Translation ‘Fell Through a Crack’

Province IX and Spanish-speaking bishops stand with Bishop Lloyd Allen on July 6 | Kirk Petersen | TLC

By Kirk Petersen

The House of Bishops has begun a rapid recovery from the discomfort of July 6, with a presentation on the logistics and costs of translation and interpretation, and an expression of gratitude from the bishop who had compelled the house to focus on the matter.

After Bishop Lloyd Allen of Honduras said he would lead his deputation out of General Convention if there were no improvement in translation services, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry asked Allen to sit with a small handful of other bishops to find a resolution..

One of those bishops, Mary Gray-Reeves of El Camino Real, started the July 7 morning session describing the history and infrastructure of language services at General Convention. She said the General Convention Office has 18 interpreters and five translators on-site, with other local translators on call, and available help from bilingual volunteers. The language services budget for General Convention is $180,000.

Gray-Reeves, vice chair of the House of Bishops, apologized for the lack of translation of the covenant document that touched off the confrontation the day before. “It fell through a crack,” she said simply.

She urged all committee chairs to contact the General Convention Office as soon as possible when language services are required. “We need to be careful about magical thinking,” she said. “Translation takes time.”

Allen then rose to express his gratitude for the fast reaction of the convention and pledged to participate in these efforts.


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