Bible Translation 2017: The 9th Biennial Bible Translation Conference

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


The Bible Translation 2017 Conference will be October 13-17, 2017.

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 or near the International Linguistics Center (Dallas International campus) in Dallas, Texas, USA.


THEME: Tradition and Innovation in Bible Translation

Our six sub-themes

  1. BT Theory and Practice
  2. Educating and Empowering Translators
  3. Engaging Local Communities with Scripture
  4. Relevance of Tradition in BT
  5. Innovations in BT
  6. Theology of/in Translation

Titles of about 1/4 of the papers that will be presented:

  • Engaging African Multilingualism with Scripture
  • Four Cultural Cognitive Schemas of Spirituality
  • Thomas in Doubt: Best Practices for Rendering Paired Alternate Names in the New Testament
  • Through a Hebrew lens or a Western filter?
  • Artistry & Theology Meet in Biblical Hebrew Poetry
  • Case Study of a Render Oral Bible Translation Project
  • Effective Consulting Using ParaTExt 8 Tools
  • Consultant Session Evaluation Matrix
  • Translating Hebrew Feminine
  • Global Hebrew Training from Israel
  • Implications of Multilingualism on Scripture Engagement
  • Arts Development for Scripture Engagement
  • The Marks of the City: Making Meaning with Post-Religious Millennials
  • The Georgian Psalter: tradition, acceptability and intelligibility
  • “Signing off”, “Giving input”: The changing role of Bible translation consultation in the 21st century
  • Translation Principles – Best Recipe for Mediocre Translation is Translating as If by Recipe
  • Remote Translation Consulting through Skype
  • Group Checking as a Training Environment: What works and what doesn’t
  • Deep-Rooted Scripture: Exploring a theology of agency and identity in Bible translation
  • Translators as catalysts for mother-tongue theology: Insights from a NT project in Chad
  • Do multilinguals have multiple hearts? Evaluating the usefulness of the Heart Language metaphor
  • Challenges in the translation of motion events
  • Principles for Making a Good Diglot Translation
  • Luther’s Use of Paratextual Materials in his New Testament
  • John 3, Translating “being born again” in a Culture with Reincarnation Beliefs
  • Old Testament Textual Helps: The View from Here


Beekman Lecture Series (Friday/Sunday evenings):

Dr. Margaret Muthwii, Vice Chancellor of Pan Africa Christian University

Margaret Muthwii earned her MA and PhD from the University of East Anglia. She is the Vice Chancellor of Pan Africa Christian University in Kenya. She has worked for the United Bible Societies as a Translation Consultant, Translation Coordinator (Africa), and a Global Translation Advisor. In addition, she has been a Senior Lecturer of linguistics and Head of University Admissions at Kenyatta University. She has authored numerous publications.

Eugene A. Nida Lecture Series (Monday evening):

Dr. Issa Diab, Professor of Semitic and Interfaith Studies

Issa Diab is a Translation Consultant with the MENA Bible Societies, and a professor of Semitic and Interfaith Studies in Saint Joseph (Jesuit) University and the Near East School of Theology in Lebanon. He is seconded to UBS and ABS (Nida Institute). He specializes in Middle Eastern Christianity and Islam. His core field of research is “Semitic Fundamentalism.” Dr. Diab holds a ThD, a Doctorate in History of Ancient Semitic Religions, a Doctorate in Islamic Culture and Societies, and a Doctorate in Biblical Philology.

Public Banquet (Tuesday evening):

Dr. Tim Laniak, Dean and Professor of Old Testament at Gordon-Conwell, Charlotte

Tim Laniak is Dean, Professor of Old Testament, and Mentor for the Christian Leadership Doctor of Ministry Track at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is the creator of the BibleJourney program. Tim and his wife Maureen have worked as short-term missionaries on most continents and among international students and immigrants in the US. His writing combines cultural anthropology and Bible interpretation.

Commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses and his translation of the Bible into German (Monday morning):

Dr. Erik Herrmann is Associate Professor of Historical Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and director of the Center for Reformation Research. He received his Ph.D. from the same institution in 2005 in Renaissance and Reformation Studies. His area of interest and research continue to be in Luther and the patristic and medieval antecedents to his thought and exegesis, as well as the modern reception and interpretation of Luther since the Luther Renaissance of the 19th and 20th centuries. His most recent publications are in The Oxford Handbook of Martin Luther’s Theology, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Martin Luther, and The Annotated Luther.

Additional Plenary Speakers

Dr. Deborah Shadd, Manager of Translation Research and Training, Nida Institute

Deborah Shadd is Manager of Translation Research and Training at the Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship. She holds a Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics and Exegesis, and a PhD in Translation Studies. Prior to taking up her current role, Dr. Shadd taught at the Canada Institute of Linguistics. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for Wycliffe Canada.

Dr. Rondal Smith, Director of European Recruitment and Development, Pioneer Bible Translators

After serving Pioneer Bible Translators as the Chairman of the founding Board (76-81) and President (88-06), Rondal Smith continues to serve PBT as the Director of European Recruitment and Development and Assistant Director of PBT’s Eurasia Area. Rondal received his Ph.D. and M.A. at Indiana University. He has taught NT Greek and/or Linguistics at several universities. Rondal and his wife Janice have been married 55 years.

The Conference schedule is expected to be as follows:

  • Registration will be at DFBC from 4:00 p.m. on Friday. Before this, it will be at the Linguistics Center Welcome Desk.
  • The opening event will be a plenary session on Friday evening starting at 7:00 p.m.
  • Papers will be presented Saturday.
  • The only scheduled event on Sunday will be a plenary session in the evening starting at 7:00 p.m.
  • There will be additional conference events or plenary presentations on Saturday and Monday evenings.
  • Papers will be presented on Monday and Tuesday, with a concluding Public Banquet on Tuesday evening starting at 7:00 p.m.

This schedule includes time for paper presentations (oral and poster), discussion, individual interaction, and networking.

Before planning your travel check here for other pre- and post-conference events:

Please note that other BT organizations may schedule events in Dallas, Texas, before or after the conference that are open to BT Conference attendees (seminars, workshops, etc.). Events of this nature will be listed on this website as we become aware of them. Please check this website before purchasing airline tickets, in case one or more of these events is also of interest to you.

  • CANCELED EVENT: The Participatory Methods for Engaging Communities (PMEC) workshop that had been listed here will NOT be offered before the BT conference. Contact if you have questions.
  • Addiction Recovery Facilitator Training Workshop, October 9-12, 2017 (Arrive and register October 8), at the International Linguistics Center. This workshop is for people who are interested in learning how to facilitate Scripture-focused addiction recovery groups that are indigenously sustainable in a variety of cultural contexts. These Freedom Ascent recovery groups are one way to use Scripture Engagement for life transformation. Click HERE for more information, or contact
  • Coaching Workshop for Christian Leaders, Arlington, TX: October 10-12, 2017. Integrate powerful coaching skills into your ministry. This 3-day coaching skills workshop is based on the book The COACH Model for Christian Leaders. This workshop is for those who are experienced and those who are not-so-experienced in coaching skills. It will help you to learn how to appropriately apply coaching skills to your various leadership roles. This workshop is co-sponsored by SIL Asia and the Seed Company. For information or to register: Seed Company personnel please contact Jim Akovenko at; SIL, Wycliffe and other ministry partners please contact Richard Harman at or go online at to register.
  • A conversation about TRAINING for Bible Translation, Scripture Engagement and Language Development, October 13, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.: You are invited to a day of looking at training needs for today and the future, and how best to fill them (content, models, relationships). We are actively seeking perspectives from different organizations, experiences, and different parts of the world. Leaders: Maik Gibson, Director of the Centre for Linguistics, Translation and Literacy, Redcliffe College, UK, and Bryan Harmelink, Director of Collaboration for the Wycliffe Global Alliance. See this PDF for registration and other information.
  • The SIL Trauma Healing Institute will offer two Bible-based Trauma Healing Training sessions in Dallas after BT2017, October 18-21, 2017: The Initial Equipping Session and the Advanced Equipping Session. The Bible-based Trauma Healing program is a well-documented Scripture Engagement strategy to use with new or ongoing language programs around the world. Follow the links above to see costs and details, and to register. There are prerequisites for the Advanced Equipping Session. Contact for more information.
  • The Dallas International Abraham Center will sponsor the Abraham Conference 2017 at Dallas International, October 18-19, 2017. This conference provides you an opportunity to hear presentations on topics related to Scripture use in Abrahamic contexts. See for the Call for Papers, costs, and registration information.
  • Calling all ParaTExt users! Are you ready for ParaTExt 8? There will be a workshop at the International Linguistics Center, October 18-20. On the first day we’ll have a separate track for those who need to migrate their ParaTExt 7 data, for those who need it. We are expecting a crowd, but are planning a large space at the ILC to accommodate you all! Click here for more information and to register.

Action Steps

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

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. BT2015 was attended by 450 Bible translators, consultants, linguists, professors, students, literacy specialists, anthropologists, translation software specialists, orality specialists, administrators, and other professionals involved in the Bible translation task. These came from more than 70 Bible translation agencies and training programs, and from all parts of the world.