New event expedites Manual translation

Lisbon, Portugal

Translators from 11 different language groups gathered in Lisbon, Portugal, 18-24 November for the Church of the Nazarene’s first Manual Translation Summit.

The group spent five days discussing additions to the 2017-2021 Manual and establishing a lexicon of terms for each language.

Scott Stargel, head of Global Nazarene Publications, came up with the idea for the event.

“It’s important to have the right vocabulary and consistent terms,” Stargel said.

The committees represented the following languages: Albanian, Arabic, Armenian, Dutch, French, German, Hungarian, Portuguese (Brazil and Portugal), Romanian, Russian, and Vietnamese.

By bringing different language groups together, leaders hope to release translations sooner than in past years.

“The primary push behind this is that districts can start voting [on amendments to the Manual constitution] in January instead of after U.S. assemblies,” Stargel said.

General Secretary David Wilson, who oversees the publication of the Manual, explained how this year’s process was different.

"The Board of General Superintendents declared the electronic version and the printed version as the official Manual," he said. “This enabled us to start the translation process more quickly. Now, the 2017-2021 Manual will be in place for the early, global assemblies.”

Stargel emphasized the importance of the gathering.

“We’ve never had this many language groups together at one time before the English Manual is released,” he said. “Typically we wait until April to begin this process, after the English Manual is printed. This means that the translations are delayed by about a year.”

The translators also appreciated the event.

“Having translated and updated the Manual since the late 80s, the invitation to come to Portugal was a new one,” said Hans Deventer, a member of the Dutch committee. “’Till now, I had mainly worked on my own. Being there, it soon became clear why this event had been organized. Any question a team would have was promptly answered by Dr. David Wilson or by Scott Stargel, which was very beneficial to the process.”

Wilson is pleased with how the summit turned out.

“It was really one of the best things we’ve done, for several reasons,” he said. “We are three to four months ahead of schedule. Having everybody in the room at the same time, the energy, for me to be there to answer their questions, and for them to be able to collaborate together — all of those things were extremely beneficial.”

Because the event was well-received, leaders hope to hold similar gathers on the Asia-Pacific and Africa regions.

“To have 40 participants working on 11 language versions of the Manual at the same time and in the same place reflected what it means to be a truly international denomination,” said Raquel Pereira, Portugal literature coordinator. “Besides the intense work, we had a great time sharing different perspectives and a loving fellowship, only possible through the One who created, redeems, and continually forms us into becoming the beloved children of God.”

For more information on the Manual and to access the 2017-2021 electronic version, visit

--Office of the General Secretary

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