Bible Translation Studies

BIBLE TRANSLATION STUDIES 

ABOUT BIBLE TRANSLATION STUDIES: The founders of Serampore College gave a great gift to the peoples of South Asia by translating the Bible, New Testament, or portions of Scripture, into many languages of the region. They also served the surrounding communities in many other practical ways, including setting up a total of over one hundred schools over a period of 32 years.

The task of Bible translation and of related language ministries continues today, and this degree in Bible Translation Studies is designed to prepare the next generation of translators, literacy workers, language and community development workers, community health workers and facilitators of the ethno-arts with the basic knowledge, skills and attitudes needed not only to translate the Word of God faithfully, clearly and naturally in their respective languages, context and culture, but to also prepare literature and teach people to read, promote multi-lingual education, facility community-driven development activities, see to the health needs of the communities they serve and to promote the ethno-arts of local communities. Through these activities, always guided and aided by the Holy Spirit, communities will be transformed as people within those communities commit their lives to God in obedience to the holy Scriptures translated, told and sung in their mother tongues.

  1. Diploma in Bible Translation (Dip.BT): In 2010 Serampore College introduced a Diploma in Bible Translation (Dip. BT), which came through the initiative of Serampore College (Theology Department) and the Council of Serampore College, and with the support of a number of partner organisations.

Diploma in Bible Translation is a ‘Diploma’ course offered by the Senate of Serampore College. Serampore College, Theology Department is the only independent centre where the course is being offered.

Aims and Objectives of the course:

  1. To develop the foundational knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to ensure good quality translation, which is: clear to the readers, faithful to the original meaning, natural for the receptor audience and acceptable to the people and the church.
  2. To study the meaning of biblical passages within their original historical and cultural contexts.
  3. To understand principles of linguistics, translation, interpretation and communication which are essential to Bible translation.
  4. To undertake processes for ensuring a quality translation.
  5. To apply the principles and methods which have been learnt to the practical task of translation.
  6. To attain foundation-level qualifications, after which students may progress to intermediate and advanced studies in Bible translation.

Medium of the course: The course can be taught/ examined in the following languages; English, Hindi, Bengali & Telugu. 

Duration of the course: The course is an external/distance programme run by experts or qualified tutors, designed for 2 years and can be extended upto 4 years.

Academic Year & Examinations: Academic year is from January – October and Examinations are held once a year by end of October every year. All the examinations are conducted and examined by the Senate of Serampore College.

  1. Bachelor of Bible Translation Studies (BBTS): Bachelor’s degree (BBTS – Bachelor in Bible Translations Studies) is the outcome of three consultations called by the Theology Department of Serampore College with the support of the Registrar, Senate of Serampore College and the majority of organizations actively involved in Bible translation projects in India and Bangladesh. It is now ready to launch the program as it has been approved by the Senate and its Committees followed by the Council of Serampore College in last April 2016.

Bachelor of Bible Translation Studies (BBTS) programme aim to introduce key theoretical concepts, useful methodologies, and practical skills for the work of Bible translation, language, literacy, community development, community health and the facilitation of ethno-arts.  The Units are oriented to the application, and include training in the use of computer software and a substantial practicum component for each subject.

Aims and Objectives of the course:

  1. Linguistic and Cultural Foundations: to develop the foundational knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to ensure that all language-related ministries are based on a sound understanding of linguistic and cultural aspects of the language of the target community.
  2. Language Development Studies: to develop the foundational knowledge, skills and attitudes needed for language development workers, so that they are equipped to facilitate the development and use of educational materials which on the one hand (a) meet the felt educational needs of the language community, (b) are compatible with the educational goals of the education department of the State or national government, and (c) enable members of the local community to better serve their local community through educational activities. Such language development studies must, on the one hand, be built on an understanding of the local language and culture, and the educational needs of the community, and on the other hand on tried and tested methods for developing graded bi-lingual and tri-lingual educational materials;
  3. Translation Studies: to develop the foundational knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to ensure that when literature is translated, it is (a) clear to the readers of the target language, (b) faithful to the meaning of the original author, (c) natural in the language of the receptor audience, and (d) acceptable to the people and the church. Such Translation studies are built on an understanding of the phonology, morphology and syntax and culture of the target community, and on a careful study of the meaning of biblical passages within their original historical and cultural contexts;
  4. Literacy and Multilingual Education Studies: to develop the foundational knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to ensure that when Literacy programs are implemented, the primers and reading materials, and teaching methodologies, (a) serve the needs of the target community, (b) serve the educational goals of the education department of the State or national government, and (c) serve the needs of the local church. The Literacy and Multilingual Education studies are built, on the one hand, on an understanding of the language and culture of the target community, and on the other hand on sound literacy and multi-lingual education principles;
  5. Community Development/Community Health Studies: to develop the foundational knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to ensure that community development/health workers endeavour to promote community development/health programs, which (a) are sensitive to the needs of the target community as expressed by themselves, (b) empower the leadership of the target community to take a leading role in their own community development/ community health, (c) maintain good communications with local government agencies including medical institutions whether public of private, and (d) empowers members of the local community to meet the needs of their community. Such community development/ community health programs must, on the one hand, be built on an understanding of the local language and culture, and on the other hand on principles of community-owned and directed development;
  6. Ethno-arts Studies: to develop the foundational knowledge, skills and attitudes needed for promoters of the ethno-arts, so that they are equipped to facilitate the use of and development of the traditional arts, drama and songs of ethnic communities (a) in a way that is sensitive to the values and feelings of the target community, (b) in consultation with the leadership of the target community, and (c) in cooperation with the leadership of the local churches. Such ethno-arts studies must, on the one hand, be built on an understanding of the local language and culture including the ethno-arts, and on the other hand on carefully formulated principles for facilitating the ethno-arts of a community;
  7. Qualifications: to attain degree-level qualifications, after which students may progress to master’s level studies in linguistics, literacy, community development, community health, multilingual education, and ethno-arts.

Courses in the BBTS programme: The Bachelor’s degree in Bible Translation Studies shall consist of six distinct tracks:

  1. Translation Studies
  2. Literacy and Multilingual Education
  3. Language Survey and Assessment
  4. Program Management for Transformation
  5. Orality and Storying and Ethno-Arts
  6. Community Development 

Medium of the course: The course can be taught/ examined in English only. 

Duration of the course: The course is an external/distance programme run by experts or qualified tutors, designed for 3 years and can be extended upto 5 years.

Academic Year & Examinations: Academic year is from January – October and Examinations are held once a year by end of October every year. All the examinations are conducted and examined by the Senate of Serampore College.