The public is invited and admission is free.
Olson has been a member of Wycliffe Bible Translators and SIL International since 1989, and is currently a senior linguistics consultant for SIL. His address will explore the process and impact of Bible translation projects and their accompanying role in education and literacy development.
According to Wycliffe Bible Translators, more than 650 languages have the complete translated Bible, with another 1,500 having access to the New Testament and some portions of Scripture. Wycliffe also reports that more than 2,500 languages across 170 countries have active translation and linguistic development work happening currently, with such work yet to begin for approximately 1,600 languages.
Olson works with Bible translation teams to establish and improve their writing systems, conducts linguistic research, and reports the findings to the academic world through conference presentations and publications. His specialties are phonological theory, acoustic and articulatory phonetics, historical linguistics and language documentation. He has conducted field research on numerous languages, particularly Mono, which is spoken in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Olson holds a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Chicago. He has taught at the University of North Dakota, the University of Oregon, Dallas International University, the Faculté de Théologie Evangélique de Bangui (in Central African Republic), and SIL’s European Training Programme in England and France. He was a chercheur associé at the Laboratoire Parole et Langage in Aix-en-Provence, France, from 2012-15.
Olson’s presentation is co-sponsored by Hope College’s Cultural Affairs Committee, Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Department of Religion, Center for Ministry Studies and Fried Center for Global Engagement.
Graves Hall is located at 263 College Ave., between 10th and 12th streets in Holland.