Language Assessment
Malilasurvey.jpgSurvey in Tanzania

Determining Who Needs a Bible Translation.

Language Assessment is foundational in the Bible Translation task. Also known as survey, language assessment plays a key role in helping to determine if a language group needs a Bible translation. Survey can indicate:

  • to what extent related languages/dialects are mutually intelligible and whether they should be treated as distinct languages
  • whether the Scriptures in a neighbouring language, national language or trade language are adequate to meet people’s needs
  • which dialect should be used as a reference for Bible translation
  • what languages people are likely to speak in the coming generations

To do these things survey specialists travel from place to place in a language area administering questionnaires, comparing word lists and doing language intelligibility testing through interviews or using stories on tape. The testing helps the team determine how well the local people understand others from different towns.

Language Assessment is at the cutting edge of the work, with surveyors often being the first point of connection with the language communities. . Surveyors use scientific research methods, the results of which can benefit not just Bible translation, but other agencies interested in minority groups. Surveyors must work long hours under often rugged conditions, but the experience opens up a whole new world of discovery!

Information on Languages

Find out more on the languages of Uganda,Tanzania and others by checking out the Ethnologue, a comprehensive resource listing all the known languages of the world.

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Date Item Title Author
Nov 16, 2006 New Language Discovered Administrator
Nov 16, 2006 Survey in Uganda Administrator
Nov 16, 2006 Survey in Tanzania Susi K
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