4. Language Survey Specialist
Goal: To gather and utilize language information as a guide for decisions about what future language work is needed.
Language survey specialists travel extensively throughout a language area, typically taking word lists and using stories on tape to test how well people in various locations understand one another. These data are complemented by interviews and observation. Surveyors use scientific research methods, the results of which can benefit not just Bible translation, but other agencies interested in minority groups.
Apart from traveling for fieldwork (which is only about one-quarter of a surveyor’s job), the survey consists of a preparation phase and a post-survey phase. Library research, as well as other research, is essential to a successful survey. Post-survey work consists of data analysis and reports writing. Formulating strategies with church partners for language projects is also a key component of survey work.
Due to the nature of the work, language survey specialists should be prepared to commit themselves to an initial period of service of 2-3 years. Working in the area of language survey combines research, travel, analyzing data, and report writing.