Linguistics Technician

Do you enjoy solving complex puzzles? With basic linguistic training, you can work with a team of linguists to conduct language research projects and develop language-related resources and products aimed at supporting Bible translation programs.

Responsibilities

  • Gather and organize linguistics data in-person or research secondary sources in libraries, Internet and linguistic conferences.
  • Produce a written grammatical or phonological description of the language, a basic discourse analysis or a text collection.
  • Work through a project systematically with periodic input and supervision from a more experienced linguist; organize and record data so that the project can be assessed or completed by another linguist if necessary.
  • Write and archive professional research and conclusion documents.
  • Learn basics of a national/local language and culture.
  • Details will vary depending on assignment, such as working to complete a special project in a particular location, or as part of a broader research team.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in a research or social science discipline such as Linguistics, Sociology, Anthropology, History or Intercultural Studies preferred.

Training

  • Successful completion of courses substantially similar to the following SIL standard courses:
    • Articulatory Phonetics
    • Cultural Anthropology
    • Language and Culture Learning
    • Language and Society
    • Morphology and Syntax
    • Phonology
    • Linguistic Field Methods
    • Computer Data Management.
  • Completion of courses in Semantics and Pragmatics, and Discourse Analysis is beneficial.

Similar roles to consider

Language Program Intern, Translation Specialist

What does it take to be a missionary?

You’re likely asking yourself several questions right about now. The biggest one might be “Is this for me?” But behind that foundational question are many others that you might be pondering, such as “Am I called to serve?” or “Would I even make a good missionary?” It’s important to process through these questions as you begin considering what it would be like to serve as a missionary with Wycliffe.

2 Corinthians 3:5 says, “It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualifications come from God” (NLT). Wycliffe missionaries are simply passionate followers of Jesus who have said “yes” to serving God in this capacity. It’s because of what God has done in their own lives that they are fueled and driven to use their skills and abilities to work toward the vision laid out in God’s Word — that one day people from every nation, tribe, people and language will stand before the throne, praising God.

It takes a team of people to make Bible translation possible. We need more than just translators and linguists — we need IT workers, managers, writers, teachers, administrators and so many others. You can be used to help bring the Bible to people who still need it.

But first, we’d like to help you process the questions you’re asking yourself. We’ve created a resource called “Thinking About Missions: Is this for me?” that covers six main questions:

  1. Am I ready to accept God’s leading for my life?
  2. Can others see Christ at work in my life?
  3. Am I living within my means?
  4. How do I find out more about specific areas of the world where I can serve or organizations that might be a good fit for me?
  5. How can I begin serving right where I am?
  6. What’s next?

This document walks you through these questions, providing Scripture and additional resources to look into as you consider the answers to these in your own life. We believe it will be a helpful resource to take a deeper look into figuring out if missions is right for you.

So when you ask yourself, “Do I have what it takes to be a missionary?” the answer could very well be a resounding “yes.” It’s just a matter of finding how — and where — God wants to use you for his glory.

How many years do I serve?

You hear the word “missionary” and you might immediately think of people who have devoted their entire lives to serving in a different country. But that’s not always the case! There is no “one size fits all” model for being a missionary, and we know that God calls each of us differently, which means that we need to work with people in the time and way we feel God leads.

With Wycliffe, you can serve for as short as one month, or you can dedicate decades of your life; it doesn’t have to be everything or nothing to answer God’s calling. We recognize that some people need to simply test out whether missions is the direction that God is leading them, while others are ready to commit to years of service. We also recognize that situations in life may change, which is why we work to help each missionary find the role and job duration that works for them.

This means that you can serve in a variety of roles throughout your service with Wycliffe, utilizing the different skills and gifts that God has given you. We provide staff specialists along the way who help determine what roles would be a good fit for you. No matter how long you serve, we want to work with you on finding the role that allows you to serve God — and the task of Bible translation — in the best way possible.

For those who are looking into missions for the very first time, we have opportunities to serve from one to 12 months through our internship program. We also have opportunities to serve from one to two years, or more than two years, if that’s your preference. Depending on what length of time you’re wanting to commit to, the types of roles you are eligible for will change. Additionally, we have volunteers who dedicate seasons to help fill critical roles.

No matter where you are on the spectrum, we want to help you experience this exciting work that God is calling you to as a missionary. Whether that’s months or years, there’s a way to participate in Bible translation.

Am I ready to serve?

After considering whether missions is right for you, and even how long you’d like to commit to, it’s time to ask yourself another question: “Am I ready to serve?” But in this case, “ready” means more than just asking if you’re passionate and willing to go; it means considering whether there are any circumstances that might hinder your ability to serve. We want you to be successful serving God in the way he is leading you.

If you’re interested in pursuing membership with Wycliffe, there are personal matters that may need to be discussed. It’s important that we are prepared to serve God, able to strip off “every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress” (Hebrews 12:1, NLT). Serving God on the mission field can be like serving on the frontlines of a battlefield, and each soldier needs to be properly equipped for the battle — namely with the armor of God (see Ephesians 6:10-17) having thrown off anything that might ensnare us.

That’s why we’d like to talk with you about our policies on areas such as debt, divorce, alcohol and prescription drug habits, and pornography that could impact how soon you would be able to begin serving with Wycliffe, or impact eligibility.

We want to be sure you are well-equipped before stepping onto this battlefield, and sometimes that means addressing any obstacles now so that you are not held back or stopped by anything that could impact your ability to serve. We want you to be well informed and in agreement with the expectations we have related to these matters. If you have a question about any of these circumstances, let’s talk about it. Please email us at go_serve@wycliffe.org to connect with a missions mobilizer to get a conversation started.

What about money?

As a missionary with Wycliffe, we come alongside you by training, equipping and personally coaching you as you learn to build and retain a team of people who will prayerfully and financially partner with you in your Wycliffe ministry. While it might seem a daunting and overwhelming task to raise up a team of people like this we serve an amazing God who has proven time and again that he is faithful to provide for our every need!

In Wycliffe we call this team of people “partners” because they’re joining your Wycliffe ministry as you accomplish the calling you have from God. And as the months and years go on, you’ll see for yourself how accurate this term is — these people will not only partner with you in your Wycliffe ministry financially, but also through prayer and advocacy. Here’s a look at some of the benefits that come from building an amazing team of partners:

  1. You build relationships — the partnership development (PD) process is intentionally highly relational. The relationships that are built during this time are a blessing for you, your partners, Wycliffe and the Bibleless communities around the world.
  2. You are equipped, encouraged and commissioned — your partners serve you by praying, giving, advocating, providing wise counsel and accountability, and encouraging you in your Wycliffe ministry. This helps Wycliffe accomplish its vision of seeing God’s Word accessible to all people in a language that speaks to their heart. Your church will commission you and send you out as a missionary.
  3. Your serve your partners — you have the privilege of serving your partners by praying for them and by engaging, inspiring, educating and inviting them to be part of Wycliffe’s work. Your Wycliffe ministry gives your partners the opportunity to make a valuable contribution to Bible translation and to better understand the impact God’s Word is having on people all around the world.
  4. You become an advocate — as you engage in PD activities, you have the opportunity to advocate for the Bibleless peoples of the world to the U.S. Christian public.
  5. You help recruit new partners — as you communicate your story, and Wycliffe’s vision and mission to the Christian public, you help recruit new workers and prayer partners.

While building your partnership team, you will likely come face to face with the reality that you cannot do this on your own — it truly can only be done through the power and faithfulness of our loving Father. God provides all that we have and all that we need. When you serve as a missionary, you’ll see his provision in different ways. There are tens of thousands of people partnering together — whether by serving, praying or giving financially — to help see every people group have the Bible in the language they understand best. It’s a job that can’t be done by just a few; it requires a team of people working together for God’s glory. And as you take this step of faith, you will be able to see for yourself, in a whole new way, what it means when the Scriptures say, “For we live by believing and not by seeing” (2 Corinthians 5:7, NLT).

For additional resources on how to build a team of prayer and financial partners, click here.

If you’re wondering specifically about debt, learn more about that here or read “Am I ready to serve?”.

Being a missionary requires good money management skills and being a good steward of the money and resources God has entrusted to you. If you’d like to improve your money management skills, Dave Ramsey has some excellent advice.

Learn More

How do I apply?

So you’ve read a lot of resources, found answers to your questions, talked to your family and friends, prayed and looked to God for direction, and now you’re ready to start the application process. In some ways your journey is just beginning, but we’ll be with you every step of the way!

Here’s what the steps look like:

Step 1: Is this for me?

This is the part of the process where you’re still making a decision about how — and where — God is leading you. The stage can take as short (or long) as you need to understand God’s calling on your life, from one month to 80 years even! You can read more about that here, but a great way to get you started is through answering a few questions for us. By filling out an interest survey, a Wycliffe missions mobilizer will be able to talk with you and help answer any questions you might have. Or, if you’re ready to start an application without talking to a missions mobilizer, you can go directly to Step 2.

Step 2: I’m ready to apply!

When you start an application, you’re saying that you’re ready and available to start working with us within 24 months and that you’re committed to completing the application in 30 days. The application process can take three months or more, as this includes:

  • Completing the application form
  • Two interviews
  • Gathering references
  • A pastor/church interview
  • Looking at possible assignments

After the first application pieces are completed, we’ll be in touch to schedule the interviews and help you walk through the entire application process. Two major factors that can affect the length of the application process are: 1) The return of references to Wycliffe, and 2) communicating with potential job managers overseas. Once all these steps are done, we hope that you will have experienced confirmation of God’s leading, on your own life and through your interaction with Wycliffe. If both you and Wycliffe agree it’s the right time and the right fit for you to join, then you will receive an official invitation from Wycliffe! You become an employee and a member of Wycliffe on the first day of the month following your acceptance of an assignment.

Step 3: Establish your partnership team

Next you start working on building a team of prayer and financial partners to sustain your Wycliffe ministry (read more about building that team here). This can take anywhere from three to 24 months (the median time is ten months), and it’s a time dedicated to advocating for the needs of the Bibleless peoples of the world to individuals, families and churches in America. But don’t worry, you won’t have to do this alone! You’ll be assigned a partnership development coach who will connect with you weekly so that you can successfully fulfill your partnership development goals. Once you’ve raised the full team of prayer and financial partners to sustain your yearly Wycliffe ministry amount that is determined to support you and your family, you’re ready to begin your field assignment.

Step 4: It’s time for Equip

Now it’s time to start the orientation and training process, which may take two months. This orientation and training is called Equip and comes in two parts: the first part is online (six weeks), followed by onsite training in Orlando (two weeks, offered four times a year). The cost of Equip is $825 per adult, $625 per child 11-18 years old and $485 per child four months to 10 years old (not including travel expenses to and from Orlando. These prices are subject to change.). These eight weeks of training will help lay the foundation for your service with Wycliffe, along with a strong focus on partnership development. The cost for these programs can be covered by income from your partners.

Step 5: Begin your field assignment

You’ve been busy learning about Wycliffe, establishing your partnership team and trusting God to bring all the pieces together in his perfect timing. Once you have completed your partnership development and any required pre-field training, you’ll be released to officially begin your first service assignment. Now, after all these months of praying, trusting and looking to God for guidance, it’s time to pack your bags, say your goodbyes and start this brand new adventure God has in store for you! Once again you’ll be assigned someone to help encourage you in your transition and make sure that you experience success in your first term of service.

Ready to take this next step? Start your application now.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about translation, linguistics, and anthropology!

Linguists make a difference! You will work in diverse situations. It won’t be easy. You will need to rely on others and on God. Click here to find out what it takes.

Thinking About Missions?

This brochure will help you answer critical questions as you consider if missions is right for you. To open this brochure, click here.

Videos for your journey:

Portrait of Bible Translation
The Pehrsons in Papua New Guinea