General Conference talks to be given in languages other than English

According to this story.

Church spokesman Dale Jones announced that speakers “whose primary language is not English now have the choice to deliver their talks in their native tongue.” He went on to explain that English subtitles will be shown on screens in the Conference Center and a live English interpretation will be provided for all other English-language broadcasts including staellite, cable, television, and the internet.”

This will be a great opportunity for speakers and members whose native language is not English to share and understand messages more powerfully, and will coincidentally give English-speaking members a little glimpse of what conference has always been like for non-English speakers.

Logistically, this announcement will mean some tricky changes for conference translators, who will now need people who can translate between, for example, Spanish and German instead of English and Spanish and English and German.

I think this is a great change.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

19 thoughts on “General Conference talks to be given in languages other than English

  1. Pres. Uchtdorf seems extremely comfortable in English. It would really surprise me if he started doing his talks in German. However, we all can think of some recent talks where the speaker really would have preferred his native language. (Bless their hearts). 🙂

  2. I don’t mean to be a grammar nazi, but wouldn’t “…talks will now be given in languages…” read better as a title? 🙂

  3. I am amazed that the church has the resources to do that much translation. Just the English to all the other languages is very impressive.

  4. In the ancient church, when they had the gift of tongues, the leaders could speak and all people heard the words in their own language. I wonder what ever happened to that.

  5. I had wondered about the N-squared translation issue. It’s nice that the Church feels ready to tackle it.

  6. Awesome news.
    I would guess that they will use the English translation as basis for other translations, otherwise things will get too tricky. I just hope that if they do so, it won’t affect the quality of translations.
    How they manage to get the subtitles for a live speech is also interesting to see.

  7. @ jman:

    Pentecostal-type experiences with the gift of tongues, while recorded to have occurred both in the ancient and modern church, seem generally to be the exception rather than the rule. My guess is that the reason has to do with the fact that both the ancient and modern churches existed in societies that were fundamentally wicked, adulterous, and sign-seeking.

  8. I called it . . .

    “My own non-authoritative prediction is that in a few years the General Conference might be outside the United States, but if not the language will change. We will see speakers give talks in their own languages. English and Spanish will be the two main languages over the pulpit, with others included as the leadership desires. Of course, that means that English speakers will have to get used to reading or listening to interpreters as a large portion of LDS membership already does.”

  9. I look forward to participating in a multi-lingual conference.

    As for the translation, I suspect the talks are “turned in” in advance of the actual broadcast, providing time for other language to English translators to produce the English translation, and then time for the English to other language translators to produce the other translations.

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