Semester Program for Translators

Hebrew University Semester Program


Translators, Consultants

and Consultants-in-Training 




 “Studying the TEXT and its CONTEXT”


This academic course focuses on Hebrew as the source language of the Bible.  The translator is also introduced to the context of the Bible, the land in which was written. This unique combination equips translators to  provide a more accurate and natural  translation into their own mother-tongue as the target language The program has been offered in conjunction with the Rothberg International School for Overseas Students of the Hebrew University since 1995. Instruction is offered in alternative years in English or French.

A. The LANGUAGE:  Hebrew Studies

Five Classes


1. Introduction to Hebrew
Hebrew University Winter Ulpan  mid-Jan 23 – Feb 18

The student is challenged to begin learning Hebrew as a living language via  instruction in Hebrew which aims to enhance the development of both spoken and written language skills. Along with traditional approaches, this intensive course is enhanced by innovative study methods, including audio and video learning tutorials in a University language laboratory setting. Internalization of Hebrew vocabulary and grammar is encouraged through hearing, speaking, reading and writing Hebrew. This immersion approach leads to long-term retention of vocabulary and verb forms.

Hebrew University Instructors

Class Hours: 100     Credits: 5

2. Biblical Hebrew as a living language: Modified Immersion Method Feb 24— May 30

The instructor, Eyal Nahum, is an experienced Hebrew teacher. After having taught Modern and Biblical Hebrew for a number of years, Eyal has developed his own materials for teaching Biblical Hebrew using a similar methodology to that of the Modern Hebrew Ulpan at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He uses modern techniques for rapid language acquisition as applied to Biblical Hebrew.

Eyal has been teaching Biblical Hebrew for 6 years using this new method. Classroom instruction and interaction is conducted in Biblical Hebrew. This allows students to internalize the language by building both their memory and their analytical skills in the language, by exploiting all four of the major language skills: reading, listening, speaking and writing. The book to be used in the course (“מבראשית”) was written by Eyal Nahum and is the fruit of many years of teaching Biblical Hebrew as a foreign language.

Instructor: Eyal Nahum, native Israeli,  MA in linguistics (Hebrew University).

Class Hours: 120   Credits: 6

3. Readings in the Hebrew Bible

Extensive readings will focus on the the full verbal system and syntax. 

Instructors: Hebrew University.

Class Hours: 75     Credits: 5

4. Discourse Analysis

This course will be taught by an experienced senior Bible translation consultant. The instructor will  introduce discourse analysis related issues in the text, teaching how to identify and interpret the discourse structure of Hebrew texts. The instructor will also discuss  methods of exegesis and principles of Bible translation.

Instructor: Dr. Samy Tioye UBS Global Translation Advisor

Class Hours: 45     Credits: 3

5. Biblical Hebrew Poetry – A Workshop (in June)


This practical course aims to give students an increasing appreciation of how Hebrew poetry works and to help them develop their skills in unfolding the layers of meaning embedded in the artistry of many Biblical poetical texts.

The students will learn to discover the Biblical world of the authors and their original audiences in order to read the texts through their eyes. Classes will demonstrate how to analyze and synthesize a variety of biblical poems and students will practice applying these principles and procedures to many assigned poetical texts.

This course will also be taught by an experienced senior Bible translation consultant.

Instructor: Dr. Lynell Zogbo, Senior Bible Translation Consultant

Class Hours: 60             Credits: 4


B. The LAND: The Context of the Hebrew Bible

 Historical Geography and Cultural Backgrounds: Text in Context 

(February 19 – May 30)

This course involves extensive travel to Biblical sites where texts are read on location. It is a learning experience that cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world! It serves as a visual experiential dictionary of BH words and concepts, of BH similes and metaphors.

The study plan: 

  1. 18 field trips enable translators
  • to experience the sites of Biblical events
  • to observe flora and fauna of the Land
  • to see archaeological evidence of life in Biblical times 

2. 40 hours of lectures are organized under three main topics: geographical regions, historical periods and cultural issues.

JCBT Instructors:
Dr. Rafi Kassimov, Ronit Maoz and visiting lecturers

Class Hours: 40 classroom hours + 18 days of field trips        Credits: 6



Modern Hebrew – 100 hours / 5 credits

Biblical Hebrew – 300 hours / 18 credits

Hist. Geog. – 40 hours/6 credits & 18 days of study tours

TOTAL: 440 hours / 29 credits


Certificate in Translation of the Hebrew Bible

Certificate of Completion is presented by the Rothberg International School, Hebrew University of Jerusalem to each participant. Students get official transcripts from the university. The credits are transferable to universities abroad.

Present and Former Instructors 

Click here to see the high level of professionalism and experience of our instructors over the years.

Prerequisites for Acceptance

  • Successful completion of a JCBT Biblical Hebrew exam. The exam requires knowledge of the strong verb system, basic grammar and the 300 most frequent words of the Hebrew Bible. 70% required as passing grade to become a potential candidate.
  • Preferences for acceptance of candidates:
    • Mother-tongue translator
    • Member of a Bible translation project
    • Two recommendations: by an academic instructor and by a pastor
    • Two years minimum of university/seminar education
    • Under 46 years of age
    • NOTE: JCBT reserves the right to make exceptions.

Downloadable PDF Forms

  • Semester Program Application form in English is found here and in French is found here. (Note:To be able to fill the form on your computer, please open it using Adobe Acrobat instead of web browser.)
  •  A print-friendly PDF document of the Semester Program is available here.
  • Costs for the Semester Program are discussed here.