Bible Translation 2013: The 7th Biennial Bible Translation Conference

A forum for presentation and discussion of developing theory and practice in Bible translation

The Bible Translation 2013 Conference will be October 11-15, 2013.

This academic conference is co-sponsored by the Dallas International University (Dallas International) and SIL International; the Eugene A. Nida Lecture Series is sponsored by the Nida Institute. The BT Conference will be held at the International Linguistics Center (Dallas International campus) in Dallas, Texas, USA.


Promoting Excellence in Bible Translation


  • Workforce and Training (including project management, cluster projects and other models, developing independent thinking and critical analysis skills, training paradigms, developing consultants, etc.)
  • Bible Translation Theory and Practice (including textual and exegetical issues, factors of genre, key terms, extended metaphors, drafting approaches, etc.)
  • Print and Non-Print Media (including storying, arts and performance, signed languages, scripts, study notes, multi-media, internet and new media, etc.)
  • Engagement and Impact (including host community participation, scripture engagement, acceptability, ethics, contextualization, Scripture selection in the translation process, etc.)

Plenary and Banquet Speakers

Beekman Lecture Series (Friday/Sunday evenings):

Dr. Lourens de Vries, Professor of General Linguistics at the VU University Amsterdam

Dr. de Vries holds the Netherlands Bible Society Chair of Bible Translation at the VU University Amsterdam. His research interests include the history and theory of Bible translation in the broader context of translation studies, linguistic aspects of Bible translation processes, and the study of Papuan and Austronesian languages. His articles on translation, sociology and linguistics have appeared in many respected journals and anthologies.

Eugene A. Nida Lecture Series (Saturday morning):

Dr. Phil H. Towner, Dean and Executive Director of Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship at American Bible Society

Dr. Towner is both a biblical and translation scholar with extensive translation experience as a translation consultant in SE Asia and the Americas. Prior to assuming the leadership of Nida institute, he was the Director of Translation Services for United Bible Societies. Dr. Towner has authored and edited numerous scholarly articles and is the author of the NICNT commentary The Letters to Timothy and Titus (2006).

Public Banquet (Tuesday evening):

Dr. Doug Birdsall, President and CEO of American Bible Society

Dr. Doug Birdsall assumed his new role at American Bible Society in March 2013. As the past Executive Chairman of the Lausanne Movement, he chaired the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2010. He is the founding director of the J. Christy Wilson Jr. Center for World Missions at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Doug and his wife, Jeanie, served as missionaries in Japan with Asian Access, and he served as the Asian Access President. His doctorate is from the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies.

Other Plenary Speakers:

Dr. Bryan Harmelink, International Translation Coordinator, SIL International

Glenn J. Kerr, chief translation consultant for Bibles International, part of Baptist Mid-Missions

Jill Goring, International Translation Coordinator, New Tribes Mission

There will be 80+ papers presented at BT2013 from the four sub-themes. The BT2013 presenters come from at least 31 different Bible translation organizations and educational institutions

A sampling BT2013 paper titles:

  • A Proposal for a Team Approach to Translation Consulting
  • Developing Critical Thinking Skills using Participatory Approaches
  • How Much Linguistics Training Does a Translator Need?
  • The impending paradigm shift in educational preparation for Bible translators, and what to expect
  • “Variety – the spice of life” OR “Too many cooks spoil the broth”: Successfully incorporating partners into language programs
  • Where there is no exegete: A model for training translators in exegesis
  • But What Does it Mean? Better Lexica for Biblical Languages
  • Changes in the Nestle-Aland Methodology and Apparatus for the Catholic Letters
  • On Translating Participles of Saying Verbs in the Four Gospels
  • Opening the valves in Paul’s long sentences
  • Qualitative Predicate Nominatives Translated as References to God in John
  • Reading Malachi 1:2-14 as a Unit: An Attributive/Echoic Discourse
  • Sociolinguistics and key-term development: To borrow or create?
  • The expression of emotion in language and in translation: Failures and successes in English translations
  • The importance of Biblical Theology for Bible translation and oral Bible storying, illustrated by an analysis and translation application of the key term “grace”
  • The Literal Truth: Confronting the Notion of Word-for-Word Bible Translation
  • TOTAL TRANSLATION: How application of relevance theory to video Scripture portions solves multiple translation problems
  • Translating Psalms to be Sung: Encoding the Poetic Line
  • Translation issues in clause chaining languages
  • Translation Quality in an Era of Localisation
  • Uncovering the Meaning we Translate: The Importance of Discourse Context
  • Women, the Church, and Bible Translation
  • Emerging Media Trends Affecting Progressive Publication of Newly Translated Scripture
  • Oral Drafting, Audio Checking-and-Revision: An Incipient Revolution for Bible Translation?
  • Paraguayan Sign Language Translation experience using Sign Writing
  • Print and Audio: Partnering Together during Translation
  • A translation approach to address language change
  • Bible storytelling as an Entry into Written Translation Work
  • Expressing cultural concepts of the Old Testament in Ewondo: An appraisal of Bible translation and reception
  • Integrating Bible Translation into Holistic Community Development
  • New Directions for Bible Translation in Africa

Conference Schedule:

The Conference schedule is expected to be as follows:

  • The opening event will be a plenary session on Friday evening.
  • Papers will be presented Saturday.
  • The only scheduled event on Sunday will be a plenary session in the evening.
  • Papers will be presented on Monday and Tuesday, with a concluding Public Banquet on Tuesday evening.
  • There will be additional conference events on Saturday and Monday evenings.

This schedule includes plenaries, papers, posters, discussion sessions, and plenty of time for individual interaction and networking.

Note these pre- and post-conference events before planning your travel:

Dr. Regina Koroma and Dr. Pete Unseth will present a one-day workshop on “Training Bible Translators in non-Western Contexts” on Friday, October 11, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the International Linguistics Center. See the Training Workshop flyer for registration and more information.

The Abraham Center at Dallas International will host “Abraham 2013,” a one-day presentation/discussion of significant papers on contemporary topics of relevance to Muslim contexts, on Wednesday, October 16, at the International Linguistics Center. See Dr Harlan’s invitation for more information. Download this PDF form to register.

Two ParaTExt Training courses are being offered October 16-18, 2013:

Effective use of Paratext 7 for Translators, taught by Neal Brinneman

Effective use of Paratext 7 for Translation Consultants, taught by Doug Higby

Information on both courses and instructions on how to sign up may be found here.

A Participatory Methods for Engaging Communities (PMEC) workshop will be led by Sue Hasselbring and others October 16-25 in Duncanville, TX. Participants will learn how to facilitate discussions that help language communities grow in ownership of translation and other language development work. Contact to obtain more information and to register.

Wycliffe USA is planning to have Member Services Specialists available before and after the BT Conference to offer seminars and one-on-one sessions in areas such as career guidance, counseling, debriefing, and financial and retirement information. See their flyer for more information.

These events are not sponsored by the BT Conference; this information is provided to you as a service.

Conference History

This Bible translation conference series began in 2001. Since that time, each conference has grown in numbers of papers and participants, and has offered valuable contributions to the worldwide Bible Translation effort. BT2011 was attended by over 320 Bible translators, consultants, linguists, professors, literacy specialists, anthropologists, translation software specialists, orality specialists, and other professionals involved in the Bible translation task. These came from more than 50 Bible translation agencies and institutions, and from all parts of the world.

Please set aside these dates. Please plan to join us and encourage others to attend. You can print this BT Conference Flyer to share the conference with your colleagues.