Jesus said that the good news of the Kingdom would be preached to people in all the earth. (Matthew 24:14) Since 1909, Bible-based publications produced by Jehovah’s Witnesses have been translated into Spanish, helping people around the globe to hear the Kingdom message in their mother tongue. Spanish now ranks second only to Chinese in the number of first-language speakers, and worldwide about half a billion people speak Spanish.
“Spanish is an international language, spoken in dozens of countries with many different cultures,” says William, a member of the Spanish translation team. “Our goal is to translate in a way that touches the heart of readers from diverse backgrounds, educational levels, and living standards.” To help meet the challenge of reaching such an audience, the translation team includes members from Argentina, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the United States, Uruguay, Venezuela and, naturally, Spain.
For decades, Jehovah’s Witnesses did Spanish translation in the United States with the help of Witness translators in Argentina, Mexico, and Spain. In 1993, however, the Spanish translation team was moved to Puerto Rico, enabling all the translators to work together in one location.
In March 2012 it was decided that the Spanish Translation Department should move again, this time to the Spain branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Edward recalls, “Not only did we need to move people, personal belongings, and equipment but we also had to take along another vital ‘member’ of our department—the translation library.” The library is made up of about 2,500 reference works, including hundreds of Spanish translations of the Bible.
On May 29, 2013, the members of the Spanish Translation Department arrived at their new home and were warmly welcomed by the Spain Bethel family. Translators, reference works, and equipment have moved across the Atlantic Ocean, but thanks to careful planning and hard work, readers of the Witnesses’ Spanish publications have not noticed any interruption in the production of literature. “It is the Kingdom message that matters,” says Edward, “and we want as many Spanish-speaking people as possible to read it.”