The Arlington Statement on Bible Translation was released on October 22, 2020. It contains a set of principles of Bible translation that have been drafted carefully by Bible translators and scholars worldwide from many organizations who are passionate about preserving the integrity of the truths found in God’s eternal and unchanging Word.
The statement emphasizes the value of consistent, faithful translation of key terms such as “Father,” “Son,” and “Lord.” The recent statements of many Arabic-speaking denominations and organizations rejecting certain unfaithful Bible translations in their midst underscore the problems that can occur when translators depart from faithful translation of key terms such as these.
The statement also opposes the inclusion of the Islamic profession of faith (La ilaha ill’ Allah, “There is no god but Allah/God”) in Bible translations, addresses the need for faithful translation in any and all religious contexts, and emphasizes the importance of the global and local Church working together humbly in the unity of the Spirit.
Pastor Femi Cakolli, one of the Arlington Statement’s initial signers, says that “the translation principles outlined in this statement are critical to faithful Bible translation and witness. We are honored to have the support of so many translators and church leaders around the world who desire to uphold these principles.”
Dr. Cakolli is the Chief Editor of the Albanian Gheg New Testament, and serves as President of the Kosovo Protestant Evangelical Church, whose 10,000+ members are nearly all Christians from Muslim backgrounds. “We believe that when the Author of the Bible spoke, He chose His words very carefully. Jesus and His apostles understood and preached the Holy Scriptures, and as lovers of biblical truth, we also stand firm in speech and practice. Since the Bible alone contains the words of eternal life, Bible translation projects must commit to preserve the complete truth that God has given us. Please join us in supporting these principles, to the glory of God!”
The more than 100 initial signers include translators and native speakers of dozens of languages around the world. Reflecting this diversity, the statement is being released in 18 different languages: Arabic, French, Chinese, Turkish, Persian, Urdu, Hindi, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, Indonesian, Italian, Thai, Albanian, German, Dutch, Filipino, and English.
“It is indeed refreshing and encouraging to read these principles of Bible translation which have been hailed and endorsed by national pastors and leaders in many countries,” said Georges Houssney, head translator on the well-known Arabic Kitab al-Hayat translation. “I add my voice by heartily endorsing the Arlington Statement.”