Wycliffe Associates is seeking volunteers to teach English to Bible translators around the world.
English is a huge part of Bible translation work because of the international make-up of the teams involved. It is the common language used for communication between translators, advisers, consultants and supporting agents.
Commentaries and academic resources are mostly in English and translators must know English to conduct checks of back translations to ensure the accuracy of Scripture translations.
Wycliffe is stepping up efforts to recruit volunteers to its English Language Learning programme with a view to accelarating its Bible translation projects.
The programme exists to "remove the barrier of English" in the Bible translation process, explains Robert Harmon, who directs the programme in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific region.
"Each translation is impacted by the English language," said Dan Kramer, Wycliffe Associates director of education services. "Those involved with translation work must know English to have an impact."
The English Language Learning programme is running in 18 countries across Central and South America, Africa and Asia.
According to Wycliffe, it takes five to seven years of English language learning to gain academic competence in English.
Volunteers can participate from home or by travelling overseas on short-term and long-term mission trips to assist groups of native translators in learning English.
Volunteers do not need to be professional teachers and are given a curriculum to work from.
Home-based volunteers can sign up to communicate with a translator via the internet twice a week over a 40 week period, or email a translator once a week to improve the translator's English skills.
"Our goal is that students will progress to assistants, then to teachers, and eventually to leaders who will be able to take over and maintain ownership and leadership of the training program in their country," says Harmon.
"This will allow local Bible translators to have access to resources in their country where they can receive English language learning and maintain support through local churches."