Translation Troubles: Working with the Translator

As I mentioned in the previous article, it takes two to deliver a translated sermon well. Both the preacher and the translator will be working as a team to make it happen. Here are some tips to help you establish a good working relationship with your translator.

(1) Send your manuscript.

I’m not a huge fan of writing manuscripts but this is one instance when it can be beneficial. Sending your manuscript in advance will allow the translator to do some preparation work before the actual date. Anything you can do to make the translation as smooth as possible will ultimately benefit the audience. If you’re already comfortable with writing manuscripts, this shouldn’t be a problem. If you’re not adept at it, this may pose a challenge. Alternatively, you could opt to send an audio recording of one of your practice runs.

(2) Meet with the translator.

Try to find some time to meet with your translator before you deliver the sermon. Your best shot will probably occur before the service starts. If it’s the first time you’re meeting the translator, get to know each other. Establish a positive relationship before you get on stage. Meeting with the translator is especially important if you didn’t send a manuscript in advance. Take the time to run through some terms or statements that may be difficult to translate.

(3) Propose a strategy.

Discuss briefly how you’d like to work together on stage. Discussion items should include:

(a) When to translate (sentence by sentence is the standard procedure)
(b) Exceptions to the standard procedure such as lengthy sentences or a long series of words
(c) The use of pauses to indicate that you’d like the first half of the sentence to be translated before you proceed
(d) Letting the translator know that it’s OK to ask you to repeat a statement if they didn’t understand it

If your translator has some experience, ask them for suggestions on how to make the translation as smooth as ever.

(4) Evaluate after the service.

When the service ends, spend some time with the translator evaluating how things went. Figure out what went well and what could be improved on. Evaluation will help you do better the next time you experience this type of setting. Evaluation will also help the translator improve their level of competence. Since both of you will no doubt encounter this kind of preaching scenario again in the future, a fair and concrete evaluation will be of great benefit in refining both your skills.

(5) Pray together.

Lastly, don’t forget to pray with your translator. Remember, you’re both working as team under the power of the Holy Spirit. Let God handle any mishaps that may occur.

Join the discussion: Is there anything else that will help build a good working relationship between the preacher and the translator?

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Next Article: Translation Troubles: Preaching Dynamics | Series: Translation Troubles


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