Do you want to go on a mission trip? If so, you should learn how to work with a translator. Here are some ideas that might help you.
1. It is best to sit down with your translator before ministering and tell him about your sermon.
- Explain any hard concepts or unusual words you are going to use.
- Ask him to find the scriptures you are going to use and read them.
- Explain how you want him to work with you.
- Do you want him to mimic every one of your actions?
- Pray with the translator before the service. It is best if he is covered with the same anointing that is on you. The best translators are ministers in their own right who are used to flowing in the Holy Spirit.
2. Use short sentences and pause in-between each sentence.
3. Speak in complete ideas - not bits of sentences. Because sentence structure is turned around in some languages, you have to speak the whole thought so the translator knows where you are going with it. For example, in Spanish, they say “The man big and handsome...” instead of “The big, handsome man....” so if you only say the first few words, the translator won’t be able to get the sense of the sentence across to the audience.
4. Don’t use puns, idioms, colloquialisms, or slang.
Example #1:The letters J-O-Y stand for Jesus - Others - You. In Spanish, the word for joy is “gozo” which does not translate to Cristo - Otros - Usted.
Example #2: I heard a preacher say, “I had butterflies in my stomach on the airplane because Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you always...and the plane was high up in the air.” The translator just looked at him. The joke works in English but it does not translate.
5. Use the time the translator is speaking to think of your next sentence. You can be aware of what the translator is saying without fully listening to him.
6. Give the translator time to translate. Don’t cut him off before he has finished.
7. Don’t let a bad translator kill a service. If a translator is not doing a good job, don’t hesitate to find a new translator. But do it gently. Explain to the audience, “I’m sorry but this translator and I are not used to working together. He’s doing great but I want to try another translator.” Ideally this situation should not come up because it is embarrassing to the translator. Try to test the translator before putting him up on stage in front of a bunch of people.
8. Speak slowly and distinctly with good pronunciation. Sometimes it is hard for the translator to hear what you are saying if you are facing away from him and the stage monitors are not working right. If this happens, face towards the translator as you speak each sentence.
9. When you ask the audience to repeat a prayer after you, give clear instructions. What do you want them to do? Give both the translator and the audience time to repeat your words.
Here is a video sample of me working with a translator.