New Testament translation could be completed in approximately six years instead of 10, and an Old Testament translation in eight years instead of 13.

TBTA is consistent. By using a template, the drafts produced are more uniform and the number of exegetical errors in the text is reduced. This makes the review process easier and more efficient.

TBTA is versatile. In addition to Scripture, the TBTA software can be used to produce draft translations of a variety of other materials in the target language, such as health, development, and human rights information.

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How can I help?

The TBTA system is fully developed. However, before the software can be widely deployed in translation projects, templates must be created for each book of the Bible. Some of these templates have already been encoded into the system, but the majority have not. This foundational work only needs to be done one time. Once the templates are finished, they can be used for any language and do not have to be re-made each time.

The TBTA project needs to recruit linguists with adequate programming skills to encode the templates and then serve as facilitators, helping translation teams analyze and encode the information about their languages during a pilot project.

We invite you to support this innovative new project that could accelerate Bible translation long-term, giving more people around the world a chance to experience God’s Word in their mother tongue. You can make the dream of faster, easier Bible translation a reality!

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