Translation work, at a glance, might seem like a pretty simple job. Don’t you just translate, word for word, from one language to another? But in reality, it’s not that easy.
Throw in words that have no equal in another language, cultural connotations, and different grammatical structure. Things get complicated pretty quickly.
This is why Bible translation workers are so diverse in their skill sets. You may have never even thought of the role of translation consulting within this body of work.
What is translation consulting? Rick Floyd is a translation consultant with Wycliffe USA. He also is a professor and instructor teaching linguistics at Biola University. Part of his job includes coordinating translation projects for Spanish-speaking South America. He also consults with a language group he previously worked with in Peru.
So, just what does he do?
“In my view, a translation consultant serves as an extra pair of eyes to maybe spot things that the translation team hasn’t thought of, they’ve overlooked. Suggestions about how something might be rendered that’s a little awkward. To help them think through exegetical issues. So it’s a multiplicity of roles and potential functions,” Floyd says.
He clarifies that it’s not his job to decide whether or not something is a good translation. Rather, his main goal is to help the translation team think through things from different perspectives. He does his best to help them avoid common pitfalls in translation work.