How MAST Works
At a MAST workshop, a team of national Bible translators works together to translate different portions of Scripture and then review and edit each other’s work. MAST translators typically work on one chapter at a time, using a source text in a language they understand fluently (called a Gateway language) and translating into their own heart language.
MAST is based on proven linguistic principles, enabling native speakers of the target language to create a Bible translation that is both accurate and clear. They walk through an eight-step process of drafting a translation and then checking and editing their translation with their team.
- Consume: The Bible translators read or listen to the text being read in the gateway (source) language, typically one chapter.
- Verbalize: The Bible translators describe to a partner what they have just read/heard, using their own mother tongue.
- Break into Chunks: The passage is broken down into smaller, workable sections, called chunks. This is usually two to four verses.
- Blind Draft: The Bible translators each take a chunk of their chapters and draft their translation of that portion without looking at the source text or any other resources.
- Self-Edit: The Bible translators open their source text and check their own blind draft for completeness and accuracy, making any necessary changes to the draft. Here they may also consult other resources, like translation dictionaries or commentaries.
- Peer Edit: The Bible translators trade portions and check each other’s work, suggesting edits or changes to the translator of that portion.
- Keyword Check: The passage is checked to confirm that the meaning of each keyword (including abstract spiritual terms and biblical and geographical names) is clearly represented in the translation of that portion.
- Verse-by-Verse Check: The Bible translators work together as a team or in pairs, using whatever resources are available to them to go through each verse, systematically checking to make sure that every aspect of the original source text is represented in the translation.
After the book is complete, the translation is taken through further checking steps with the community of other speakers of the target language and with leaders of the local churches.