When you translate from the original biblical texts to JSL, how long does it take to translate one verse/chapter/book?
The answer is: it depends.
It depends on the content.
The book of Exodus, for example, has more chapters than any books in the New Testament. However, one chapter of Exodus with a straightforward narrative like the Israelites fleeing Egypt and crossing the Red Sea typically takes less time to translate than something with complex theology, abstract ideas, and non-linear structure like 1 John 1. Sometimes, it’s impossible to truly predict how long it will take to translate even one sentence until the translation team actually begins working on it, asking questions, and reviewing the drafts. The Epistle of Jude is only one chapter, but ended up taking months and months to translate because there was so much more to it than we had expected.
It depends on our team members.
Some signers are more comfortable with rendering narratives into natural, easy-to-understand JSL, while others are particularly adept at portraying theological concepts. Some exegetical support staff are more familiar with certain types of ideas and historical information. At different points in our history we have had people working full time, part time, or as-needed. We also invite different Christian and non-Christian members of the Deaf community to be part of our community checks for each draft. Schedules have to be coordinated, and skill sets have to be taken into consideration.
It depends on consultant availability.
All of our drafts are reviewed by a certified Translation Consultant before final recording, and then again before publication. However, there are currently very few consultants worldwide who are working with Deaf projects (in comparison with the large number who service hearing translation projects), so the ones who are must balance their service between many different teams. We often have to put the progress of drafts on hold while waiting for schedules to line up.
It depends on post-production needs.
Taking Exodus as an example again, even after the signing was all filmed and approved, there were animations that we wanted to add onto the final video to help with showing key visual elements like the Tabernacle or the garments of the High Priest (think Study Bibles that also contain images and maps).
Some years, there are extra special financial needs like replacing or upgrading equipment and software to improve video quality. There is an ongoing need to adjust salaries in order to pay a livable wage for our staff members to continue their work with dignity, as well as offer a competitive salary to recruit talented new translators from the community.
The JSLBible.org website, the Partner Guide, the monthly prayer calendar, and the monthly newsletters are produced by the JSL Bible Support Team, a group of volunteers who support the work of ViBi by helping produce English-language materials that increase awareness, encourage prayer, and facilitate fundraising and mobilization outside of Japan. All materials are approved by ViBi’s leaders before publication.