Translation Procedure and Guidelines

The Translation Committee has developed and adopted guidelines to help groups, intergroups, and other service bodies wishing to translate our literature.

If you are interested in translating ACA literature, carefully read the “Translation Guidelines for ACA Literature” and view the “ACA Translations Workshop”. These guidelines describe the translation process, explain ACA’s legal requirements, and offer helpful suggestions. Use the ACA Glossary referred to in the Guidelines to improve the speed and consistency of your translations.

We hope these guidelines will serve you by providing information on the translation processes.


Translation Workflow

Another helpful tool for the translation process is our suggested translation workflow. It helps to clearly structure the individual work steps and the distribution of tasks of this service and gives the members of the translation teams a clear idea of what needs to be done at each level. Please add a copyright notice footer to all translations you make and use a clear format to name your files. This helps you to assign the individual files in the correct order to the translation folders.

Further information on the copyright notice footer and a suggested file naming can be found here.

In order to keep track of the current status of your translation workflow and to use it as a report for your group, intergroup, service body, we offer you the following documents:
1. Current status of the Texts and Trifolds translation
2. Current status of the Yellow Workbook translation
3. Current status of the BRB translation

Here is a sample file of the BRB translation workflow used by the German Translation Committee.


Suggested Order of Translations

Which literature ought to be translated first? Many Translation Committees want to do the Fellowship Text (BRB) first. This an understandable desire, but we do not recommend it. We suggest to first translate a glossary of ACA’s special program words and terms in the local language, for example: “Higher Power”, “Dysfunctional Family”, “Laundry List”, “Reparenting”, “Loving Parent”, “Surrender”, “True Self”, “False Self”, “Hit a Bottom”. These words and terms appear often in ACA literature and need to be translated the same each time they appear. Translating the recovery glossary first will make all your future translation work much simpler because so many of the decisions about word choices will have been made, and your Translation Committee won’t have to have the same discussions over and over again.

After you’ve completed the glossary, continue with the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions of Adult Children of Alcoholics®/Dysfunctional Families. These lists occur frequently in the literature, and if you translate them at the outset you will not need to translate them each time you translate a new piece of literature.

The free downloadable basic ACA materials gives basic information about the ACA program and how we use the program to recover in ACA. Translating these gives your committee a good grounding in working together while gaining an understanding of the process. Because they are short, you can soon have basic materials and literature available for all who speak your language. This also helps to start new meetings. Our recommendation is to start with the materials we read in the meetings, followed by general information for fellow travelers and meetings. Continue with the materials which are required for services.

Then move forward by translating the booklets, followed by The Twelve Steps of Adult Children Workbook, which is probably the most important ACA book to translate for our recovery.

More detailed information and lists of the suggested order of translations can be found in the Translation Guidelines.


Approval of Translations

The Translation Committee (for the local ACA fellowship) and ACA WSO both have a part in the approval of translations. The World Service Conference does not actually approve the translations of literature; it delegates that responsibility to each ACA language group in cooperation with ACA WSO.

Very generally speaking:

  • the Translation Committee (on behalf of its fellowship) approves the final translation text as it is to be printed;
  • ACA WSO verifies the components and documentation of the process to be sure they are all in order and authorizes publication.

There is a specific terminology for the process of translation. Here, we use the term Conference-approved only for documents approved by the ACA WSO Annual Business Conference (representing the entire Fellowship). When you approve a translation into a language other than English, please do not use the term Conference-approved!

All literature that has been translated and approved for printing will have, as part of the publishing legend, the wording “Translation of ACA Fellowship-approved literature.” This phrase indicates that the translation itself has not been approved by the World Service Conference, but that it is a translation of ACA Fellowship-approved literature.

A confirmation of accuracy of a translation must be submitted by an Intergroup or Service Body that represents a significant portion of ACA members who speak the language in question. Individual members cannot make such a confirmation, and WSO will not grant licenses to print and distribute (License 2) to individuals, only to Intergroups or Service Bodies representing the language in question. WSO reviews to confirm that all necessary permission requirements are in place. If this is approved, the submitting Intergroup or Service Body can sign a licensing agreement with WSO, for production and sale of that literature.