Translating Unreached People Profiles into Other Languages

Etnopedia, a website for bilingual Christians to translate people profiles into other languages, gives both major research efforts as well as regional and country-level researchers the opportunity to expand the research process. Etnopedia has three principle themes:

  1. translating unreached people profiles into as many languages as possible;
  2. expanding the unreached people research to field-level investigators; and
  3. fostering mobilization, cooperation, and prayer.

Etnopedia will not be one single people list, but rather many smaller people lists (in the form of people profiles) in as many languages as possible—either translated or compiled by field-level persons or researchers.

Why People Profiles?
People profiles are tools used by the whole Church for mobilization, prayer, cooperation, networking, sending, and even gathering research. They are printed in church bulletins, hung on prayer room walls, passed out at mission meetings, used by Bible school students for research papers, cut and pasted into PowerPoint presentations, and used by missionary sending entities to strategize.

The mission of Etnopedia is to see every country or region translate people profiles into their local language and to share ethnic people information gathered from their country or region. When this is accomplished to any degree, we should see a dramatic increase in the sending of new missionaries to specific ethnic peoples. We should also see field research update other research efforts in different languages.

What Is Etnopedia?
Etnopedia is an editable website that displays unreached people profiles in different languages. Each language has its own Internet portal that can link to all of the other language portals for translating and research purposes.

A people profile on Etnopedia is like a sheet of paper with the name of an ethnic people at the top. Below the name visitors will find:

  • data relevant to the missionary movement (e.g., countries where that people live, their population, the language they speak, and how reached they are with the gospel);
  • a description of the people, which could include history and what they believe;
  • a map; and
  • a photo.

Additionally, each people profile has a special page for research. One might think of this as the back of the sheet of paper showing where the research came from. The research page is accessed by clicking the “discussion” tab located at the top of every people profile. Here, visitors find:

  • Christian progress indicators (reachedness scales),

  • people codes,

  • notes and sources used to create the profile, and

  • dialog between two or more field researchers. (This last one is a future goal.)

The research page has two purposes: (1) to display progress indicators so that Christian workers can make informed decisions by seeing all the information in one place, and (2) to aid in the clarification of research on ethnic peoples.

If a profile does not have a research page, visitors can click the “discussion” tab and make one.

The English language portal is where the research pages are housed. However, the English portal is not the center of all the other portals. It exists alongside the other language portals (see diagram below).


en = English  es = Spanish  pt = Portuguese  ko = Korean

Because English is considered the international language, it is the servant of all the other language portals. They can feed from the servant as well as give feedback, which can then be taken to others. The language pages and research pages can be translated into any other language, if desired. However, if one changes important data in a portal, one should also change the English portal's data. This is because the English portal serves many other languages portals. In this way, the various language portals can feed from the English portal and receive fresh data from the others.

Etnopedia has eleven languages installed (Chinese, Dutch, French, Korean, Malay, Hindi, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, Vietnamese, German); however, there are over 160 other language packs available. A language pack can be installed in a matter of hours and translation of people profiles can begin. Etnopedia could potentially have a people profile project in progress for every country in the world maintained by people in that country using their first language.

Over fifty organizations and research efforts contributed information for the translation of Etnopedia. It is time to share information with other languages in order to speed Christ’s return. Etnopedia can be accessed at:

David Markham serves with his wife in Latin American missionary mobilization coordinating ethnic people research in Mexico. They live in the state of Oaxaca, home to over 150 ethno-linguistic peoples.