We finished our consultant check of Matthew in the Tiada language a few weeks ago, and I think I’ve finally de-stressed enough that I can sit down and write a post about it. That was a really, really busy 2 1/2 weeks! Since I don’t do translation myself, this was an opportunity for me to learn a lot about how the process works and what the translation team (made up entirely of Tiada people) needs in order to succeed. We also found that there are several things I can help the team with in the future even though I’m no linguist.
So, what is a consultant check? In short, it is one last step in the approval of all the work the translation team has done up to this point before the material is ready for publication. As an outsider, the consultant from our organization can see the translation for what it is without the rose-colored glasses that all who work on it on a day-to-day basis tend to wear.
We brought in some other Tiada speakers to help us with the check. The consultant would ask questions about the content or meaning of each verse and ask them to answer based on what the verse said. Since they have never seen the translation before we can get unbiased answers from them. They are asked to answer from what the text actually says, not what they might think is correct based on what they remember about the passage or what they learned in Sunday School. This helps the translation team ascertain whether their writing is accurate, clear, and understandable. When the helpers have trouble answering questions or answer incorrectly, we know that there’s an issue. Maybe the sentence is awkward, there is missing information, or the grammar is incorrect.
This is a painstaking process! This was the first consultant check for all of us, so there were a lot of issues to deal with. Some sections and chapters were excellent and we flew right through them; other sections needed some work. During the check, we were able to finish up through Matthew chapter 18, and I’m pleased to say that it’s approved for use! We are working on finding some funding and having a second consultant check later this year to finish up chapters 19-28. Then we can finally get Matthew printed: the first officially approved Scripture in this language!
The team and I learned a lot during this check, and there’s some work we want to do before the next consultant check to make sure that we’re ready to go with a clear, accurate, and understandable translation.
Well, if you were ever wondering what a consultant check is, now you know. And knowing is half the battle (ala G.I. Joe).