Introduction to the Theme

Bible Translation and Embodiment:

Incarnate Word and Incarnational Mission

In the past Bible translation was, for the most part, associated with print media. Bible translation was viewed as a process intended to produce a (holy) Book. More recently, other forms of media have become increasingly prominent, from audio and video recordings, to oral translation processes, to ethnoarts performances.

The expansion of media forms used for the delivery of Bible translations raises the question of how important the choice of media is for the communication of God’s Word in Bible translation and Scripture engagement. The Bible as a printed book implies ‘embodied communication’: acquiring literacy, carrying it about by hand, preaching, teaching, worshipping, praying with it. These are all historic forms of “embodying” or “doing the Word” of Scripture.

This leads to the following questions: Do other ‘embodied’ forms of communication in performance-based approaches to Bible translation and Scripture engagement lead to better and more effective communication than more traditional print-based approaches? What is the difference between ‘reading aloud’ and other ‘embodied’ forms of communication? What impact do media actually have on the content and the linguistic and stylistic forms in which the Biblical message is expressed, and on the responses of the recipients? These are important questions both from a theoretical and a more practical perspective.

‘Bible Translation and Embodiment’ has been chosen as the overarching theme of BT 2019. The theme is not only connected to questions related to the topic of ‘Bible translation and media’, but also to insights from cognitive science, as well as missiological questions related to God’s revelation in Jesus Christ as the incarnate Word of God. The communication of God’s Word in Bible translation and Scripture engagement is much more than just an art and technique of translating God’s Word from one language into another. Bible translation is part of the incarnational ministry of the global church. It cannot be separated from deeds of compassion expressed by the Church as the body of Christ.

We are looking forward to engaging presentations and discussions related to the theme of ‘Bible translation and embodiment’. Some of the topics will probably be more technical. Other topics will be more relational. Scripture engagement, trauma healing, and ministry among refugees are no less important than the more technical topics related to exegesis, translation, training, and language technology.

We invite prospective participants of BT 2019 to submit an abstract of presentations related to the following sub-themes:


  1. Media and Performance in Translation and Scripture engagement (Textual, Oral, Aural, Visual, Dramatic performance, Sign language, etc.)
  2. Bible translation and Theology (Metaphor, religious idiom translation, theological and hermeneutical assumptions, missiological reflection on Bible translation, etc.)
  3. Theory and practice of Bible translation (Translating metaphor and other forms of figurative language, Biblical key terms, exegesis, discourse analysis; translation briefs, etc.)
  4. Training, mentoring, consultant checking, and consultant management (The role of translation consultants, OT consulting, principles of mentoring, translator training; translation standards, etc.)
  5. Scripture engagement (MUSE, trauma healing, participatory methods, contextualization, etc.)
  6. Bible translation and innovations in technology (ParaTExt, RENDER, Digital Bible Library, automated project progress reporting, etc.)