Translation Process

Translation requires many hands.

Accuracy and accessibility begin with the translation process.

It doesn’t matter if we’re translating one verse or one hundred, there are many, many steps that must happen in the translation process. Far more than in text-to-text translation.

For each translation, our team follows an 14-step plan that involves several video iterations, many comprehension assessments, and post-production polishing.

Step 1

Exegetical research
Our exegetical team researches ideas, themes, and relevant background information which is important to the translation.

This critical step allows the translator to accurately portray the Biblical text in context so viewers can fully grasp and understand its meaning.
1

Step 2

Initial draft
After the translator discusses the passage with the exegetical team, the first draft of the translation is recorded. This is the moment that text first becomes sign!

This is usually not done in a single shot. The clips are then edited together to create an initial draft. This critical step gives the translator a clear mental image of the content so they can sign it clearly.
1

Step 3

Revisions and re-recording
This happens several times throughout the translation process and is usually the step that takes the most time and effort. Revisions are made to:
  • Fix errors in meaning
  • Tweak signed names or terms
  • Clarify or prevent misinterpretation
  • Correct inconsistencies
  • Rearrange to better fit JSL linguistics
1

Step 4

Comprehension check
This check is included early in the process when working with new translators. We invite members of the Deaf community, both those who are not Christian and those who are, to view the drafts and tell us what they understand the draft to mean. This valuable feedback helps ensure that the translation can be accessible to anyone regardless of familiarity with Christianity or scripture.
1

Step 5

Revisions and re-recording
These revisions are based on what we learned from the community comprehension check. We revise and re-record to:
  • Fix errors in meaning
  • Tweak signed names or terms
  • Clarify or prevent misinterpretation
  • Correct inconsistencies
  • Rearrange to better fit JSL linguistics
1

Step 6

Consultant check
Trained translation consultants check the drafts at various points in the translation process and works closely with the team to address any potential problems that arise. It's important for our team to receive third-party feedback from someone trained in exegesis, linguistics, and sociocultural aspects that may impact the translation.
1

Step 7

Revisions and re-recording
This happens several times throughout the translation process and is usually the step that takes the most time and effort. Revisions are made to:
  • Fix errors in meaning
  • Tweak signed names or terms
  • Clarify or prevent misinterpretation
  • Correct inconsistencies
  • Rearrange to better fit JSL linguistics

These revisions based on feedback from the translation consultant are usually via SLTT, a video annotation web app. In addition, online or in person discussions also take place.
1

Step 8

Comprehension check
By this point the draft should look fairly seamless. At this community check we focus on ensuring the translation doesn’t appear stilted but flows naturally allowing viewers to understand the content accurately.

Again, we invite both Christian and non-Christian individuals from the Deaf community to come back to view our updated drafts and give us feedback.
1

Step 9

Revisions and re-recording
This step is crucial for the translation to be accurately understood. Strained and unnatural language patterns cause confusion and can lead to errors in interpreting what the scripture says.

Based on the feedback we receive in the previous step, we revise and re-record to:
  • Fix errors in meaning
  • Tweak signed names or terms
  • Clarify or prevent misinterpretation
  • Correct inconsistencies
  • Rearrange to better fit JSL linguistics

With this revision, the feedback is usually given through annotation web app called SLTT online. Of course, if the time difference works out, they also meet online or in person to further discuss some of the points.
1

Step 10

Final consultant check
After reviewing the new draft, translation consultants offer suggestions for any necessary additional edits.
1

Step 11

Revisions and re-recording
After revisions are made based on the final consultant check, the signers practice shadowing the entire draft in preparation for the final recording.

We sometimes re-record the entire chapters so that the signers can shadow them smoothly. When we do, we will run it by the consultant again.
1

Step 12

Final recording
Once the drafts are finalized, we’re ready for the last recording. When we’re drafting, we insert revised snippets into the draft video. Not this time. For this final recording sometimes one take will be an entire chapter or sizable section of scripture. This is fundamental in producing a high-quality translation that is consistent from one passage to the next.

Besides recording, this step involves additional preparation; lighting and technical set up, as well as caring for make-up, hair and wardrobe for the signer.
1

Step 13

Post-production
Our team imports the final video clips to the computer for final editing. Sometimes images and captions are added to help with meaning and context. Scripture references are added in the corner.
1

Step 14

Publishing
Finally, the scripture is ready to be published and viewed. Our team publishes the final videos on YouTube and through our free app available for your mobile device.

We also produce a small number of DVDs for community members who have limited familiarity or access to technology.
1

This process can take months, even years, to complete – especially without the funding and support needed.

Romans (9-16)
1
2
2
3
3
4
4
5
5
6
6
7
7
8
8
9
9
10
10
11
11
12
12
13
13
14
14
At the beginning of the year, we gathered in Yamagata and revised the translation. Did you know that nodding is an important element in Japanese Sign Language grammar? The timing of a single nod can change the context and greatly affect the naturalness of a sentence. We are now making revisions with the consultant.
1 Corinthians (1-7)
1
2
2
3
3
4
4
5
5
6
6
7
7
8
8
9
9
10
10
11
11
12
12
13
13
14
14
On February 9, the 1 Corinthians team recorded chapters 1-7. Next is the necessary editing before we can publish these chapters on the app. The editing is a careful step-by-step process which includes video cuts, superimposing text such as scripture reference, and preparing the bilingual function (there is an option to view a written Japanese translation beside the JSL translation).
Joshua (1-12)
1
2
2
3
3
4
4
5
5
6
6
7
7
8
8
9
9
10
10
11
11
12
12
13
13
14
14
After reorganizing the team, we met in person and revised the draft. We reviewed our on-line communication and examined the overall flow and presentation of the translation. It is currently being checked by a translation consultant. The next step is to prepare for another community comprehension check.

The process of getting scripture off the page, into sign, onto video, and into the hands of the community is intensive. Not only does it require special knowledge and skill, it also requires expensive equipment and extensive time from our team members.

Our team is aiming to have the entire New Testament completely translated and published by 2032. As of December 2022, we’re 74% there.

Overall, our team is 35% done with the entire Bible.

Want updates?
Join our newsletter.

Every day, our team moves closer to a complete signed Bible for the Deaf population in Japan. Join our newsletter and get updates on our progress delivered to your email.

Want updates?
Join our newsletter.

Every day, our team moves closer to a complete signed Bible for the Deaf population in Japan. Join our newsletter and get updates on our progress delivered to your email.

Want updates?
Join our newsletter.

Join our newsletter and get occasional updates on our progress delivered to your email.

JSL Bibleの最新情報を
メルマガでお届けしています

翻訳状況や翻訳の舞台裏などを、定期的にメルマガで配信中!登録はこちらから