Missionary Training

Eshinee Veith & Tiffany Smith

About The Episode

Training for missionary service through Lutheran Bible Translators focuses on developing a deeper understanding of language and preparing for service on multicultural teams.  

Go behind the scenes with Training Coordinator Eshinee Veith and Missionary-in-Training Tiffany Smith. Discover how Lutheran Bible Translators preps missionaries for international service.


00:00
Eshinee Veith
You. Today’s translation missionaries are typically finding themselves plugged into ongoing translation work, or at least helping with founding a new translation project. They need to know enough about translation to be able to support a project very shortly after arriving in the field. 


00:24
Rich Rudowske
Welcome to the centrally translatable podcast brought to you by Luke and Bible translators. I’m Rich Redowski. 


00:29
Emily Wilson
And I’m Emily Wilson. And we want to say a big old thank you. 10,000 listens. Actually, over 10,000 listens now. 


00:37
Rich Rudowske
We are very thankful. 


00:38
Emily Wilson
You guys are awesome. 


00:39
Rich Rudowske
It’s been a lot of fun. Yeah, you made it happen. You did. And speaking of making it happen, we love your comments. You can comment on the podcast if you use the Apple podcast app as a place to comment there. Otherwise, you can take your comments by email at info@lbt.org and it does work. Yeah, it’ll get there. And we also not only your comments about episodes, but ideas for content. And today’s content came from an idea from one of our listeners, Chris P. From South Dakota, who suggested we talk about. 


01:12
Emily Wilson
Oh yeah, he asked if we could talk about training. Like, what does it mean to be on the field before the field, like, okay, what goes into it? So we responded with a big old yes, right? 


01:25
Eshinee Veith
Yeah. 


01:25
Emily Wilson
So we interviewed ishni Vite and Tiffany Smith. So Ishni Vite is our training coordinator here at Lutheran Bible translators and she provides support for not only missionaries, but also staff being able to enhance our skills with further training and just development. So she has been working with Tiffany Smith, who is a pre field missionary. So Ishni and Tiffany both have actually been in Botswana. Ishni served for a number of years in Botswana with the way translation team and Tiffany was an intern there for almost three months. So she had a little background, but now she’s at Morelands College in the UK. So yeah, lots of interesting content as they talk about what their experiences have been like internationally, but then also on skill development. 


02:19
Rich Rudowske
Yeah. So sit back, relax and enjoy this conversation with Ishni Weit and Tiffany Smith. 


02:28
Emily Wilson
So today on the podcast we have training coordinator Ishni Weit and pre field missionary Tiffany Smith joining us on the podcast. Welcome ladies. 


02:37
Eshinee Veith
Hi. 


02:38
Speaker 4
Thank you. 


02:40
Emily Wilson
So where are you in the world? We’re in different areas, all of us. All four of us. So where are you in the world right now? 


02:48
Speaker 4
I am currently in England doing my missionary training. So I guess more specifically, I’m in Christchurch, which is about 2 hours southwest of London. So taking a train to London would be about like an hour and a half ride, 2 hours, but yeah, near the coast. It’s beautiful, actually. Rainy, but beautiful. 


03:14
Rich Rudowske
Yes. And speaking of rainy, beautiful places, Ishni, where are you? 


03:19
Eshinee Veith
I’m in Bellingham, Washington, just north of Seattle, which is. Yeah, it’s beautiful. 


03:29
Emily Wilson
So can you share with us what your respective roles are? Right, like, so as a pre field missionary, Tiffany, what does that look like for you? 


03:37
Speaker 4
Yeah, basically my job right now is to prepare myself for a job on the field overseas, which for me is, God willing, Botswana. And so although my training isn’t always directly or specifically related to life in Botswana, it is preparing me for the life of a missionary work in Bible translation, language and culture, learning, all that kind of stuff. And it’s not just physical preparation for me, it’s also like spiritual preparation as well. Yeah, just kind of getting into the right mindset for this career path that I am now on. 


04:20
Rich Rudowske
And how long have you been in Christchurch doing that? 


04:24
Speaker 4
I’ve been at Christian College, which is here in Christchurch since the end of August. We started courses the first week of September and we’re just now coming out of our Christmas break. So I have about six weeks left of the training course that I’m on. 


04:45
Rich Rudowske
So in total that will be about six, yeah. 


04:49
Speaker 4
Yeah. 


04:50
Rich Rudowske
Cool. 


04:51
Emily Wilson
And what about for you, Ishni? What is your role as training coordinator for Lutheran Bible translators like? 


04:57
Eshinee Veith
Well, I basically coordinate training. I just did a bad thing in a definition for something. You never use the same words that are in the term you’re defining, but I’m just going to run with it. So I coordinate training for LBT staff, so both office staff and missionaries. So I help people in various roles figure out what skills they should develop and I help find them a path to develop those skills. Sometimes that means directing them to external training programs. So for missionaries, there are other Bible translation organizations that have pretty well developed training programs, such as the one at Morelands that Tiffany is attending. 


05:40
Eshinee Veith
Many of these are at graduate school level like Morelands, and we typically send new missionaries to programs like these for their pre field training or at least part of their pre field training for many of the technical skills that are associated with Bible translation. But I also do in house training as well. I help manage CMI Concordia Mission Institute, which is our annual week long training event for office staff and missionaries that’s held in Missouri. I support our global translation partners as well. So, for example, I’ve developed curriculum for and taught students at the Makana Yesu seminary in Ethiopia, which has a Bible translation track in their Bachelor of theology program, and the first cohort of that program is due to graduate this year. So I’m pretty excited about that. 


06:29
Emily Wilson
Sometimes I think Ishnia will be of a shorter answer to ask what you don’t do. 


06:36
Rich Rudowske
And she’s on auto train. She even did something wrong and then trained us why it was wrong in the middle of the whole. 


06:45
Eshinee Veith
Mini semantics. 


06:45
Rich Rudowske
There we go. So, yeah, we want to talk a little bit about the necessary components for prefield training to kind of start that. Talk about an example of what you learned as a prefield missionary. And I think we’ll kind of get into how your own missionary and field experience shaped how you view the task of prefield training. 


07:04
Eshinee Veith
Yeah, my training was a little unusual because I knew I wanted to be involved in Bible translation before I had even heard of Lutheran Bible translators. So I started with a bachelor’s degree in linguistics, which isn’t typically required for LBT missionaries to get a whole bachelor’s degree in that. But after I joined LBT, my training included more advanced linguistic subjects like semantics and discourse analysis. And I also studied greek and exegetical methods at a seminary where I was a teaching assistant for a summer greek course as well, because one of the best ways to learn something is to try to teach somebody else that thing. And I also took a few courses related to my husband Rob’s work. 


07:46
Eshinee Veith
I took analysis of non western music and vernacular media program know, again, this is not normal, but it was really good for me to do some of that because it helped me support him in his ministry on the field by understanding what he was talking about when he talked about certain things. 


08:07
Speaker 4
So that was good. 


08:09
Eshinee Veith
Apart from the academic type training, I read some books that were assigned basic mythiology type stuff, general mythology. And I watched a series of videos on self defense and security for risk management in the field. And as far as training, before going to the field goes for the first time, this was really it. That’s basically what I got. 


08:34
Rich Rudowske
Okay. And then for the sake of the listeners, I guess, talk a little bit about your missionary experience briefly how long you were there, kinds of stuff you did, and how that experience then shapes how you view your task of preparing others for the same kind of work, maybe different kinds of work. 


08:49
Eshinee Veith
I went to Botswana with LBT in 2007, and I was there for ten years working in Bible translation in a translation project in Maun with the Waye Bible translation project. So I helped get them started in doing translation into the chie language. 


09:11
Emily Wilson
Can you share a little bit about with your experience in Botswana that kind of shaped the way you actually approach doing the coordination of training and just really focusing in on building skills for missionaries and staff alike. So in what it was it a positive impact? Like, oh, this is what I actually learned and this was the application, or what did you almost feel like, okay, this was almost missing to be able to say, I want future prefielders to go through this kind of training to better prepare them for their service in their partnerships, like more technical skills and soft skills alike. 


09:53
Eshinee Veith
Yeah, I would not be able to do what I’m doing now without that field experience. To be honest. It helped me understand what if the training that I received was critical? There were things that I didn’t know how to do when I was there that I had to figure out on my own. And a lot of what I figured out by talking to my colleagues both in LBT and outside of LBT. So there were a lot of things that I thought, boy, I wish I had known something about that before I went to the field. And so there was some coursework that I did after my first term, in particular that I thought this would have been good for my situation. This would have been good prior to my first term. 


10:34
Eshinee Veith
Even so, like, training and translation principles wasn’t a part of my pre field training. 


10:39
Rich Rudowske
That may surprise me, ironically. 


10:41
Eshinee Veith
Yeah. So I think this is because missionaries would typically spend the first term getting settled into their new home and learning a language, sometimes two languages. It could be the language spoken by most people in the country and then the language that they’re helping translate into. And so they might not even get around to starting to do any kind of translation work at all in their first term. That was pretty common for most missionaries being sent out. And so then typically they would come back and during their first time back in the states or in Canada after their first term is when they would get training in translation principles. But what’s happening is that today’s translation missionaries are typically finding themselves plugged into ongoing translation work, or at least helping with founding a new translation project very shortly after arriving in the field. 


11:36
Eshinee Veith
And so they need to know enough about translation to be able to support a project very quickly on in their first term. And so I had a bit of that experience myself in my first term, and I’m seeing that’s as very common in missionary experience now. So I do prefer that prefield training does include at least one translation course if a missionary is going to be working in translation. Another change that’s come about is that we don’t just train everyone to be a translator if that’s not what they’re going to be doing. We have a pretty good sense of what people are going to be doing now, and we like to be intentional about placing people in projects that we have equipped them for. 


12:27
Eshinee Veith
So we know whether or not a person is going to need to know how to analyze a language from scratch and develop a writing system. Like, I know how to develop an orthography, and that’s just not a skill that everyone needs. It’s kind of fun to know how, but we don’t need to overtrain people. And so the idea that we train people for the job that they will be doing, that we assume they will be doing based on the context that we’re placing them in, that’s more what we’re gearing towards now. So another big shift, though, is that we train people not just for the work that they will be doing, but the life that they will be living, because living overseas, it’s just different. 


13:10
Eshinee Veith
There are different things that we need to know how to take care of ourselves in a whole variety of ways, like from spiritual, emotional, practical. So there was a process that I went through, a team of us, got together a few years back and said, what are all the things that we wish we had learned before going to the field that would have made our everything better for that first term in particular? And we made a list, we wrote it all down and we categorized it. And so now we have a system, we have a spreadsheet so that when someone is coming on board, we sit down with them and we say, what are the skills that you have? What are the skills that we think you’re going to need? 


13:54
Eshinee Veith
And then we create a timeline that goes from the day they’re hired till the day they step on a plane and beyond. We say, these are the things we’re going to work out a plan for you to get all the things we think you will need. Are there going to be surprises when they get to the field? Is there going to be training that they’re going to find out, oh, I need this. But you know what? If we can set them up as solidly as we can before they go, and I have a database that I collect of things that I know that it’s not covered prefield, but I know it’s coming. Someone will contact me and be like, oh, I’ve got this issue. Can you help me find training in this? Well, I’m collecting resources all the time. 


14:33
Eshinee Veith
I say, oh, yeah, I’ve got a folder of material you can use for that just in time training. We can do that on the field. So, yeah, definitely. My experience in the field has and the experience of other people in the field. We have a wealth of experience that people. We’ve learned lessons the hard way, and we need to be tapping into that regularly and finding ways of sharing that information with each other and growing constantly. 


15:01
Emily Wilson
Absolutely. So one of the points that you brought up was like, okay, what are some former skills that you have gained in your undergraduate or maybe previous missionary experience or previous career experience? So when I first met you, Tiffany, you were studying theology, but also having an area of focus in English as a second language, being able to teach and to be able to network in a way with english language learners. So can you share a little bit about your previous exposure to linguistics learning and how that actually may have changed? How’s your experience been different or similar? 


15:42
Speaker 4
Yeah. So at Concordia, I did do English as a second language for the last full year that I was a student because I was a theology. I got my degree in theology, but I had no idea what I wanted to do with it for a couple of years there. And by the time I realized, oh, I think I want to go into mission work, maybe teaching English, maybe Bible translation, which came, like, about senior year, that’s when I decided to focus a little bit more on linguistics. But, yeah, if I could change one thing about my undergrad studies, it would be to do that sooner, even though God obviously had his hand and everything and the timing of everything worked out the way that it did for a reason. 


16:27
Speaker 4
But, yeah, I wish I would have focused a little bit more on maybe just linguistics rather than English as a second language too, because what I’m realizing more and more is that unless you’re going into actually teaching people English as a second language, dissecting the english language and learning how to teach it doesn’t necessarily come in use when you’re working in an entirely different language, it can kind of help you to understand how languages work and everything, for sure. But I think that having more of a background in linguistics by itself would have been really helpful. So that’s something I wish I could go back and change just about my own experience, but with what I have, it’s come into use a lot. Just thinking. 


17:12
Speaker 4
Learning to think like a linguist and in Bible translation, I think that it’s really helpful, at least it was when I was an intern back in 2019. And then here in this course, it’s been pretty helpful too, because we’ve done a lot of language learning and language learning strategies, how to effectively learn a language when you’re out on the field. And so, yeah, it’s come into use, and I’ve actually been able to expand on what I learned because, like I said, I didn’t do it until, really, my senior year of college. And so this is kind of built on my prior experience, which is really good because I needed that. 


17:53
Rich Rudowske
So what are some of the things that you’ve been learning while you’ve been at morelands that you find helpful? 


17:59
Speaker 4
Yeah, so much. We started off with a course called language and culture. Learning, actually, is what it was called. And so, like I said, we learned strategies for learning a language, how to the different kinds of culture and how to integrate yourself into the culture and how to be the best help that you can be in a different culture, and how to get rid of your western mindset and adjust to a different kind of mindset in order to effectively work and relate to other people in whatever culture that you’re going to. We did phonetics, a course in phonetics, which was really fun because that was one thing I didn’t do in my undergrad. And it was really helpful just for language learning because breaking it down to just, like, the sounds and everything was really interesting and helpful. 


18:57
Speaker 4
We also did a practicum of language learning. So it was only, like three weeks, kind of a crash course of applying these language learning strategies that we had learned before, and then actually trying to learn a language using those. And so half of the class learned kind of like a beginner’s course in Syrian Arabic. And then the other half, which was the half I was in, learned Syrian Kurdish. So we had two ladies. One of them taught my class syrian Kurdish, and it was really cool to be able to just dive straight in. She didn’t know English very well at all. And so it was literally just, yeah, she would tell us a word and we’d repeat it back, and then she’d show us what that meant. And by using pictures or items or whatever. 


19:47
Speaker 4
And unfortunately, the class got cut off because of went into isolation for a while. But, yeah, so that was that class. And then after that, we learned a little bit more of how to work on a team once we go out onto the field, what it means to use our gifts and strengths and plan healthy planning and communication and all of those sorts of things. We did a course in scripture engagement and then a course in oral Bible storing and story crafting, which was, I think, honestly, I think that’s been my favorite so far. And, yeah, now here we are more than halfway through, so it’s all flown by really fast. But within all of those courses, I mean, there’s a lot more to it. But that’s kind of the gist of it, of what I’ve been learning so far. 


20:36
Emily Wilson
What have you found the most challenging along the way? I mean, you had mentioned phonetics was a first time, but also learning another language and having maybe a barrier or maybe the dialect, because you still are in the UK and there are some dialect differences. So what is it, then that has been particularly challenging for you? 


21:01
Speaker 4
Yeah, honestly, I was really beating myself up at the beginning because I was one of only two people in our entire class that doesn’t speak another language. And so I thought I was going to be at a huge just disadvantage. I would say that I maybe was at a slight disadvantage in some aspects, but other than that, I think I can say now that I’m living proof that you don’t have to know another language to go to this sort of training or get into a job like this, because you can always learn along the way. I don’t even know how many words in Kurdish that if you’d asked me a couple of years ago, oh, you’ll learn Kurdish. Like, never would have thought I’d be able to. 


21:45
Speaker 4
But even just in three weeks, I was able to learn certain phrases or words just because of the teacher or because of my classmates. And so it really just depends on how much work you’re willing to put in and everything. But, yeah, you don’t have to know a second language in order to do something like this. So that ended up being a really encouraging thing. But it was a challenge at first just because I was making it, I think, a challenge for myself, like, oh, I don’t know another language. I have no other resources to pull from when we’re talking about phonetics or linguistics or whatever, but it actually left a lot of room for me to grow, too, and a lot of room to learn. 


22:20
Speaker 4
So, yeah, there are positives and negatives to it, but for me, I think the positives outweighed the negatives in the end. But it’s been a good challenge because I’ve also been able to learn from my classmates and my friends, like, oh, what does that word mean? Or how do you make this sound? Because I know it’s in French, but it’s not in English. So tell me, where do I put my tongue in my mouth to make that noise? And how does that work? So it ended up being a good kind of challenge that I could grow through. 


22:48
Eshinee Veith
Yeah. 


22:49
Rich Rudowske
Cool. 


22:49
Eshinee Veith
Yeah. 


22:49
Rich Rudowske
For the listeners, too. I should just mention if you have the chance to take a course in phonetics, at least, even if you’re not going to go into any other kind of work, then there’s a whole world of international phonetic Alphabet memes that you can be part of at that point. Now, I know Tiffany is another person I can send my memes to. So anyways, Ishni, there’s so much fun. 


23:10
Eshinee Veith
Yeah. 


23:10
Rich Rudowske
Ishni, back in the day, you kind of alluded to this, but back in the day, when you and I were going through training, LBT and probably a lot of other agencies kind of had just a standard. Okay, if you’re going to training, you’re going to this kind of training. Talk a little bit about your thought process for how you selected this program for Tiffany, based on what we know at this point about what she might be doing and what the program offers. 


23:32
Eshinee Veith
There are. So there are several academic level, academic oriented training programs that have been developed by Bible translation personnel where you can learn directly from people who are not only knowledgeable about translation work, but who have overseas firsthand translation experience. And so each program is going to have its own focus, its own features. And so when we look at selecting a program for a new missionary, we look at what each program has to offer, and then we compare it with a missionary’s needs and interests. So for Tiffany, she wanted to do in person training, and she was willing to travel overseas for a year to do so. 


24:08
Eshinee Veith
So this was great for me because the Morland’s program is fairly new in the realm of programs that are happening, and it’s got a number of courses that are being taught that I haven’t seen anything comparable to it in other programs that we have used in the past. And so I was really glad to be able to recommend that Tiffany take part in that program. And I will be looking forward to getting together with you, Tiffany, when you come back to hear a full report on everything that you experienced there. So I can see how we might use it in the future for other people that are being trained. So one of the things about the Morelands program is that you don’t just give everyone heavy linguistics training. 


24:54
Eshinee Veith
A number of the schools are really focused on training people to do language development basically as a precursor to beginning translation work and the context that Tiffany is going to be working in. Most likely in Botswana, they have linguists who have done the work already at the University of Botswana. They have orthographies that have been developed. So they don’t need a linguist. They need someone to help them work in the community, and they need someone to develop how the project works. They need someone to help them with greek and Hebrew things, to help them with the day to day translation work, the actual practice of translating texts from one language into another. And so because Morlands, doesn’t they give you language learning training at the beginning and some linguistics training? 


25:48
Eshinee Veith
Yes, they do give you that, because linguistics training, a bit of it is going to be helpful for a person who wants to learn another language, no matter what. Linguistics training will help. However, if you’re not going to be writing a grammar or writing an orthography or developing a spelling system for a language, you don’t need to know seven courses in linguistics. You just need to understand how language works so that you know how to work within a language and pick up a new language. So Morelands offers that right at the beginning, and they integrate it with doing language learning. It’s all happening at the same time, which appeals to me. And then I like that. The second course that they offer is about community engagement. 


26:32
Eshinee Veith
And so it helps students learn to work on multicultural teams and to work with a community, not just work for a community, but to help a community develop its own program, because that’s how LBT is working. Now. We work with communities embedded in the structures they already have present within the community. And so we need to have that skill. I haven’t seen a course quite like what is described in their description online of what the. So, Tiffany, I definitely want to know all the details of that course in particular, because that’s their special sauce, as far as I’m concerned. So Tiffany moved into scripture engagement after that, but there were actually three tracks that she could have been a part of. She could have done linguistic analysis. So they do have a way at Morland’s that you can learn to do language development. 


27:26
Eshinee Veith
The second one is literacy. And a lot of programs, literacy is going to be very important. Some people want to be a literacy specialist. They can go straight into the literacy track. But scripture engagement is the third track. And scripture engagement is really the purpose of translation. We do translation so that communities will have access to and engage with scripture. And so I like the fact that those are the three tracks that they offered. And for someone who’s looking at supporting a translation project directly, starting with scripture engagement after they learn about community engagement, that to me was very compelling as a direction. 


28:07
Rich Rudowske
Yes, I’m hearing a couple of things here that one, of course, is that there’s a good match between the program’s values and what we value in Lutheran Bible translators. But the second that I also want to pick up on, even just briefly, is that if somebody came along and was like, well, I can’t go overseas to travel, or I really like doing virtual learning, you’re basically saying you probably have a solution for that as well that can be really tailored to not only what our values are in LBT, but what any prospective trainee needs for training and how they prefer to be trained, right? 


28:38
Eshinee Veith
Absolutely. I can think of immediately three different institutions of higher learning that have academic Bible translation training programs that would fit with different scenarios. So one of the ones that we’ve used most is at Dallas International University in Dallas. The Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics was its primary name back in the day when I went there. And so if someone wanted to do something related to literacy or scripture engagement or translation consulting or translation work or language development, they offer all of those in Dallas. So if someone wanted to remain in the US, let’s say they had a family that wasn’t quite ready to go somewhere far away just yet, they could go to Dallas for a period of time. 


29:25
Eshinee Veith
Usually about the first, it would be like six months to a year, they would go to Dallas if they wanted to do something similar. There’s something similar in Canada. If they wanted to have a slight cross cultural experience but didn’t want to leave the continent, they could go to Canada for a similar amount of time. There’s an online facility. So that’s the Canada Institute of Linguistics at Trinity Western University in British Columbia is also another option. And I went there. That’s where I did my bachelor’s degree. And I love that program. I love the teachers, and I had a great experience there. And another program then this is a fairly new option as well, would be an online program. Johnson University, through pioneer Bible translators, has developed a Bible translation training program through Johnson University online. 


30:13
Eshinee Veith
And so if we had someone who they needed to not be on location and let’s say they already had some cross cultural experience, because we do like to fit some cross cultural experience in before you move permanently somewhere else, if they had some cross cultural experience already and they needed to do something online, or they prefer to do something online, or they’re able to do something online, because not everyone thrives in an online learning environment. They could do. And so, you know, there’s even, there’s a school in Australia, if someone didn’t have to do a full Bible translation training, they wanted to go into a different role that would still require some language learning. There’s. I think it’s a six week course in Australia. Emily, you did that? 


31:00
Emily Wilson
Oh, yes. I highly recommend. 


31:03
Eshinee Veith
Yeah, sounds great. The material looks good. So, yeah, lots of options. It all depends on. We’re looking at trying to meet the needs of the context a missionary is going to be placed in and also their needs as a human being and their family’s needs. We take all these things into consideration. 


31:20
Emily Wilson
And the classroom environment looks a little different than maybe what someone has experienced in the past when doing language learning. And Tiffany, as the most recent LBTR, going through and doing linguistics training, what does the classroom look like? How does it differ from what you’ve experienced in the past with your undergraduate learning? 


31:43
Speaker 4
Yeah, I noticed right off the bat that overall, the classroom setting here in the, which I’ve learned now from friends, it’s pretty common throughout the UK. It’s very relaxed, very informal, and especially in the program that I’m in, which is a postgraduate program, it’s a lot of just. You do it all yourself. Like, all the research. At the end of every module, it’s basically just, okay, at the end of this module you have a 3200 word paper due. You can start writing it whenever you want. But that’s like the only assignment for the whole thing, for like a four or five week module. So we have classes every day, and then at the end of the four or five weeks of those classes, I write, basically compile an assignment or everything that I’ve learned into a portfolio or an essay for the class. 


32:42
Speaker 4
And so it’s very. Just like, you have to be very self disciplined, which I was not used to being in that student mindset coming here because it’s been a couple of years since I graduated from college. So that was a rude awakening. Like, oh, yes, this is what it’s like to write papers again and all that. But it’s been a really good experience, actually, because of the informality and being kind of on almost this peer level with my instructors, which I was not used to in the US, although my instructors in the US were very helpful, very kind. I had meetings with them all the time. But here, yeah, there’s just. 


33:20
Speaker 4
I think because we’re all adults and we’re all going to be missionaries, or have been missionaries, everyone’s very willing to just sit down with a cup of coffee or tea and talk about. Help you out with the struggles you’re going through or questions you might have about linguistics, scripture engagement, cross cultural living, all of that. And so it’s been a really good experience. Actually, it was different at first, but it’s been really good. And the class size that I’m in, especially now that we split off into two different tracks, scripture engagement and linguistics. And then there’s also the literacy program, but nobody’s in that one right now. So in my scripture engagement course, there’s only four of us, and then in the linguistics course, there’s only four people in that one. 


34:07
Speaker 4
So we’re talking really small class sizes, which I really like, because not only can my voice be heard and everything, but it just really helps us to get to know each other and learn from each other, too. And it just makes it a lot more of a relaxed setting. And, yeah, it just allows for the instructor and the students to give more time to one another and to have more of a discussion rather than like a lecture based class. And I really like that. That’s how I learn. Rather than being told, okay, memorize this, and this, and then you’re going to take a standardized test on it at the end of the course. 


34:46
Speaker 4
It’s like, let’s talk about everything, and then just write down what you’ve learned and apply what we’ve learned into a paper that’s very specific to what I’m going to be doing, which is helpful, too, because nobody wants to write about things that are hypothetical or that you’re never going to talk about again. It’s like, oh, no, I can actually apply what we talked about this week to what I might be doing in Botswana. That’s really helpful, because now I can actually think about that. And, yeah, so I really liked the overall setting and structure of the course here. 


35:19
Emily Wilson
Right. It’s almost a class culture, like, as your cohort develops, and it sounded like you had a multilingual diversity within the class cohort. So it really changes the way you interact with what you’re learning about, but also you almost feel yourself doing some changing inside and the way you approach a topic. So how many countries were actually represented in your class cohort? 


35:48
Speaker 4
So, at the very beginning of the course, for the first ten weeks, so from September until mid November, just about, there were 13 of us at one point in time. And between the 13 of us, there were probably. I counted once, it was ten or eleven countries represented, because that’s also including tcks. Sure, we have two or three of them who grew up in a different country, other than what their nationality is now or where their passports from, but I think that totally counts because that’s where they grew up, and so that’s, like, the culture they grew up and looked into, definitely. 


36:31
Speaker 4
And then in addition to that, I don’t know when there were 13 of us, but now that there are only eight of us who are here finishing out the rest of the course, between all of us, there are still about eight or nine countries represented, and I don’t know a specific number, but between everyone else, there are about, like, 20 languages represented. Wow. Yeah. So I’ve learned a lot, and like I said before, at first, that was very intimidating, but it leaves a lot of room for me to learn and grow from with my classmates and just ask them questions, because they’re all very passionate about languages and love talking about it. And I think they all thought, coming here, I could see how nervous some of them were to speak at all just because English is their second language. 


37:23
Speaker 4
And now that I’ve been here with them for almost, like, five months, or however long it’s been really fun to just see them grow, but then also to see how I’ve grown with being able to understand a few of their words in German or French or Italian or whatever, and that’s been really fun, too. And, yeah, it’s been a really cool experience being with such a small number of people, but people who have such vast and colorful backgrounds, not only in language and culture, but also in our faith, too, which has been very eye opening, very humbling. And, yeah, we all keep saying how we want to keep in touch for a long time and make sure that we follow each other on our respective journeys to wherever we end up. 


38:11
Speaker 4
And it’s just been a really cool experience being able to meet people from around the world who we all have the same goal and same mission in mind. But, yeah, it’s been really cool. 


38:21
Rich Rudowske
Yeah. And in a very real way, you’ve had sort of the full LBT pre field experience, because you served an internship with us as well. And there’s a prior podcast episode about that you can go back and listen to hear all about Tiffany’s internship. But for your current situation, how did your experience from Botswana, how do you feel that’s been enriched or some things that are sort of aha. Moments now that you’ve been in this training? 


38:44
Speaker 4
Yeah. So I wasn’t aware of this coming here because I didn’t know much about Wycliffe Bible translators, but most of my classmates are a part of Wycliffe, and that’s what they’re going into, and what they are told to do is they take this training course, and then they go on to an internship after this. And I highly recommend doing it the other way around, because coming in with what little experience I did have from I was only in Botswana for a little less than three months, is what it ended up being. But just that has helped me so much when it comes to the classes here, because I can take what I learned about scripture engagement or the translation exegesis side of things from Carl and Kelsey Groilke was really helpful. 


39:35
Speaker 4
Whereas some of my classmates are kind of like, they might know a couple languages and they might know how different cultures work that they grew up in or whatever, but when it comes to scripture engagement and scripture app building or translation and those side of things, I know a few of them were a little bit like, oh, I don’t have any experience with that. Whereas I was like, oh, thank goodness. I have at least even a picture of what that looks like because of my internship, because that really helped me to be able to participate in the class and build on that. Like, well, here’s what I learned in Botswana. Maybe express my ideas or share with the class just from the little experience that I had. 


40:15
Speaker 4
But, yeah, I think that in addition to that, I was learning Setswana while I was overseas for my internship, and I was doing all right at it. I was learning a little bit. But again, when you’re only there for ten weeks or so, it’s kind of hard to keep it going once you leave. And now that I’ve come here and learned language learning strategies and how I best learn a language which I did not know before going to Botswana, now I already have a ton of ideas of how, when I go back, I want to kind of relearn the language because I realized, oh, maybe that’s why I was struggling before, is because I wasn’t actually learning in a way that is best for me. And now I kind of know what that way is. 


41:05
Speaker 4
So when I go back, I can apply that and use it. And so it was just helpful to have that prior knowledge of, okay, I’ve tried learning a foreign language before. Here’s what worked, here’s what didn’t, and then using that with what I learned here and just being able to compare and contrast those experiences and what I want to do now moving forward. 


41:26
Emily Wilson
So, speaking of moving forward, so what’s on the horizon for you, Tiffany? 


41:31
Speaker 4
So, like I said, I have six weeks left here in England, which is just crazy. It’s blown by. But I will be going home on, I think it’s February 13. But I’ll be heading back to the US and then I will move forward from there by fundraising and finishing up all of that, which is going to involve visiting a lot of churches and friends and family and just keeping them up to date on what I’ve learned and what I’m doing and then also preparing on the overseas side of things by just getting paperwork done and all that technical stuff that you need to do in order to move overseas and maybe hopefully start meeting some of my future team members and keeping in touch with colleagues that are already over there, such as the grokies and all that. 


42:25
Speaker 4
And then the goal is to be over in Botswana by the end of summer of 2022. So just, yeah, not that far away, but quite a bit. 


42:37
Rich Rudowske
Ishni, what’s coming up for you? What are you excited about here as we roll into the new year? 


42:42
Eshinee Veith
Well, the big thing that’s directly in front of me is related to online learning. Online learning is an area that came into focus in early 2020, and so I’ve found myself doing more in that area over the last couple of years. So what I’m working on right now with LBT colleague Dr. Chris Pluger is a course on translation and community engagement. We started working on a version of this for the digital training library, which is a training platform hosted by Fuller Seminary that’s designed for training translators in other countries. Right now we’re customizing it for use by LBT partners and turning it into an online course in Google Classroom. So we’ll be able to make it freely available to whoever is interested. But we’re starting with Makani Asus seminary in Ethiopia. And this course we’re working on is like the one at Morelands. 


43:33
Eshinee Veith
It’s one that I think has been missing from our previous translation training efforts. We’ve struggled with training people for certain aspects of translation project development because every context is unique. And while there will always be similarities with other projects that have happened before or that are happening now, we can never anticipate exactly what a project’s challenges are going to be. And the world is always changing. And with these changes come new challenges, and each translation project is going to have to navigate those and overcome them. And what excites me most about this course that we’re working on is that it’s not about giving people all the answers, it’s about giving them the questions that they can ask in their own context to uncover the answers that are relevant to them. 


44:21
Eshinee Veith
And so it builds on a lot of the work that we’ve done in IPT with the international programs team with project brief development. And, yeah, I think it’s really exciting. It’s something that I’m hoping to roll it out to as many people as possible to fill in that hole that for even people who have been translators or who have been working with translation projects in the field for years, I think that together, if we go through this process together, we’re going to uncover a lot of answers that we haven’t asked the questions about yet with each other and learn from each other. And so that is what’s exciting for me right now and will be exciting for me for a few months, I think. 


45:02
Rich Rudowske
Awesome. 


45:03
Eshinee Veith
Until I get something to deliver on that. 


45:05
Rich Rudowske
Yeah, sounds great. Well, we sure want to thank you both for being with us part of your morning, Ishni, and part of your evening, Tiffany. And great to spend some time with you and talk about training and all the ways that God’s at work and preparing for ministry and multiplying those efforts for others as well. 


45:22
Emily Wilson
Yeah. Thank you, ladies. 


45:24
Eshinee Veith
Thank you. 


45:24
Speaker 4
Thank you. 


45:29
Emily Wilson
So I was having major flashbacks hearing Tiffany and Ishnu talking about all of the training components, especially phonetics, and like, oh, I didn’t know that my mouth, like, make those sounds and what’s even happening. But how it all ties together of being able to learn those more technical skills, but also having those soft skills of being able to interact with people from various backgrounds all around the world. And it’s all for the sake of God’s mission that having God’s word in a person’s own language and just the importance of community, too, in having that as you’re growing in your skills. 


46:10
Rich Rudowske
Yeah, absolutely. The cross cultural work is ultimately relational. You want to have the right skill set and tools to be able to access, but ultimately relational as well. And it seems like a really good mix, the way they talk about the equipping and the things that are done to help prepare missionaries for intercultural service. And of course, Ishini then talked about other types of training as well for the folks that are in the situations already at the national level and equipping them more with the technical skills. But just the thing I like the best is just examining the situation, saying what’s needed here ultimately, so that a person can be successful, can have their role in God’s mission and lowering barriers to the gospel so that people can know Jesus as their lord and savior. 


46:55
Emily Wilson
Right. And we want to encourage all of you that if you’re looking for someone from Lutheran Bible translators to share at your congregation to reach out. Tiffany Smith is going to be on partnership development and raising prayer and financial support. So definitely want to encourage you all to get in contact with us at info@lbt.org and see how we can get you connected with Tiffany. 


47:18
Rich Rudowske
Yeah, and if God is calling you to consider missionary service or you know, someone that you think you know, this person I really think would be good in missionary service, we’d also love for you to be in touch with us at info@lbt.org and we can have a conversation and see where the Lord may be leading. Thank you for listening to the essentially translatable podcast brought to you by Lutheran Bible translators. Look for past episodes@lbt.org slash podcast or on your favorite podcast platform. Follow lutheran Bible translators’social media channels on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Or go to lbt.org to find out how you can get involved in the Bible translation movement and put God’s word in their hands. The essentially translatable podcast was produced and edited by Andrew Olson. Our executive producer is Emily Wilson. Podcast artwork was created by Caleb Rotewald and Sarah Lyons. 


48:06
Rich Rudowske
Music written and performed by Rob White. I’m Rich Radowski. So long for now. 

Highlights:

  • Tiffany is currently undergoing missionary training in England
  • Tiffany shares her experiences with linguistics learning and how it has enriched her current training.
  • Ishinee discusses¬† the need to tailor training programs based on individual needs, skills, and future roles within a translation project or community engagement setting

Other Episodes and Podcast Transcripts

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