There are currently over 1,600 languages, including 124 million people, without any Scripture in the language they know best. Others have portions but are still waiting to receive the full counsel of God.
Thankfully, over 3,000 languages have translation work in progress. But it takes many people, working in all kinds of professional roles, to support such expansive kingdom work. Seed Company’s Internship Program exists to unleash the potential of these people.
Numbers pulled from ProgressBible™ SNAPSHOT, January 2023.
Partnering to Reach Every Last Language with God’s Word
The Seed Company Internship Program provides academic and practical training for promising leaders serving with partner organizations in Bible translation worldwide. Through this funded opportunity, we invest in talented local translators and leaders to ensure that the global Bible translation movement continues to accelerate.
Types of Internships
One of the biggest challenges to translation work is the difficulty in finding translation consultants and exegetical facilitators (mid-level quality assurance checkers) who can provide:
- final advising and checking for translated texts in four areas: accuracy, clarity, naturalness, and acceptability;
- a rich understanding of the target language and culture; and
- the ability to bridge the two in a translation.
Our quality assurance internships seek to close this gap. With every final check of Scripture, translation teams, churches, and communities gain confidence that their translations are faithful yet culturally relevant renderings of the original biblical texts.
In partnership with organizations worldwide, Seed Company is committed to growing our global quality assurance workforce by offering high-quality education—coupled with personal growth plans and practicums—to qualified men and women in areas essential to Bible translation efforts.
Since 1995, we have helped 409 interns* gain the skills they needed to serve as translation consultants and exegetical facilitators across the globe.
*As of July 22, 2022
Consultant in Training Internship
“Without consultants, people are left with no Scripture, or perhaps worse yet, a poor translation that can negatively influence churchgoers for generations.”
— Dr. Larry Jones, CEO of Seed Company
Translation consultants ensure that a translation communicates accurately—within the cultural context—what the original authors of Scripture intended. They make certain that all meaning is captured in the translation and that no extra detail has been inserted.
Lack of translation consultants is one of the largest bottlenecks facing the global Bible translation movement.
Sometimes projects are delayed simply because there aren’t enough available translation consultants. Our Consultant in Training program seeks to fill the global pipeline of future translation consultants so we can reduce this shortage. To keep up with the growing demand for Bible translation, we need approximately 150 more consultants over the next three years.
Exegetical Facilitator Internship
Exegetical Facilitators train and mentor translation teams in their understanding of the original text. Responsible for guiding the translation team in making good exegetical decisions in the first stages of drafting and revision, they free up valuable time for the consultant. As a result, the consultant can check twice the number of translations they normally would if no exegetical facilitator were available.
Watch a video about an exegetical facilitator named Alfred, who completed Seed Company’s internship program in 2018 and sacrificed greatly to bring God’s Word to six neighboring language groups who didn’t have it:
A successfully run translation project requires more than just identifying and training those who will work closely with biblical texts. It takes a great deal of leadership for projects to run smoothly, and capacity building interns learn what it takes to grow in people management, efficient operations, and field programming.
Once they complete their programs, these leaders “pay it forward” by training others—amplifying a cycle of growth in which native speakers empower community members to take the lead in Bible translation and Scripture engagement.
Below are the categories of Capacity Building Internships that Seed Company supports:
Just like any well-run enterprise, Bible translation organizations need capable leadership in order to reach their full potential. Leadership interns train in the following areas:
- Leadership Development
All Bible translation organizations need the same kinds of support staff as any nonprofit. Otherwise, Bible translators wouldn’t have the ability to do what they do. Operations interns specialize in one of four fields:
Finally, every field program needs administrators and coordinators to help the community engage with translated Scripture. Field Program interns can specialize in one of the following:
- Language Program Manager
- Translation Facilitator
- Orality Facilitator
- Scripture Engagement
In 2021, four capacity building interns completed our program, and since 1995, 194 capacity building interns have gone on to become effective leaders who will ultimately grow their teams and organizations for greater momentum in the Bible translation movement. The more we build capacity in this way, the more languages can be reached.
To keep up with the growing demand for Bible translation, we need approximately 100 more leaders in supporting roles over the next three years for the successful design, monitoring, and completion of every project.
How the Seed Company Internship Program Identifies Candidates
The Seed Company Internship Program isn’t just about providing professional training; it’s also about making disciples who make disciples. We care about the whole person, their walk with the Lord, and their ministry.
Many candidates have already obtained bachelor’s degrees or master’s degrees in theology when they apply to the Internship Program. We look for candidates with a demonstrated vision for—and a calling to—wider service in Bible translation. In addition, they must exhibit spiritual maturity, moral character, and leadership abilities.
When a qualified candidate applies, a growth plan and proposed budget are created for them. As they progress through their internship, they provide reports documenting their progress and receive mentoring at the local level to help ensure their success. At the end, they are awarded an achievement document and go on to serve in local and regional Bible translation organizations around the world.
As a result of this thorough process, approximately 84% of interns who complete our Internship Program remain in Bible translation*, continuing to build global capacity by passing on what they’ve received to others.