Once language skills and resources are sufficiently developed, translation begins. The translation team decides which portion of the Bible to translate first, based on what the community wants and needs. The following is a simplified version of translation steps from first draft to a final text.
Translators use the original Greek and Hebrew texts, Biblical commentaries, specific translation commentaries, translations in languages of wider communication, and sometimes translation in related languages to prepare a first draft. Computer specialists have created software programs like FLEx, Phonology Assistant, Paratext, Adapt It, and Translator's Workplace to help speed this process and allow for more accurate translations.
Exegetical and Key Term Check
An exegetical specialist rigorously reviews the draft with the team, paying special attention to key theological terms like "grace" and "forgiveness," in order to ensure the most accurate and clear wording possible.
Throughout the process, members of the translation team share translation drafts with local speakers who have not been involved in the translation process. Their feedback is crucial to understanding what the text actually communicates to the intended audience and whether or not it's accurate when compared to the original Greek and Hebrew texts.
Multilingual members of the community who are not familiar with the project translate the revised first draft back into a language of wider communication (such as English, Russian, French, Swahili, or the local trade language). This "back translation" helps language consultants who don't speak the language to see what the translation is communicating.
A consultant with expertise in translation principles and the original Hebrew or Greek reviews the draft and the back translation verse-by-verse with the translation team and other speakers of the language to make sure the draft is understood accurately. (Wycliffe abides by a set of international standards covering the appointment and qualifications of translation consultants.)
The translation team reviews the preface, glossary, footnotes, spelling, punctuation, verse and chapter numbers, paragraphing, maps, pictures, and captions.
Final Oral Read-Through
A group of readers, generally highly educated and bilingual native speakers of the local language, including key church members, read through the entire translation of Scripture.
Revisions are made, and this process is repeated until the team and others involved are satisfied that the translation can be accurately understood by the intended audience.