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Community Translation Efforts: Translation Department and Vineyard Partner Up Twitter Facebook Print E-mail
Written by Niki McKa and Daniel Fawson   
Monday, 12 September 2011

The Church’s Translation Department and the Helping in the Vineyard team have partnered to provide community volunteers with an opportunity to assist in translating Church publications. Helping in the Vineyard seeks to promote community participation in Church projects, and the Translation Department seeks to promote volunteer translation efforts. “The partnership is a perfect fit for what both groups are trying to accomplish,” says Joe Jatip, a Human Resource manager leading the effort.

Leaders have been coordinating with volunteers throughout the world to facilitate a massive translation effort encompassing many different languages. For example, the Teachings of the Living Prophets manual, used by institute students, is currently being translated into 31 different languages.

The Translation Process

The translation process is facilitated through the Lingotek Collaborative Translation Platform, which takes the content to be translated and breaks it down into smaller sections of text. The content is most often broken down to the paragraph level, but translators can also focus on something as a short as a title or heading.

The Lingotek workspace breaks up the text for translation into small chunks, and volunteers can work on paragraphs or smaller sections within each chunk. Translators also work in teams and earn points for the amount of material they translate.

Lingotek configures the screen so that it is split down the center, with the English text to be translated on the left side of the screen. Once the translator has selected a paragraph, the translation entry box on the right becomes active. The translator can vote on a contributed translation or enter his or her own translation.

The left column shows the content to translate, with a passage highlighted. The right column shows several boxes below the translated text. In the first box, you can see that someone has already translated the material, but it has not been confirmed yet. If the translation is good, the translator clicks the Thumbs Up icon. The next box, “CST,” shows any matches in the Church’s translation memory. The third box shows a Google machine translation.

There are a number of different ways to translate the selected text:

  • Translators can choose to translate from scratch, with no program assistance.
  • Translators can also use a translation memory tool that draws from the translation of previous Church documents. Translation memory allows volunteers to reference previous translations of other Church publications that are similar or, in some cases, identical to the phrases a translator is working on.
  • Translators can select an option to use Google Translate, which provides a full machine translation of the selected text. Translators have the option to keep the machine translation if they feel it is accurate or to modify it if they feel any changes are necessary.

Each translation must receive two other votes before it is considered complete. Revisions can be made if necessary. When the reviewing translators are satisfied with the text, that particular section is locked down, meaning volunteers are able to refer back to it for review but can no longer make edits. Once all of the sections in a project have been reviewed and locked down, the completed project will be sent to a professional translator for review.

Along with ease of translation, other benefits come from using Lingotek. The system plugs in to the Church’s Translation Department translation memory database, meaning the work of community volunteers may also assist in the work of the Translation Department. Leveraging community volunteers in translation work has also proved cost-effective for the Church.

Recruiting Challenges

While this new translation effort has been successful, group leaders still need many more volunteers. “One of the biggest challenges right now is finding community volunteers who speak some of the languages we’re looking for,” Jatip said. Volunteers who can speak Chinese, Korean, Japanese, German, and Russian have been particularly difficult to find. Jatip said the goal is to have 10 volunteers assigned to a project, with each volunteer committing up to two hours of time each week. If this is accomplished, Jatip said each project should be completed in roughly five and a half weeks.

Teachings of the Living Prophets is currently being translated into multiple languages by the volunteer community. Other projects such as Family History knowledge articles and DVD packing labels are being worked on as well.

Getting Started with the Translation Effort

To become a part of the Community Translation effort, follow these steps:

  1. Go to
  2. On the home page, click Register Now.
  3. Sign in with your LDS Account user name and password.
  4. Click the Opportunities tab at the top of the page.
  5. Scroll down to the Translation section and click Choose from 1 activity.
  6. Check the Translate Documents box, and click Save to My Workspace. Once you save the translation activity to your workspace, it will always be available to you from the My Workspace tab.

To start translating:

  1. Go to
  2. Click the Sign In button at the top and sign in with your LDS Account.
  3. On the My Workspace tab, next to the Translation activity, click Start.
  4. Click Start Activity.
  5. When prompted with the Content Submission Agreement, click I agree.
  6. Until you have specified language pairs, you will not see any content to translate. Click your name in the upper-right corner. In the Language Pairs section, click Add to select the source and target languages you want to translate. For example, if you’re translating from English to Spanish, you would choose English as the source and Spanish as the target. Then click Save. You can also add another pair, choosing Spanish as the source and English as the target, or additional languages.
  7. When finished, click Home. If you set up the pairs correctly, you will see a list of documents to translate.

For more help, see the LDS Community Translation Wiki. You can also view some recorded training sessions here.

Newsletter and Other Notifications

You can sign up to receive a newsletter featuring general information and updates about Vineyard activities. To sign up for the newsletter and other notifications:

  1. Sign in to the Vineyard.
  2. Click the My Profile tab.
  3. In the Notifications section, select the Opportunities and News & Events check boxes. The updates will be sent to the e-mail specified in your LDS Account.

You can also receive “Helping in the Vineyard” updates through Twitter (#LDSVineyard) and Facebook Helping in the Vineyard. For more information, contact Joe Jatip at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



# Joesph 2011-09-13 14:50
Seems like an interesting name "Helping in the Vineyard". Since consuming the products of the vineyard will get you excommunicated from the church.
# Tom Johnson 2011-09-15 12:15
Yes, it is ironic. Sometimes the metaphors don't entirely apply...
# JNC 2011-09-25 10:54
It probably comes from scriptures like Jacob 5:71-72 and Doctrine and Covenants 72:5.
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