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Anyone out there conducting bilingual worship services? Our church is exploring the idea of merging with a Chinese-American CRC that has rented our space and partnered with us for years. We're both quite small congregations and don't want to do separate services, at least not for the entire service. Any advice on the best way to do this? Is anyone using a live translation system? Any advice or tips would be appreciated!


Yes! Our church plans combined services several times a year, Spanish and English. It is a continual learning process together, trial and error and a whole lot of listening! To start, I'd suggest bringing the worship leaders or teams from both congregations together to explore why you want to worship together and how that could look. I've found that focusing on relationship is more important than logistics, yet logistics are pretty important too. We have simultaneous translation available but songs are sung in both languages. Worship teams take turns leading. Sometimes we'll have prayer or scripture be only in Spanish, but the English words are then on screen to read. Food together before or after is a great way to encourage hospitality and togetherness as well. If you don't want to be together for the entire service, perhaps you could sing and pray together to start--each church leading a part--and separate for the sermon, coming together again for a meal after. It is a beautiful thing to worship together! 

Given the widespread use of cellphones an easy way to do "live translation" would be to set up a "conference call" by providing everyone requiring the translation a number to call.  They should mute their own phone and wear earphones.  If the service is being piped into another room or can be heard outside the atrium the person providing the translation can sit there and simply speak into his/her phone and everyone else on the conference call can hear the translation. We did this for a funeral and it worked well. We had simple instructions and the phone number on slips of paper which we handed out.  (Ideally those would be translated as well.)

Thank you, Joyce. If I understand you correctly, you're saying that there is a person doing the translation live, speaking into the conference call using his/her cell phone, right? (And a good way for the person to do this is if he/she sits in a different room where the service is being piped in, so he/she can speak into the phone.) Then people who need to hear the translator call into the conference call and listen using earplugs while sitting in the worship space.

Right? Just want to make sure I understand the setup.

During Synod and at Inspire 2019 we used software is called  It was actually built for translating church services and it worked great.  For it to work you do need to have good WiFi/internet access.

hey! I'm so sorry to bother you I'm just new to some of this tech stuff and im hoping you can lead me in the right we are a starting to be more of a bilingual church, and due to covid we started going live on our churchs Facebook page for our services sunday school, worship and preaching. the person that is doing the worship slides on pro presenter is saying we cannot go live and sing or "mix" the same song,in both Spanish and English because they don't have the same copy rights/ are not sung by the same person. the church bought the copy right to songs and some other licenses because that is what he you know if having different copy right companies(or not sung by the same person in Spanish and English) has anything to affect when we go live? or do we even have to have the copy rights listed at all at the end of the slides? or can we just put in our description that we are a non profit organization/ music isn't ours with the info..... is it any different for a YouTube channel?. I am a worship leader and we only use the songs for church services where we play live, we don't rebroadcast or anything..again sorry for bombarding you but we want to sing new music in both languages and they keep telling us we can't.
I'm not sure exactly what we have but what do you recommend to have in order to do what we need to do?

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