FNV Translation Process

Here is a Short Version of the Vision for the First Nations Version: New Testament

The First Nations Version of the New Testament is a new translation, attempting to capture the clarity and beauty of our Native storytellers in English, while remaining faithful to the original language of the NT.

By tradition, First Nations people are oral storytellers. The FNV is a retelling of the Creator’s Story—or the Scriptures in the tradition of the storytellers of these oral cultures. Many of the First Nations tribes still resonate with the cultural and linguistic thought patterns found in their original tongues. This way of speaking with it’s simple yet profound beauty and rich cultural idioms, still resonate in the hearts of First Nations people.

The FNV will take in consideration contextual word choices, idiomatic expressions, and modifications in paragraph and sentence structure that clarify and facilitate understanding of the Scriptures. Bible translators and reviewers will be continually concerned with maintaining the accuracy of the translation and its faithfulness to the intended meaning of the biblical writers as understood by First Nations people in their context.

Here are the steps of the translation process:

Each step is overseen by the Project Manager for the First Nations Version; who provides coordination with OneBook, review guidance, quality control, recruitment of volunteers, promotion of the project, and acts as liaison with Native Churches and Ministries regarding the FNV.

First, a draft is prepared, verse by verse, using the Key-terms agreed upon by the First Nations Version Translation council.

After each draft is finished for each portion of the New Testament, it is sent to a punctuation specialist, who has volunteered to do an initial punctuation check. This person also enters all the SFM Markers needed for transition into ParaText.

After drafting is completed it is entered into ParaText—a highly sophisticated Biblical translation software where checks are made against the key-terms and other translation requirements.

ParaText Website: https://pt8.paratext.org/features/

From ParaText a new document is downloaded and then uploaded into Google Docs for the review process. Each Biblical book is broken into segments of about four chapters.

The approved reviewers from differing First Nations Tribes then begin to review the draft and make suggestions. Working collaboratively using Google Docs the reviewers suggest possible changes. Any significant changes are brought before the Translation Council for input and approval. The Project Manager oversees this process and when needed makes the final decision. All changes are then entered into ParaText.

Each document requires at least 4 First Nations reviewers, who check verse by verse for readability, clarity of understanding, cultural relevance, and simplicity of language. Other non-native reviewers are sometimes used for editing and feedback from a non-native perspective.

After each segment is finished with this part of the review process, it is then turned over to the FNV Consultant who has more than 45 years of translation experience world-wide.

After the final Consultant check, another check is done in ParaText for any changes that have been made.

Finally, the finished text is exported from ParaText and sent to a print specialist who prepares the text for printing.

Information and guidelines for reviewers:

  1. Remember, the draft that has been created already takes into account the key-terms agreed upon by the Translation Council. Reviewers need not be highly Biblically literate, they are checking for readability and not necessarily for Biblical accuracy—that will be reviewed by others.
  2. If the reviewer is good with the draft no suggestions need to be made and the reviewer would then sign off on the draft.
  3. Each reviewer is encouraged to compare the draft to a favorite Bible, verse by verse, as it is read through.
  4. Look for readability, clarity of understanding, cultural relevancy, and simplicity of language.
  5. Is the style as close as possible to the more traditional way our Native elders spoke English? Focus suggestions on better possible ways to express this.
  6. So far about 90% of suggestions have been used. The reviewer may be contacted by phone to discuss the suggested changes if necessary.
  7. One of our reviewers says it takes perhaps a couple of hours to review four chapters. Your time frame may vary.