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Growing the Work with Mother-Tongue Translators

By Jack Popjes, Wycliffe Canada


Today the majority of language groups in need of a Bible translation have speakers who are highly educated and bilingual, and many of them are Christians. Once trained in Scripture translation principles and techniques, funded by individuals and churches, and surrounded by experienced consultants, these mother-tongue translators are on the fast track to producing high-quality Bible translations.


Think of the advantages these mother-tongue translators have:


  • They already know and understand both the language and the culture.
  • They already live in the country and among the people—a vital advantage in those nations where access by foreigners is extremely difficult.
  • The completed translation project is seen by the language community as something that belongs to them, not something imposed from the outside.


What does it take, besides constant prayer, for a mother-tongue Bible translation project to succeed?


  • Mother-tongue translators need to be gifted, prepared and called to work together as a translation committee. That is God’s job.
  • The translators need to be fully trained and provided with experienced consultants to help them solve translation and administrative problems and to make sure the final translation is of high quality. That is Wycliffe’s job.
  • Financial partners need to fund the translation project. That is the Church’s job.


Together with our partner organizations, Wycliffe USA is committed to alerting God’s people to both the responsibility and the privilege of helping to fund these national translators.


With the help of the Canela people in Brazil, Jack and his wife, Jo, translated a large portion of the Bible into Canela. Jack continues to serve Wycliffe as a speaker and author.


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