SIL translators work in partnership with mother-tongue translators in their local communities. The roles that individual members have depend on many factors in the local settings in which they work and the desires of these communities. Often they have the role of co-translator with a local mother-tongue translator, but more often they serve as an advisor to a team of mother-tongue translators. Those with more experience often have the additional roles of consultant and trainer and are involved in various translation projects simultaneously.
The result of this partnership with the vernacular speakers with whom they work has resulted in the production of various types of vernacular and bilingual literature that is documented in the SIL bibliography.
The production of bilingual material may mean translation from the vernacular to a language of wider communication or vice versa. These materials range from small booklets to a full bilingual dictionary or complete book. Some categories of materials that SIL has helped translate are:
Books and booklets for educational programs
- Health and hygiene
- Textbooks for government schools
- Civics and social studies
Culture and folklore
These are usually stories originating from the ethnolinguistic community, translated into a language of wider communication, and published in diglot.
- Individual books
- New Testaments
Tools for second language learning