Download MAST Instructions


Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation (MAST) is a methodology enabling the church to quickly learn, implement and own the translation process.  The eight step method allows native language speakers to participate in both written and oral translations bringing together churches and communities to quickly have access to God's word in their heart language.



on your own

Read your entire chapter. Try to understand the meaning and the main point of the chapter.

(This step usually takes 7-10 minutes. If the passage is longer and the translator needs more time that is okay, but in this situation, it is good for the translator to stop at the end of the 10 minute time period, reflect on what has been read, and then continue reading.)



with a partner (If no partner is available then the translator may verbalize out loud to himself/herself)

In your mother tongue language, quickly verbalize what this chapter is about. This step is not a discussion or analysis, but a summary of the main people, events, and ideas. You may want to let one or more of the following questions guide your verbalization. What are the main ideas? What events are in the passage? What happened in these events? Who are the people in the passage and what did they do? In this step, it is important that you communicate the passage out loud to help you understand and remember what it is about. (This step usually takes about 2-3 minutes)



on your own

Break the passage of Scripture into smaller units or parts, called chunks. These chunks should be complete thoughts which you can easily remember and quickly rewrite. A chunk will usually contain about 1-4 verses but, in each chunk, the translator should try to include the maximum amount of the passage that they can easily remember and recall. Mark lines on your source text to show where you have chosen to separate the chapter into chunks.


Blind Draft

on your own

Read the first chunk of your chapter and then hide the source text from your view. Without looking at the source text, write the chunk in your mother tongue language. Express the meaning of the chunk in natural language. After the first chunk, move through your chapter repeating this process for each chunk, one at a time, until all of the chunks in your chapter are written in your mother tongue language. Be sure to leave space for corrections in between lines in your draft. Do not expect the blind draft to be perfect, it will be refined in the next steps.



on your own

Look at the source text again and compare it to what you have written. Check your draft for things like completeness, clarity, accuracy, smoothness, and key terms. Correct any mistakes that you notice in your draft. If there is a portion of your translation that you are unsure of, make a note of it. See if the key term notes, translation notes, or other resources can help you determine whether or not this difficult passage needs to be edited.



with a partner

Give your draft to another member of your team. This team member will read your draft, ask questions about it, compare it to the source text, and suggest edits and ways to improve it. They are not checking for a word-for-word translation, but to make sure that the biblical author’s intended meaning is communicated. The checker might want to look for things like the following: is anything missing from the translation? Is the translation natural and smooth? Is it clear and understandable? Is it accurate? Is everything that is communicated in the source text represented in the translation? Is there a portion of the translation which is not translated well? Is there consistency across multiple instances of a key word?

If needed, the checker can also refer to resources to consider potential changes.


Key Word Check

with a partner

Step 1: Locate the key terms identified in Bible Translation Tools Writer, these are the terms that you must identify and check in this step. In addition to the BTT Writer key terms, you, your partner, or your language group might add more key terms that you will want to write down and look for.

Step 2: You and your partner will compare the source text to the translation, checking if the translation includes all of the key terms and important concepts which are present in, either, BTT Writer or the source text. If a key term or important concept is missing from the translation, redraft the chunk(s) that contain the term or concept to make sure that they are included in the translation. If several of the key terms or important concepts are missing, the translator must return to step 5 (self-check) and repeat steps 5, 6, and 7 before moving on to step 8.

Step 3: Once all of the key terms and concepts are present in the translation, work with your partner to check each key term asking, “What is the definition of the key term in the source text? Is the original meaning of this key term accurately communicated in the translation?”

(Note: a key term or important concept is any term or concept which is significant for communicating the meaning and theology of the passage–for example, Holy Spirit, glory, or sanctification.)


Verse-by-verse Check

This step requires three people total - the translator and two partners. One partner who can translate the mother tongue to the source language and a second partner with the appropriate competence in the source language.

The translator will read their translation chunk by chunk, out loud, in the mother tongue. Without using any resources, one partner will listen to the mother tongue translation and, chunk by chunk, will verbally translate the mother tongue to the source language. A second partner will listen to the first partner’s verbal back-translation and compare it to the source text. The two partners will suggest edits where appropriate.

The wording will not be exactly the same between the source text and the back-translation, but it is important that(1) the meaning in the translation is the same as the meaning in the source text and (2) that all of the events and important details found in the source text are present in the translation. If the meaning is not the same or all of the events and important details are not present, the text should be edited. The group should remember that resources and translation helps are available for use in this step, too.

Additional Notes

  1. The translator and checkers do not need to add verse numbers. These will be added with technology when the verse is typed.
  2. Try to use a different partner for each of the steps that require one.
  3. Be quick to pray and to ask the opinions of others – other translators, facilitators, or others.