Roma Bible Society wants to act as a platform for the exchange of information, collaboration between partner agencies, and support of the translation and distribution of quality Bible translations in all Romani and para-Romani dialects. At the moment there is not one single resource providing all the relevant information about the Roma language situation, about current and planned Bible translation projects, and about the production and distribution of translated Scripture and Scripture-based material. The first project of the RBS will be a website where this kind of information will be provided. This resource will serve as a basis for future projects.
There needs to be a coordinated effort to determine which Roma dialects need translation and this effort needs to be guided by the following principles:
- Research must be collaborative: It is far too big of a job for any of us to do it alone.
- Research must be shared: It will not serve the overall goal if the information is kept to ourselves. We must make it available for others so they can benefit from it as well.
- We must have a mechanism for field-based feedback: We will provide online forms for filling out information from those who are working in the field.
- The information must be open access: The information will be listed with a creative commons license, and applications developed by RBS will be open source.
- It must be available in multiple languages: Research results will be initially written in English, yet as time and opportunity allow, it should also be made available in major national languages.
- Literature review: There is a growing body of literature in the field of Romani linguistics and this literature must be culled and synthesized so that the latest and most reliable information is made available to those interested in determining the need for Roma translations and strategic steps for language study, translation and distribution. The literature review will include published monographs as well as academic journals, databases, websites, university and private archives.
- Field survey work: Another essential aspect is information gathered from reports from site visits and on-field survey work. The information will be compiled and made into a database which we be made available to those engaged in the task of Bible translation, literacy, and distribution. We will seek to maintain the big picture so that the dialects with the greatest need can be translated first and so that information is made available for strategic adaptation into related dialects. We will also continue the research down to the city, village and community level in order to facilitate the most efficient use of resources for translation and distribution. To do so, we will need input from numerous volunteers and on-the-ground workers to gather and share this demographic, social and linguistic information. To facilitate the storage and sharing of data, we will provide a feedback mechanism for those on the field and a make the information available to those in the field. Among other things, we will make accessible sound recordings and text samples of the various dialects.
- Where translation work has already been completed, we will make this information available so that those in the field can locate these Scriptures. Where permitted, we will host translated materials in digital print, audio and visual formats.